Ads 468x60px

15 Nov 2010

F1 Season Review 2010: Vettel and Red Bull do the double!

It's been a Marathon at times. After 257 days of spellbinding competition. 19 races in 18 different countries, 24 drivers in 12 teams fighting it out for a total of 1,919 points.

In the end, the championship was decided at the final race of the year by just 4 points. Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing became the sport's youngest-ever world champion by some 2 months. An incredible achievement that will surely be the first of many championship wins.

The season started way back on March 14th, in the deserts of Bahrain. The race itself was a dull affair, marked only by Red Bull confirming that their 2009 push was not just a one-off. Taking pole position in qualifying was the best possible start for the team. Their joy soon became despair as the RB6's engine had it's first failure of the year. A broken spark plug cost Vettel 4 seconds a lap and he became easy prey for the Ferrari's of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa and the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton. The weekend sparked huge criticism from many experts, pundits and fans over new regulations and a track layout that appeared to cut overtaking to a minimum.

On to Australia, the traditional starting point of the F1 calender. And the season really did start here. A sprinkling of rain on the morning of the race threw everyone's set-ups to the wind. The action kicked off when returning legend Michael Schumacher, 2009 champ Jenson Button and 2-time champion Alonso tried to get through turn-1 at once. Button tapped Alonso who in turn hit Schumacher, the end result was the Spaniard facing the wrong way, Schumacher taking to the grass with a damaged front wing and Button falling backwards into the clutches of his team-mate. The Safety Car made it's debut in 2010 after a front-wing failure on one of the Saubers sent the car crashing through Buemi's helpless Toro Rosso and Nico Hulkenburg's Williams got caught up too. The race was won by Jenson Button after a brave call to change to slick tyres paid off and he cruised to the win. Vettel's troubles returned as a brake failure sent him into the gravel and Mark Webber made a mess of an overtake on Hamilton which left both further down the field.

Malaysia, Round 3. Red Bull's 3rd pole position in 3 races and their 2nd consecutive front-row lockout. A cautious start from Mark Webber let his team-mate into the lead on the first turn and the pair never looked back, dominating the race. Hamilton was lucky to escape with just a warning for 'excessive weaving' down the main straight as Petrov's Renault followed him closely. And with just 2 and a half races done, Alonso became the first big-name driver to lose an engine after a spectacular blowout ended his Grand Prix.

In China, another rain-shower caused a chaotic and exciting race. Red Bull's 4th pole position and 3rd straight 1-2 start. Alonso appeared to have a lightning quick start until replays showed a jump start gave him the advantage. A pileup at turn 6 called for the safety car and almost every driver pitted for intermediate tyres as the light rain became heavier. A second safety car and mayhem on the restart as Button slowed the pack down too much, the result being Webber losing 6 places after having to take evasive action. Hamilton stormed through the field, picking of driver by driver thanks to his car's superior straight-line speed. Button collected his second win of the season with Hamilton close behind, completing McLaren's first 1-2 finish since the 2007 Italian Grand Prix. Rosberg scored another podium with Alonso 4th, Vettel 6th and Webber down in 8th on nearly bald tyres.

The F1 Circus arrived in Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix at Catalunya. Red Bull's ownership of Saturday continued as Webber led Vettel in Q3 with Hamilton edging local boy Alonso on the 2nd row. The top 6 made their way through in order at the start. Contact between several cars caused a change in the order down the field and Pedro de la Rosa into retirement with damage. In the pitstops, a delay for Vettel cost him a position to Lewis Hamilton and a similar problem for Button allowed Schumacher to overtake him. With just one lap remaining, Hamilton suffered a wheel-rim failure on turn 2 which became a full on blow-out which ended in the tyre wall at turn three. Hamilton's loss allowed Alonso up to 2nd ahead of Vettel who lost out when he pitted with brake issues and crawled home. Schumacher scored his best result after his comeback after holding off Button for 4th.

The crown jewels of the season came up next with the circus moving a few hundred kilometres up the Mediterranean coastline to the tiny principality of Monaco. The prestigious event has been held around the streets since 1929 and is regarded as the most sought-after victory of the year. Alonso made a rare mistake during third practice on Saturday morning that resulted in his Ferrari grating along the barriers near Casino Square and causing a cracked chassis. The team decided that the car was damaged to much to be repaired for qualifying later that day and Alonso was forced to start from the pitlane. Webber took a 6th Red Bull pole position out of 6 with an amazing lap from Robert Kubica giving him a front row start ahead of Vettel and Massa. On lap one, a huge accident for Hulkenburg in the tunnel saw the safety car out for it's first trip of many. Alonso stole the chance to pit early, a call that would ultimately decide every other car's strategy. Button's race ended on lap 2 when a cover was left on his radiator by accident. Further into the race, and the sister Williams car of Barrichello suffered a catastrophic suspension failure that sent him backwards up the hill and into a massive crash. The safety car had to be brought out for a 2nd time. Just a few laps later it was back out after a loose manhole cover was discovered near the start of Barrichello's crash, this was eventually found to be the cause. Chandhok and Trulli decided to park on top of each other at the final corner of lap 70 sending the safety car out for the 4th time in the race. Webber eventually won the race ahead of team-mate Vettel and Kubica's Renault.

Check back later for the 2nd part of this bumper review!


Post a Comment