Monday, 15 November 2010

Vettel: A worthy champion?

Yes, probably. The toing and froing regarding a possible bias at Red Bull became tiresome almost as it began, but say what you like about Sebastian Vettel, he's just bloody good.

He had easily the fastest car on what seemed like every weekend. Rarely was there a time when the Red Bull was eclipsed through an entire weekend and at most circuits they seemed to have three or four tenths in their pocket. A phenonmenon known in Formula One as The Newey Effect. 10 pole positions from 19 races says a lot, but he only managed to convert that into 5 wins - the same number as Fernando Alonso in a significantly inferior Ferrari.

A Red Bull driver should've had the title wrapped up well before Abu Dhabi and it is much to Ferrari and Mclaren's credit that they didn't. Alonso, Hamilton and to a lesser extent Button kept them honest right to the last through sheer doggedness. Opponents know that if there's even a sniff of a victory you'd better hope its not a Mclaren or a Ferrari doing the sniffing because the chances are they'll catch you.

Webber had a good year, easily his best in Formula One, but I just never felt like he was going to be champion. He's a nice guy, and I would've liked to see him win it, but it always felt like his lead was vulnerable and like it or not, Vettel is out-and-out the faster driver.

Alonso looked down and out at Silverstone, where he claimed he was still in the title fight. He is the consumate fighter, he is never beaten and his pursuit of Vettel and Webber towards the end of the season was relentlessly brilliant. Only the brainless strategic call from Ferrari to cover off Webber rather than maximise Alonso's own position robbed him of a deserved third World Championship. There is no better all round driver on the grid.

The other man with a theoretical chance of victory at the last was Lewis Hamilton. A season of brilliance interspersed with some pretty average moments speaks of a driver not completely at one with his car. His performance at the final race wasn't as electrifying as it could've been - perhaps in the back of his mind was him handing the title to his arch-rival Alonso if he'd passed Vettel for the win.

So all in all, it was a thrilling season of racing. Any one of five drivers looked up to winning the title for most of the season, despite one team having a significant advantage throughout. A provisional 20-race season in 2011 should provide just as many thrills!


Anonymous said...

Don't see that Alonso can be called "relentlessly brilliant"....shaking his ist at Petrov for skillfully outdriving him is hardly worthy of a champion!

Maybe Lewis but more likely McLaren didn't want a number one on Ferrari next year, hence the manoevre with JB.

Webber like Button and Massa comprehensively outdriven by their teamates...which one will move next year? My moneys on Button.

Schumi almost made it out of Liuzzi's way, he does think fast!

GreenJJ said...

Come on now, Alonso is clearly brilliant, there's no better driver on the grid. Hamilton and Vettel have done their fair share of fist shaking or similar - remember Vettel's 'he's crazy' hand gesture earlier in the season?!

Don't think any of them will move ultimately, and Webber might have been ultimately slower, but he was only marginally out-driven by Vettel in the end.

haitchjg said...

Scraping the barrel a bit there....Vettel was self admonishment surely. Alonso didn't exactly put Petrov under pressure did he (like say Mansell at Monaco).......

Which reminds me, Renault deserve more recognition in my view, by far the best engine on the grid, tho I agree the Newey factor is required to make the package complete. Yet again the German giants and Italian supecar makers are left in the dust.

GreenJJ said...

Can I direct you to this:

Don't think that was self-admonishment.

Monaco is a totally different circuit, doesn't rely on aerodynamic grip like Abu Dhabi. The Renault had excellent traction and good top speed. Hamilton couldn't pass Kubica either...

Renault did put together a decent package, but for a team with the 'best engine on the grid' the factory team didn't do terribly well in the championship.

haitchjg said...

The only answer is to clone Newey!