Nov 15, 2010

The class of a true champion

"yeah baby, this is what I was talking about" are usually the words mouthed by Sebastian Vettel after winning a race but this time, he was fighting tears. It was almost like a last gasp effort as the whole of F1 fraternity witnessed the arrival of a true champion in Seb after he fought all odds to clinch the 2010 F1 world drivers' championship by a mere 4 points from the languishing Ferrari of Fernando. I truly had belief in him even during the thick of times, that he would do it. After Korea, the morale broke when he failed to finish the race after suffering an engine blow up while leading the GP. He was then a clear 25 off Fernando and 14 off his teammate, Mark.

By winning the Brazilian GP, Seb gave himself an outside chance to atleast fight it out till the end but was still trailing by a good 15 points off Fernando who only needed to finish in the top 2 in the season finale in Abu Dhabi to seal the title. But that was not to be. Seb fended off the off-the-line punch from Lewis by maintaining track position going into turn 1. Schumacher was squeezed by his teammate and the catastrophe caused the deployment of safety car during which time, Rosberg, Petrov and Jaimie stopped for a tyre change. The decision proved to be pivotal as when Fernando pitted during lap 15, he came out behind the trio who were going to the end.

There were a lot of press against the strategy deployed by Ferrari to hold off Mark but I thought the fate was there to be sealed anyhow. I never overestimated Ferrari’s capabilities on the soft tyres. Fernando could have maximum gone for another 6 laps with the options which would have taken the lead he had of Rosberg from 15 to 18 secs (Mercedes was only lapping 0.4 slower than Ferrari on primes). 22 secs lead was needed to come, change and go out in front. Button stayed long to only leapfrog Kubica despite the fact that he was losing time against both Vettel n Hamilton but even that didn’t pay off. Button went to lap 36, Vettel 24, Hamilton 22, Alonso 15 before they all stopped. Alonso might have gone ahead of Petrov had he waited but then there was Kubica who was stopping at lap 46 only. Hence, Alonso would have been held up by one Renault or the other in either ways and more importantly he would have been behind Rosberg no matter what he did because Rosberg didn’t have to stop again and that meant all he could have managed was fifth (not enough). He lost the race in the first corner when Button got past him and by virtue of an average duct.

McLaren showcased what they are capable of in circuits where they could utilize the
superiority of their F-ducts. They and Renault were the only teams to have pulled off a move against Kobayashi IIRC. So after 55 laps of tipsy-topsy, it finished with Vettel from Hamilton, Button and Rosberg meaning the winner took it all. Fernando could only manage a seventh, four below where he had started. It was amazing to see contrasting emotions from the title contenders cos at one end, Vettel was embracing his mates in the team but there on the other end, Fernando was giving a 'sporting gesture' to Petrov for holding him for more than half the race. Seriously, the guy is a sore looser as Petrov was firstly, fighting for positions and secondly, fighting for his career. I think he has a great chance of securing a drive for 2011 with the Anglo-French squad and Seb will be more than willing to sponsor the same ;)

Redbull were the team to beat all season though they had a share of mishaps in the form of Vettel's reliability woes, Webber's DNFs etc but championships are always won over a season. Hence, I don't give too much into the gritty drives of both the Renault drivers which held Fernando at the back because in the end, Vettel was a touch unfortunate not to have sealed the title earlier. He lead the most laps in 2010 but won only five times giving a clear indication of how the machinery had failed him at times. Still, they are both the drivers'(prestige) and constructors'(revenue) champions. Yes, another car from the Adrian Newey stable has won both the championships. Bravo!

Finally, the talking point! Redbull allowed their drivers to have a go while Ferrari maintained a status quo and in the end, Redbull showed the world that championships can be won by giving equal priorities to drivers. Mark can never complain because he was atleast not treated like the way Ferrari treated Massa. Fernando as always doesn't want to fight his teammate partly because he's demanding and partly because of the aftermaths of 2007. Hence, he needs his team to get victories for him on a plate, a practice which might have fetched him silverware earlier in his career but things have changed, and for good. Fact that a genuinely popular driver has won the championship is like an icing on the cake apart from the way he did it. Ferrari has a long way to go in terms of ethics while Fernando's hand of gestures are better reserved for the streets.

And on that note, let's welcome the youngest world champion SEBASTIAN VETTEL!


Nizz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nizz said...

Amazing! I am speechless. I couldn't agree more for the last paragraph. Times have changed, indeed. For good. :)

Long live the sport.