Thoughts on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

So, the season finale of the 2010 Formula 1 season gave us our youngest ever world champion, but that’s not half of the story. Both Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso fell prey to mistakes in Abu Dhabi, though not through driver error.

First of all, when rating this race, it’s important to separate the title battle from the actual race. In the context, I would have said that the Abu Dhabi GP was actually very poor, as like last year, the track prevented overtaking, and restricted activity to strategy and not the driver skill.

However, it was the strategy aspect which threw away the title for Alonso today. His team opted to pit him early to cover Mark Webber, which deposited the Ferrari in a line of traffic, from which he never recovered. While Fernando can easily blame the team for putting him into this situation, the fact of the matter is that he failed to make a single overtaking move, not even on a rookie driver in a Renault.

Fernando’s actions after the race were simply disgraceful. To blame a fellow driver for doing his job demeans the entire sport. Not every driver on the track is like Felipe Massa, Vitaly was driving to secure a seat for next year, and he is expected to simply move out of the way? Any driver who expects this does not deserve the championship.

Meanwhile, as Alonso was stuck in 7th, the opportunity was present for Mark Webber to capitalise on this, but he too failed. He was struggling for pace all weekend, and never even looked like progressing up the field. Again, a performance like that does not earn you any titles.

A title well deserved for Sebastian Vettel

A title well deserved for Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian, on the other hand, put in a dominant performance like we have seen so many other times this year. He never looked like letting go of the lead, and with his title rivals slipping when they had to push, gave Vettel a well deserved world championship. I’ll have a separate post on this later.

But of course, there was more than the title to settle here. As I said earlier, Vitaly Petrov did extremely well to keep Fernando Alonso back for nearly the entire race, just like he did in Turkey. He has impressed me in his rookie season, and definitely deserves to keep his seat for 2011. His team-mate Robert Kubica also did well, starting from his worst qualifying spot of the year, to leap as high as second in the race, and he too did well in keeping back a much faster car, in the form of Lewis Hamilton.

Jaime Alguersuari is another driver who deserve a shout-out for his performance. Starting 17th, he progressed calmly up the field, almost invisible to the viewers, and ended up 9th, only 6 seconds behind Mark Webber. Both Toro Rosso drivers have disappointed in recent races, but this was a good way to end the year for the Red Bull sister team.

Schumacher's and Liuzzi's crash was far too close for comfort

Schumacher's and Liuzzi's crash was far too close for comfort

Nico Rosberg did very well to jump up to 4th, and was one of several drivers who threw the spanner in the works of Alonso’s title bid. Even before the race, he told journalists that he was planning to pit early, and so he did, utilising his strategy perfectly to move from 9th to 4th. His collision with Michael Schumacher at the start could have been avoidable, but I don’t think it was anyone’s fault, just the lightest of contact. However, the subsequent crash with Vitantonio Liuzzi needs to be scrutineered more closely, as the Force India came to a rest just centimetres from Schumacher’s head.

 

At the end of it all, there wasn’t very much racing action, yet plenty to keep our nails being bitten right to the very last lap. The podium was a lovely spectacle, I thought, as the three champions from the last 3 years were 1st, 2nd and 3rd. To make it better, Lewis Hamilton had the pressure off him for this race, so there were no sullen faces, just happiness for Vettel’s victory, which is great to see.

These 24 drivers have made 2010 a legendary Formula 1 season

These 24 drivers have made 2010 a legendary Formula 1 season

And finally, I’d just like to say that this has been one of the greatest Formula 1 seasons in history, and most certainly the best that I have ever watched. Never before has the world championship been so enthralling for me, and at the end of the day, the best man won, and the cheaters fell at the final hurdle.

Not that this is the end of my work. Throughout the winter, I hope to keep the blog well alive, keep writing all the way through the off-season, and also the introduction of a new series, which I’ll post about later. Stay tuned!

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One response to “Thoughts on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

  1. Alejandro November 14, 2010 at 20:04

    I agree on most of it, still Alonso’s finger was because Petrov’s slowing down in the honour lap and the only thing he said about Petrov was that he was driving like a championship contender in the last race. And we know Alonso and Schumi love to win by decree.

    Mark’s car was odd, so odd it was suspicious. And Domenically has to leave his place to someone who at least knows how to add and substract, besides being italian.

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