Tag Archives: Abu Dhabi GP

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!

Vettel unaware of championship victory until last lap

In the post-race press conference, 2010 world champion Sebastian Vettel has said that his team did not inform him he was about to win the title until the very last lap.

Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber were stuck down in 7th and 8th places repsectively, meaning that Vettel was 4 points clear of the Ferrari when the chequered flag fell. However, as Sebastian tells us, he didn’t know much about it:

 To be honest I didn’t know anything until I took the 
chequered flag. The last ten laps I was wondering because 
my race engineer Rocky was trying to give me advice in 
the last ten laps to bring the car home. And I was think
 “why is this guy so nervous? We must be in a bloody good 
position.”

And then crossing the line he came on the line very 
silently and said “it’s looking good, we have to wait 
until the cars finish” and I was thinking “what does he 
mean?” Because I hadn’t seen the screens, I just wanted 
to make sure not to get any distractions, just focus on 
myself.

And then he comes on the radio and screams at me that we’ve
 won the world championship.

I have to say thanks to a lot of people, I will surely 
forget a lot of those but to start with the team, all the 
guys here at the race track, all my mechanics – all the 
mechanics in the team, not only my mechanics – everyone.

The engineers – sorry I’ve made this a bit long – we have 
an extremely strong amount of people together working in 
harmony. Back in Milton Keynes the guys are pushing like 
hell and I think they’ll enjoy this moment as much as 
last year.

Back in Austria, all the people that have been supporting 
me from the beginning. It’s been an incredible season with 
Red Bull and after this season’s ups and downs, to come 
here and lead the world championship at the last race is 
unbelievable.

Thanks and also thanks to all the people back in karting, 
some of them are in Kerpen supporting me, but also back 
in my home town, Heppenheim, I just want to say thank 
you very much.

 

Vettel snatches victory and the title in Abu Dhabi

Sebastian Vettel took victory at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, and wrenched the world championship out of Fernando Alonso’s and Mark Webber’s hands. Fernando suffered badly when he pitted to cover Webber early on, and he was held up by Vitaly Petrov for the rest of the race. Here is what happened:

At the first corner, Jenson Button made a successful move on Fernando Alonso, putting the Ferrari back into 4th place. At Turn 4, Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher made the lightest of contact, Michael lost out and spun. The cars behind tried their best to avoid the Mercedes, but Vitantonio Liuzzi failed to do so, and smashed straight into him, with the Force India jumping just over Schumacher’s helmet.

The safety car was deployed for the crash, with the two cars and debris all over the track. For the next few laps, all of the cars tried to keep the heat in their tyres, although Lewis Hamilton was complaining of cold brakes. Bernd Maylander pitted on Lap 6, and the racing resumed.

Robert Kubica made a wonderful move on the outside of Adrian Sutil for 9th place. Kamui Kobayashi dived down the inside of Rubens Barrichello, but overshot the corner and Rubens retook the position. Nico Rosberg, who pitted for the harder tyre under the safety car, overtook Nico Hulkenberg for 13th.

Within a few laps though, both of the Red Bulls began to lose pace, with their rear tyres graining. Hamilton began to get right up behind Vettel, while Webber was falling away from Alonso. Mark made the call to switch to hard tyres on Lap 11, and fell to 16th. Ferrari were about to pit Massa, but decided to keep him out.

However, the next lap, Felipe Massa stopped for harder tyres, but emerged behind Webber still. Mark was being held behind Jaime Alguersuari, but the Spaniard decided to allow the Red Bull through next up for Webber to overtake was Vitaly Petrov.

Fernando Alonso pitted on Lap 15, and despite nearly hitting the wall, pitted and emerged just ahead of the Red Bull, to the relief of Ferrari. If Webber had cleared Alguersuari a lap earlier, he could well have jumped Fernando in the stops.

The focus soon switched to Vettel and Hamilton at the front, and both seemed to be utilising the super-soft tyres better than anyone else, with both staying out longer than their rivals. Nico Rosberg was now crucial to the championship battle, as Vettel now had to stay out, then pit and emerge ahead of the Mercedes. By Lap 20, however, Sebastian’s tyres had finished the graining stage, and he could now push in the lead for longer.

With Alonso and Webber being held up behind Vitaly Petrov, the situation now had another twist. If Nico Rosberg’s strategy was to work, and he jumped up to a podium position, this would push Alonso down to 5th, and hand Vettel the title. With this in mind, Alonso was instructed to push and try and get past Petrov.

On Lap 24, Alonso made a dive on the Renault, but ran wide and lost some time, although he stayed ahead of Webber. Meanwhile, Hamilton pitted, and Sebastian was ordered by his team to push like hell. He pitted one lap later, and was still ahead of Lewis. Even better, Kamui Kobayashi and Robert Kubica were in between the Red Bull and the McLaren. To make it even better for Vettel, they began to battle, with Kubica out-braking Kobayashi around the outside, a stunning move.

Jenson Button was now left in the lead of the race, although he was still yet to stop. Robert Kubica was now holding up Lewis Hamilton, as they were in 3rd and 4th places. Kamui Kobayashi pitted from 5th, and was back out in 16th. Nico Hulkenberg stopped a few laps later, and promoted Alonso to 9th.

The title was shifting closer and closer to Sebastian, and he showed that by setting fastest lap after fastest lap. Sebastien Buemi stopped, giving Fernando 8th position. On Lap 40, Jenson Button finally pitted, after an astonishing 40 laps on the super-soft tyres, which gave Sebastian Vettel the lead, and Button was now 4th.

As well as Nico Rosberg being crucial to the title, Robert Kubica was now entering the equation. The average pit stop time lost was 22.5 seconds (Williams estimate), and Kubica was 19 seconds ahead of Alonso. The Renault was lapping half a second faster than the Ferrari, thanks to Vitaly Petrov holding Alonso up, so now Fernando could lose another position when Kubica was to pit.

On Lap 45, Hamilton and Alonso were still stuck behind other cars, and Hamilton wiped out another trackside camera trying to catch Kubica. Timo Glock, meanwhile, retired on track with a gearbox problem. Kubica pitted on Lap 47, and tortured Alonso a little bit further by emerging ahead of the Ferrari. However, he ran a little bit wide at pit exit, and went a little too close to incurring the stewards’ wrath. Adrian Sutil pitted from 4th, and left Alonso 7th.

With this, and only 5 laps to go in the 2010 Formula 1 season, the dust began to settle. Alonso began to realise it was all over, and Webber was told he could try an overtaking move on the Ferrari, although he failed to do so. Apart from Jarno Trulli’s rear wing collapsing, little happened in the last few laps, to settle the hearts on the Red Bull crew. And with that, Sebastian Vettel cruised to the finish line, to take race victory, and the 2010 world championshp!

Fernando Alonso crossed the line 7th, but he wasn’t done yet. As the cars slowed, he gave the middle finger to Vitaly Petrov, who was simply doing his job, and, with hand gestures, signalled to Alonso: “What did you expect me to do?”

But that was swiftly disregarded, as the youngest world champion took to the top step of the podium. And with that, Sebastian Vettel wore the biggest smile in the world in Abu Dhabi, and Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber retreated to lick their wounds. Plenty of posts will be up in the next few days, but I’ll make it clear here: Sebastian fully deserved the 2010 title.

The standings have been updated for the final time, you can view them here.

Hamilton escapes penalty over Massa incident

The view from the camera bollard before Hamilton hits it

The view from the camera bollard before Hamilton hits it

Lewis Hamilton has avoided a potential grid penalty ahead of tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after an incident with Felipe Massa in Q2 in qualifying today.

As Massa was on a hot lap, entering Turn 4, Hamilton was close to the apex of the corner, and accidentaly turned into Massa, realised his mistake, then swerved off the track to avoid the Ferrari, hitting a camera bollard in the process. This incident, along with a separate one involving Massa and Rubens Barrichello, were reported to the stewards, but no action was taken in either case.

Here is what Massa had to say about the incident:

 "On my last out-lap, I came up behind so much traffic and it 
was all very confusing, especially as Hamilton, who was ahead 
of me, had slowed a lot at Turn 14.

At the end of the session, I was called to the stewards to 
discuss this incident and also the one with Hamilton again in 
Q2.

This sort of thing can happen as can be seen from the fact 
that no action was taken.

 

Vettel takes pole while Webber struggles in Abu Dhabi

Sebastian Vettel took pole position ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He was ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Mark Webber was 5th, and has a huge task for the race tomorrow. Here is what happened:

Q1

The Toro Rossos got the ball rolling, setting 1.43′s. A 1.41.2 from Lewis Hamilton put him on top, while Sebastian Vettel was up to 8 tenths off his pace. Fernando Alonso went fastest, but 10 seconds later Lewis took the position back.

Vettel was held up slightly by Christian Klien, but still improved to 1st place, before Hamilton once again went back on top. Vettel went even faster, while Mark Webber didn’t trouble the top 2.

Kamui Kobayashi, the last driver to set his first time, initially only went 17th, before going 12th. In the dropout zone, Jaime Alguersuari was 18th, just behind his team-mate. However, Jaime improved on his time, leaving Buemi knocked out of Q1.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Sebastien Buemi

19) Jarno Trulli

20) Heikki Kovalainen

21) Timo Glock

22) Lucas di Grassi

23) Bruno Senna

24) Christian Klien

Q2

The Ferraris went out first, with Fernando Alonso beating Felipe Massa by half a second. Jenson Button then topped that time by 2 extra tenths. His team-mate Hamilton had problems with his first two laps, running wide and out-braking himself, while Button improved by another tenth.

Halfway through the sesssion, the Red Bulls finally came out on the super-soft tyres. Mark Webber locked a brake, so he went 3rd before Vettel went fastest of them all.

Hamilton stayed in the pits after his problem, and still hadn’t set a time to get him into Q3. He went out on the soft tyres with 3 minutes to go, but was held up by traffic. Worse still, replays showed, while Hamilton was on an out-lap, he turned right into Felipe Massa at Turn 4, knocking over a camera bollard after realising the Ferrari was there. A stewards’ investigation may occur later.

Despite this though, he went 2nd, and Massa’s next lap got him 6th. Robert Kubica was in 11th with 30 seconds to go, and was 8 tenths faster than 10th placed driver in the middle sector, but made a mistake in the last sector, and stayed 11th. In fact, it is the first time this year that the Renault driver failed to make it to Q3.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Robert Kubica

12) Kamui Kobayashi

13) Adrian Sutil

14) Nick Heidfeld

15) Nico Hulkenberg

16) Vitantonio Liuzzi

17) Jaime Alguersuari

Q3

Jenson Button, Massa and Alonso all exited the pits first, all on the super-soft tyres. Webber and the rest soon left the garage, while Sebastian Vettel stayed in the garage.

Lewis Hamilton was the first to give it a try, blitzing all 3 sectors and setting a 1.39.5. Alonso was half a second slower, and Webber made a mistake in the first sector. Both Red Bulls were 1 tenth down in sector 2, Webber went 3rd, while Vettel got an extra tenth to go fastest.

Alonso fired up for another lap with 2 minutes to go, while the Red Bulls went out again. This time, Webber was again slower, while Vettel took another tenth off the fastest lap.

However, with a minute to go, amazingly, Sebastian went even quicker than his last 2 laps in the first sector. Meanwhile, a huge queue of cars, involving Hamilton and the Ferraris meant they started their laps slightly slow.

Neither of the Red Bulls managed to improve, so the focus was on Hamilton and Alonso. Lewis was a few thousands of a second faster in sector 2, but fell to 2nd, while Alonso’s final lap got him 3rd, ahead of Mark Webber in 5th.

While Webber struggled badly and paid the price, Alonso’s final lap could prove to be completely decisive in the championship battle tomorrow.

Jenson Button was 4th, Felipe Massa 6th, Rubens Barrichello 7th, Michael Schumacher 8th, Nico Rosberg 9th, and Vitaly Petrov 10th.

So, going into tomorrow, Fernando Alonso still has the advantage, Sebastian Vettel should be on course to take the race win, but Mark Webber has it all to do.

Hamilton tops Abu Dhabi second practice

Lewis Hamilton took over at the top of Friday Practice at Abu Dhabi, setting the fastest time in the second session. He was a quarter of a second faster than Sebastian Vettel, who was 2 tenths ahead of Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber.

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in second practice

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in second practice

On the medium tyres, Alonso reigned supreme, but stood no chance when everyone switched to the super-softs. Despite setting less laps than his rivals, Hamilton was easily on top.

The Renaults of Kubica and Petrov were 5th and 7th, surrounding Felipe Massa in 6th, who stopped out on track, reporting that his car had run out of fuel.

Jenson Button struggled in 8th, Vitantonio Liuzzi was 9th, and the Mercedes drivers of Rosberg and Schumacher were 10th and 11th.

Heikki Kovalainen took over the new teams in 19th place, 4.2 seconds off Hamilton’s pace. He scraped ahead of Timo Glock, who comfortably beat Jarno Trulli and Lucas di Grassi. Christian Klien and Bruno Senna were up to 2 seconds off their rivals at the back.

Times from FP2:

Pos.
Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’40.888 25
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’41.145 0.257 28
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’41.314 0.426 29
4 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’41.315 0.427 29
5 Robert Kubica Renault 1’41.576 0.688 31
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’41.583 0.695 21
7 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’42.096 1.208 31
8 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’42.132 1.244 28
9 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’42.203 1.315 31
10 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’42.222 1.334 29
11 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’42.246 1.358 29
12 Nico Hülkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’42.449 1.561 32
13 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’42.535 1.647 21
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’42.768 1.880 26
15 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’42.914 2.026 37
16 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’42.950 2.062 34
17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’43.128 2.240 17
18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’43.584 2.696 33
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’45.180 4.292 36
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’45.259 4.371 31
21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’45.612 4.724 35
22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’46.053 5.165 29
23 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth 1’47.210 6.322 32
24 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’47.434 6.546 28

Vettel leads Abu Dhabi FP1

Sebastian Vettel laid down the gauntlet for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, by setting the fastest time in Friday Practice 1 today. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were 2nd and 3rd, followed by Mark Webber.

Sebastian Vettel was the fastest in FP1

Sebastian Vettel was the fastest in FP1

The session began on a damp track, but it dried out throughout the day. However, the first half an hour was a waste for many, as the drivers sat in the garages waiting for the track to clear. In fact, it took until 50 minutes in for the fast laps to began to be set.

Robert Kubica was 5th, and Fernando Alonso 6th. The Mercedes and Sauber drivers filled the top 10.

Felipe Massa was 11th, and 2.4 seconds off the pace of the leaders. Having said that though, he was forced to abort one of his runs after a problem with the car’s telemetry data, meaning that the team wouldn’t have been able to fully collect data if he had continued.

Rubens Barrichello was 13th, despite stopping out on track. He still managed to beat his team-mate Nico Hulkenberg by 1.2 seconds.

Timo Glock led the way at the back, just ahead of Jarno Trulli, who in turn was nearly a second faster than Lucas di Grassi. Bruno Senna beat Christian Klien by 7 tenths, while Fairuz Fauzy, who replaced Heikki Kovalainen for FP1, was last, and despite setting more laps than most of the new teams, was 8.9 seconds off the pace. However, it was reported that the Lotus was experiencing overheating problems.

Times from FP1:

Pos.
Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’42.760 18
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’43.369 0.609 16
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’43.785 1.025 19
4 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’43.840 1.080 19
5 Robert Kubica Renault 1’44.080 1.320 19
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’44.121 1.361 17
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’44.199 1.439 19
8 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’44.604 1.844 18
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’44.718 1.958 19
10 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’44.737 1.977 19
11 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’45.160 2.400 18
12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’45.445 2.685 21
13 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’45.474 2.714 15
14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’45.552 2.792 20
15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’45.585 2.825 14
16 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’46.003 3.243 20
17 Nico Hülkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’46.664 3.904 19
18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’47.105 4.345 22
19 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’48.450 5.690 19
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’48.472 5.712 17
21 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’49.375 6.615 13
22 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’49.590 6.830 18
23 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth 1’50.274 7.514 17
24 Fairuz Fauzy Lotus-Cosworth 1’51.705 8.945 18

Klien retained by Hispania for Abu Dhabi

Christian Klien will stay on at HRT for Abu Dhabi

Christian Klien will stay on at HRT for Abu Dhabi

Christian Klien will stay on at the HRT team for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, it has been revealed today. He will continue to partner Bruno Senna, while Sakon Yamamoto and Karun Chandhok continue to be left on the sidelines.

After replacing Yamamoto for the Singapore GP and impressing the team, Klien was hired again for the Brazilian GP, where he out-qualified Bruno Senna by more than half a second. Because of this, he will be retained for the final race of the 2010 season.

It’s good to see Hispania are starting to prioritise driver ability over financial assets brought to the team, but very few fans will be happy until we see Karun Chandhok return to the driver’s seat. However, with the 2011 driver market closing up fast, time is running out for Chandhok to get a drive for next season.

The maths behind the 2010 championship battle

With just one more race to go this year, Formula 1 is about to experience something historic, as this is the first time in history that 4 drivers have entered the last race with a chance of becoming World Champion. With this in mind, there are many ways that each of them can take the title.

With this in mind let’s have a look at each driver individually, starting with the underdog:

Lewis Hamilton

2 DNFs in Italy and Singapore have killed Hamilton’s title challenge, and he comes to Abu Dhabi with an extremely low chance of becoming champion. At the moment, he is 24 points adrift of Fernando Alonso.

His task is simple but very difficult: Take the win while Vettel, Alonso and Webber all finish out of the points. While the McLaren isn’t bad at Abu Dhabi, the likelihood of the other 3 drivers being taken out are slim to say the least.

My prediction: As likely as Nick Heidfeld shaving his beard.

Sebastian Vettel

The first of the Red Bull drivers is in with a better chance than Hamilton, but like the McLaren driver, will need a good performance and a stroke of bad luck to hit Webber and Alonso.

Although he is 15 points behind, a 3rd place (with Alonso scoring no points) will not be enough for Vettel, as Fernando has taken 5 wins already, more than any other driver this year. If Vettel finishes 2nd, he will need Alonso to finish 9th or lower, with Webber 5th or lower.

If Sebastian take the win, which is likely is he is on form, the Ferrari needs to be 6th or lower, while Webber will be knocked out automatically, seeing as even if he was 2nd and level on points, Sebastian would have taken one more win.

While the odds are against this Red Bull, the title is certainly not out of reach, though it will take some luck to push Alonso down the order.

My prediction: If he doesn’t win it, he will at least get very close.

Mark Webber

This Red Bull driver is within better striking range of the Ferrari, although Mark’s title hopes were hit slightly by failing to overtake his team-mate in Brazil. Nevertheless, Webber is in with a good shot.

If none of his rivals scored a point (although Hamilton can still win the race in this situation) Mark only needs 5th to take the title. If he gets 4th place, Alonso will need to be 9th or lower, with Vettel not taking the win. If he is in 3rd position, Alonso can be 7th or lower, and Vettel not to take the win.

If Webber takes 2nd place, Fernando has to be 6th or lower, while Sebastian again cannot take the race win (effectively 3rd or lower). Meanwhile, if Mark wins the race, Vettel is taken out no matter where he finishes, while Fernando would have to be 3rd or lower in order for Webber to take the title.

There are many more possibilities as you can see, and it demonstrates why Webber needs to be pushing as hard as he can coming into this final race.

My prediction: A good chance, although he may find trouble keeping Vettel (and Alonso) behind him.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando comes into this race with the title lead, and 8 points to spare against his rivals. He may have the point margin, but his Ferrari will probably be slower than the Red Bull this weekend, so he needs to be very careful.

If he takes either the win or 2nd place, then the championship is his, no questions asked. However, seeing as the Red Bulls are probably going to be on form in Abu Dhabi, this is unlikely, so now the fun begins. If he takes 3rd place, Webber would need to take the race win, and Sebastian Vettel would be knocked out.

If he is 4th, Webber will again need to take the win, and Vettel would still be out of the running.

However, if the Ferrari is 5th, Webber yet again needs to win, and the same goes for Vettel. However, you might notice a small problem there. If Vettel were to win, and Alonso was 5th, then they would be equal on points. FIA rules regulate that the winner would be the driver with the most 2nd place finishes, and both Alonso and Vettel have the same amount. The rule would then move to 3rd place finishes, and -surprise surprise – they have the same amount again! However, Sebastian has two 4th places to Fernando’s one, so this would most certainly be an interesting end to the championship to say the least.

If Alonso is 6th, Webber will need 2nd place, and Vettel would need to win the race. If Fernando was 7th, Mark would have to be on the podium, and Sebastian again requiring the race victory. The exact same requirements for the Red Bulls are needed if the Ferrari is 8th.

In the event of Alonso being 9th, Webber needs 4th, and Vettel needs 2nd or 1st. If Fernando is 10th, Mark would need 5th or higher, and Vettel again requires 1st or 2nd.

In the unlikely event of the Ferrari not taking any points at all, or retiring, Mark Webber would need 5th or higher, and Sebastian Vettel once again has to take 1st or 2nd. If Alonso was not to score, with Vettel 3rd and Webber 6th, then all 3 would be tied on points, but Alonso would take the title because of the “most wins” tiebreaker rule.

My prediction: Best mathematical chance, but needs to watch his back.

Round-up

As you can see, with a 4-way battle for the first time ever, the amount of mathematical possibilities are greater than ever before. With all of these chances of winning the title, we are in for an epic showdown in Abu Dhabi in just a few days time!

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