First up congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for the clean sweep in this years Formula One championship. As a team, they had the fastest car on the grid all the way to the end of the season, which is not easy to do. Consider how Brawn GP last year had the fastest car in the first half of the season with their double diffuser, and when that advantage went, they were one amongst the lot.
As a Ferrari supporter though, Sebastian Vettel winning the title was hard to take. Not because I don’t think he was deserving of it (far from it) but rather mystified as to how with them holding the aces they managed to cock it up big time. Fernando Alonso went into the final race 8 points ahead of Mark Webber, and 15 ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Alonso then conjured up that extra bit to qualify third. Surely from there, they should have closed out the championship !
The race though was an absolute disaster right from the start. Alonso lost a position to Button. Then the safety car was deployed due to a collision between Michael Schumacher and Vitantonio Luizzi, where in quite a few of the mid runners made the mandatory pit stop for tyre change. From there things just went pear shaped for Alonso. Ferrari concentrated on Webber alone, missed the rest of the cast, and possibly even underestimated the other teams and paid for it big time. Tactically this was very surprising to see from a team , that in the past were exceptionally good at it. Alonso was stuck behind Petrov after the pit stop for tyre change, didn’t look like going past him and that was just part one of his problem considering how the race was panning out. Vettel literally cruised to the title, Alonso eventually finished 7’th (needing to finish 4’th to ensure the title)and lost the championship by four points.
To be fair though, Alonso had profited from Red Bull’s problems when quite clearly having an inferior car. His charge post the British GP had been nothing short of sensational, and in spite of that IF either Webber or Vettel hadn’t had issues the championship wouldn’t have been this close. One only has to compare how Massa has done this season, and there in lies another tale of how Alonso had over achieved , or rather his talent squeezed that much extra to stay in the title hunt.
What of the Red Bull drivers ? They had the fastest car on the grid, and Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel dominated the qualifying sessions. More Vettel than Webber, think it was 17 pole positions they had together. The races though were different, and IF either of them were even a bit more lucky with mechanical issues, or been a bit smarter, the championship would have long been sewn up. That they didn’t do, made this season that much more exciting. Can’t help but think, with this experience it is not something they will repeat in the following seasons.
A thought on Vettel though – he’s been mighty impressive when racing from the front, BUT when he’s had to do some chasing he hasn’t been that flash – think of Turkey and Spa as two examples. If he sorts that bit of his racing , think with Adrian Newey engineered cars, him and Red Bull will be hard to beat in the coming seasons.
119 days to the next season starting.. Can’t wait for it.