In the last race of 2007, 3 drivers were gunning for the championship. Lewis Hamilton with 107 points, Fernando Alonso with 103 points and the outsider Kimi Raikkonen with 100 points. During that season, some McLaren personnel had gotten hold of Ferraris intellectual property. Several hundred pages of inside information on their cars and also pit stop strategies.
Alonso was one of those persons who did everything he could to use this stolen Ferrari IP to his advantage. He had numerous text messages and mails going between him and Pedro de la Rosa and a couple of the engineers. Mostly about they should test Ferraris braking system. Experiment with their weight distribution and so on. This is quoted word by word in the transcripts from the hearings of that year.
Luckily, fate would have it that justice was served on that October day in Brazil. Kimi won the race and left his competition behind as Alonso did not have the pace and Hamilton was struck by a technical problem which was rare for the McLaren. So Kimi emerged as the world champion in his first year at Ferrari and the world rejoiced with him.
Fast forward to 2010. Its July and we are racing in Germany. Massa is leading the race and on his way to victory on the exact 1 year date of his horrible life threatening accident in Hungary. But Ferrari wants to bet on their Santander paid golden calf. And orders Massa to let Alonso pass him. Massa is understandably not happy about this but moves over and Alonso takes the win to the outrage of Formula 1 fans across the world. Team orders are forbidden and this was a team order. Perhaps its a silly rule, but rules are rules. As Schumacher learned when he passed Alonso on the last lap in Monaco after the SC had gone in.
Abu Dhabi 2010 – The Red Bull drivers have made their mistakes and had their technical DNFs. But they have been allowed to race fairly all along. Is it the smartest thing? Maybe not. Is it commendable? Absolutely. And good for the fans. But Alonso is leading Webber with 8 points and Vettel with 15 points. For Vettel to win the WDC, he has to win the race and Alonso can finish no higher than 5th.. But Alonso has been on the podium 7 times of the last 8 races, so chances are slim for Vettel to say the least.
We expected a Red Bull to be on pole. And Sebastian Vettel delivered as was expected. The surprise was McLaren being incredibly strong here. Their new rear wing seemed to finally have gotten hooked up properly. That is something they will be sure to bring with them into 2011. Hamilton got really close to getting pole position actually. 3/100 of a second. I believe those splits of a second were very crucial indeed.
An even bigger surprise was seeing Mark Webber qualify 5th. The one qualifying where he really needed to do well, he disappoints massively! Over half a second slower than his teammate. That is not good enough if you aspire to be champion. So he even had Button and more importantly – Alonso ahead of him. Getting past him during the race was a necessity.
Lights out and the final race of the season is on! Hamilton gets close to passing Vettel at turn 1 but decides to stay calm. Perhaps his recent first lap incidents are still fresh in his mind. Button gets a cracking start as well from 4th and actually passes Alonso. Webber stays 5th. So now – Alonso is world champion at this stage. But if Webber passes him, Vettel is champion. The excitement could be felt through the screen!
But what is this? Schumacher spins and Liuzzi seems to aim for Schumis head! No ones fault, but it looked pretty scary for a moment. I would imagine getting an F1 car lodged in your head would only be painful for a very short time. This calls out the safety car and some gamblers decide to use this opportunity to take their only pitstop. Among them are Petrov in the Renault and Rosberg in the Mercedes.
After some cleanup the SC goes in and the race resumes. No shakeup at the front but one would expect Webber in the best car to close the gap on Alonso. But he doesnt. Instead he decides to make an early pit stop. And here is where everything goes wrong for Ferrari. Anxious to stay ahead of Webber they pull Alonso in just a few laps later. And yes, he stays ahead of Webber but Ferrari seem to have completely forgotten about Petrov and Rosberg who have already made their pitstops. Alonso gets out just behind Petrov and Rosberg is still up ahead. Should be an easy match for the double champion, right? Wrong. Petrov is driving great and has no intention of paying any respect to the Spaniard.
Now we have the leader of the championship down in 11th while Vettel is up at the front where he has to be to win. Alonso has to pass both Petrov and Rosberg to get into 4th after the rest of the cars pit to win the WDC. It looks like no one is telling Petrov that Alonso is faster than him because he has no problems keeping the Ferrari behind him. He makes a half-hearted attempt at a pass but is no where near making it as Petrov had the racing line and Alonso has to cut across the track. No go.
Up at the front Hamilton pits on lap 23. Vettel goes into overdrive, clocks a fast one and pits the very next lap. The Red Bull team gets in a flawless pitstop and he emerges way ahead of Lewis who is now stuck behind Kubica who has no intention of pitting right away. Lewis is perplexed and asks his team how that was possible.
One by one the cars get their obligatory pitstops for fresh tires and there are still no passing attempts made by neither Hamilton or Alonso who are both stuck behind those bumble-bee Renaults. Button pits late but gets out behind Hamilton and Kubica. Kubica has had a rather good pace even when fighting with Hamilton. And when he finally pits on lap 46, even he makes it out in front of Alonso. So from needing a 4th place, Alonso is way down in 7th. The Red Bull team cant believe it, but does not give any info on this to Vettel during the race.
When Vettel crosses the line to win the Abu Dhabi GP, the team finally tells him the results. Vettel starts to cry over the team radio while thanking his team. Its a very emotional moment as I watch this amazing event unfold before my eyes. Red Bull were the moral winners. And now they are even the actual winners. Seb had his ups and downs this season but an amazing late season charge brought him the championship in the most deserving manner. Fantastic. The justice served here is palpable, one can almost touch it. And the victory scenes on the podium and among the team members of Red Bull are heart warming to see. Adrian Newey – you are a genius.
In the cool down lap after the race we get to see another nugget from Fernando Alonsos true nature:
He actually shakes his fist at Petrov. Unbelievable. The man has no boundaries. He may be a good driver, but he has a despicable character. The word is that he told the press after the race that Petrov defended well and so on. This is so typical of him. Damage control. Say the right thing to the press while being someone completely different. There is no honor in that. Shame on you Alonso. Shame on you! You did not deserve to win this year. Not one bit.
SORENS RACE RATING
10 out of 10. It was poetic, it was beautiful, it was perfect, it was justice. Only Brazil 2007 beats this for me. A classic conclusion to an amazing season. I am glad I was wrong in my rhyming in the Korean GP review 😉
DRIVER OF THE DAY
Sebastian Vettel. What a drive and what a likeable fellow. Funny, charming and fast. Enjoy it Sebastian. Now you know how Kimi felt in 2007. Stellar drive. Calm and collected. A worthy champion.
DOUCHE OF THE DAY
Ferrari and Fernando. Honeymoon is over guys. Strategy blunder and poor driving by Fernando. Fate swung around and bit you in the ass. And I cant say anything else than I am enjoying every second of it. Hahaha! Nice going Dom and Monty. Zing! They must be heartbroken. Sometimes life is just sweet 😉
I will once again congratulate Sebastian Vettel with being world champion. He is now the youngest world champion ever in F1. What a season this was. What a conclusion. You just couldnt make this stuff up. I am sure Ferrari will be a contender for the title next year. But from their behaviour this year, I hope that both McLaren and Red Bull will be there to complicate things for them. Possibly even Mercedes too.
I just want to thank Ferrari for paying Kimi 16 million euros this year to pay for his rallying fun so they could have Alonso. I hope it was worth it. Lol. Oh dearie me. Gloating IS fun. If you will excuse me, Im off to buy 2 cases of Red Bull. Cheers!
Soren says: Alonso you have lost the championship, team orders didn’t help! Can you confirm you understand this message?
(Okay. Actually Saif Sultan came up with that one :D)