Talk Radio Europe's "The Sports Bar". F1 2010 Season Review
In the first of a regular series of columns, Talk Radio Europe's Sport Presenter Dominic Aldworth looks back at the exciting 2010 Formula One Season
The most anticipated Formula 1 season in years began in the Middle East and finished in the Middle East with German Sebastian Vettel fulfilling his potential by becoming the youngest Formula 1 champion in history, and going one better than his first season with Red Bull in 2009 were he finished runner up to Jenson Button. It was all decided in the last race of the season at the state-of-the-art Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, were four contenders - Alonso, Webber, Hamilton and Vettel - all had a chance of winning the title with Alonso the favorite, however it was the young German that drove the race of his life from pole position to win, and in the process securing his first championship ahead of Fernando Alonso and team mate Mark Webber.
The season began with two time champion Fernando Alonso behind the wheel of a Ferrari for the first time in Bahrain, much was expected, and he never disappointed with his first win of the season and a second place finish for team mate Massa. It looked like this could be Ferrari's year. Reigning world champion Jenson Button’s debut season with McLaren saw him finish in seventh, not the impression he was looking to make on his new team. Former world champion Lewis Hamilton reminded everyone that he was going to be up there again this year with a podium finish although it was clear to see he was off the pace. The talk at the start of the race was about the comeback of the seven times champion Michael Schumacher at the age of 41 with the Mercedes GP team, and old compatriot Ross Brawn,( from his Ferrari days) as his team principal. It was clear to see that 2010 was not going to be a happy year for Schumacher and that perhaps retirement was better suited to him at this stage of his life.
Four different winners in the first five races suggested that this was going to be tough to call, and the Red Bull team of Webber and Vettel were going to be the team to beat. Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal made it clear that his two drivers were there to race and this was shown in Turkey in controversial fashion when Vettel tried to overtake Webber to lead the race only to force himself into his second retirement of the season and Webber into third place behind the McLarens. On the other hand it was Ferrari that was showing favour in delivering the championship to Alonso ahead of Massa as he was ordered to move aside and let Alonso pass him in Germany while leading the race. It was a superficial show of unity displayed on the podium by the Ferrari team and the punishment dished out never fitted the crime. This was an infringement of the team order laws and Ferrari should have lost the podium points as well as been fined. As a result of this team orders will now be allowed for the coming season. This farcical decision has simply legalized a situation that has always existed amongst the teams.
Lewis Hamilton was going well, however three retirements in four races effectively ended his challenge, while Alonso’s season really began with nine races to go where he recorded four of his five wins only to see him fall four points shy of Vettel.
The penultimate race in Brazil saw Redbull secure their first constructors title in style with a top two finish on the podium, Vettel stealing the spoils from Webber, a stunning result for a team that thoroughly deserved to win and will almost certainly be the benchmark for the 2011 season. The world championship was delivered the following week by Vettel , and hence ended a riveting season. Formula 1 fans will look forward to the start of the new season which begins in March and sees an additional race in India added to the calendar. All the top teams have decided on consistency by keeping the same drivers, which is sure to provoke an even closer championship season in 2011. Roll on March!
Catch Dominic on The Friday Night Sports Bar, every Friday at 7pm on Talk Radio Europe
By: Dominic Aldworth
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