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Vettel makes history in emphatic F1 finish

Vettel makes history in emphatic F1 finish

Sebastian Vettel became the youngest ever driver to win the Formula 1 and what was even more remarkable was the style in which he did it.

The Red Bull driver, 23, did not lead the 2010 championship at any point in the season but won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to secure his maiden crown.

BBC commentator Martin Brundle said that: “It has been a classic Sebastian Vettel season — full of unbelievable speed, skill and commitment”.

Vettel arrived at the Yas Marina Circuit 15 points behind the then-leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and seven adrift of team-mate Mark Webber. With 25 points for a win, the German therefore needed to take the chequered flag in first place and hope Alonso finished no higher than fifth.

After coming under pressure from McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton at Turn One on the opening lap, Vettel produced a sublime performance to convert his pole position, while Alonso finished seventh and Webber eighth.

"The only thing I could do was to try and win the race," said a beaming Vettel. "I’m speechless. The start was crucial, and it was very tight with Lewis, but after that it settled down.

"Coming back into the garage and seeing the guys and their faces, it was incredible. I said on the radio ‘I love you’ and I think I sounded like a little baby or girl. I had tears running down my face because I didn’t know until I crossed the line.

"I thought something very special was going to happen because my race engineer Rocky [Guillaume Rocquelin] was very nervous and excited when he was giving me instructions in the last 10 laps.

"When I crossed the line he was very calm and I thought ‘it’s not enough’ But then he said ‘it’s looking good but we need to wait until the cars finish’. Then my heart stopped. I was about to ask where Alonso was in the race but I couldn’t.

"I just was so shocked that Rocky said it was looking good. I waited and said ‘take your time’ but then he came on the radio and said ‘world champion’. Unbelievable."

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the first time a world championship showdown has featured four contenders. That, and the quality of the title fight throughout the season, has begged the question of whether 2010 was the best season in F1 history.

There were certainly many elements of fascination. The dynamics of the three contending teams were each very distinct and that in itself lent the title battle an intriguing, multi-element feel.

29 November 2010

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