Well, the grieving process is finally over and I can now post this. (Ok, so that’s not really the deal, but it sounds better than “I was lazy”.) The final race in Abu Dhabi has come and gone and other than a huuuuuge mistake by both the Ferrari team and Mark Webber for Red Bull, the race was fairly uneventful and the Driver’s title now rests in the hands of the youngest World Champion ever, Sebastian Vettel.
With Vettel on pole and Alonso only needing to finish fourth or higher (fourth with a Vettel win to secure his third title), Alonso’s third place grid spot looked fairly decent. All he needed to do was tool around the track, not get into any trouble and keep good pace to the rest of the field. Not that hard right? Wrong. The Ferrari team seemed to be clued into Webber as their nearest rival, and balked when he came into the pits to change tires much sooner than the rest of the field. But this had the effect of him coming out of the pits out of the points and needing to fight his way to a title. With Abu Dhabi being a Tilke track, this would be impossible, as there are only one or two places to actually try a pass on the entire circuit. So Alonso languished around in the middle of the pack, while Vettel charged to an easy victory and his first World Title.
Webber, on the other hand, sidelined his chances at a title when he qualified fifth and couldn’t make any headway on the rest of the field. His tires were not up to snuff and he came in very early to change them, hoping to crawl back through the field when the other cars stopped. But that wasn’t to be, as the other cars stayed out on extended first stints, causing his race to be over after the first 20 laps or so.
So now we have a new World Champion on our hands. Sebastian Vettel, who had never even been at the top of the points standings until the final race (which I find amazing, but is really the only time you need to be there) and he should be a good champion. Everyone has always touted him as being the next Schumacher, but he is his own racer and has always been fast. His ascension to the top step of the standings seemed to be only a matter of time, and that time is now.
Here are the final standings from Abu Dhabi:
1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Lewis Hamilton
3. Jenson Button
4. Nico Rosberg
5. Robert Kubica
6. Vitaly Petrov
7. Fernando Alonso
8. Mark Webber
9. Jaime Alguersuari
10. Felipe Massa
Now we all have to wait over the interminable winter months before the engines fire up for testing in the spring. I’ll still have periodic updates as to some of the bigger stories, but for now, this year is over.