Tears at a Checkered Flag: Sebastian Vettel and a Moment To Remember

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Tears at a Checkered Flag: Sebastian Vettel and a Moment To Remember

"Oh, thank you boys! Unbelievable! Thank you! I love you!"

Webber dominates. Vettel sticks around. Alonso takes over. It seems like Alonso is the favorite. What happened to Webber and Vettel?

Brazil arrives. Vettel owns it. Alonso still title favorite, though.

Will Webber or Vettel be able to pull off the epic come-from-behind win? They're fast, but doesn't look good. All Alonso needs is a fourth place finish in the final race to take the crown.

Abu Dhabi qualifying shows its teeth. Vettel secures pole. What in the world will this final battle look like? Will Alonso storm to an assumed victory or will Webber or Vettel steal it at the last second? Or will Hamilton shock everyone and turn the whole thing on its head?

Race day arrives. Abu Dhabi looks perfect. It looks magical, almost as if a storm of angels came down and meticulously painted the track with immense precision and color the morning of. It looks beautiful, almost too beautiful. It almost doesn't fit the fierce battle that is about to take place on it. Yet it does, because this sport we call F1 is beautiful, driven by passion and blood and tears, and we will settle for nothing less. 

So much on the line. Four of the world's best drivers shooting for victory, while the rest of the pack, with nothing to lose, puts it all on the line to prove themselves worthy of a future seat in F1. Abu Dhabi proves frustrating for some, victorious and dreamlike for others.

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Sebastian Vettel crosses the finish line first. Sebastian Vettel! Not Fernando Alonso. Wait, was Alonso second? Third? He must have been fourth. No? Seventh? Huh?

It was a day to remember for one and a day to forget for others. But in the end, there was one moment that will be hard for any of us to forget for a long time, maybe ever:

A wild part of Vettel's win was that he didn't even know it at first. Not until he was told over his earpiece did he know he was world champion. And then the moment that was untouchable, the moment I for sure will never forget. The moment when all we could hear were words through tears. As Sebastian Vettel pumped his fist in his usual fashion, we heard him attempting to say something through tears of joy:

"Oh, thank you boys! Unbelievable! Thank you! I love you!"

I will never forget it. A professional at his craft crying all alone in the machine that delivered him to the top, thanking the men who helped him get there.

Formula One will always be a battleground where different personalities and talents come to clash, but one thing will always stand firm: one man's passion, fueled by the loyalty and hard work of his crew, culminating in a machine with genius engineering and flat-out ridiculous speed, is truly something of pure beauty.

In the end, no words could have capped off this year better than those of Sebastian Vettel:

"Oh, thank you boys! Unbelievable! Thank you! I love you!"

F1 2011 season, please come quickly...

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