I must admit (and I’m not just saying this as an Alonso fan), I would really have liked it if the Brazilian Grand Prix concluded the 2010 season.
I make no secret of the fact that I dislike the new "flashy circuits," but when you consider the great show we were treated to today, you’d surely agree with me that such a historic venue should have the honour of closing out a fantastic show. Alas, as in everything else…money conquers all.
That's all rather gloomy, but personal grievances aside, the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix was once again one of the best races in a tight season, in which the Drivers’ title has yet to be decided.
Despite his phenomenal performance yesterday, Nico Hulkenberg was powerless off the line. The Williams driver did his best into turn one, but Sebastian Vettel simply had a better start.
Just two corners later, Hulkenberg found himself behind Webber and under intense pressure from Hamilton and Alonso.
The first few laps were a real treat with wheel-to-wheel action, half overtakes, full overtakes and clean, professional driving all around.
Here were the positions after two laps:
Vettel, Webber, Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Alonso, Kubica, Barrichello, Massa, Button, Schumacher, Rosberg, Heidfeld, Alguersuari, Buemi, Kobayashi, Liuzzi, Kovalainen, Glock, Sutil, Petrov, Trulli, di Grassi, Senna, Klien.
Fernando Alonso had been all over Lewis Hamilton for the first few laps, but the McLaren driver held well. But on the third lap, Hamilton crucially went wide into turn four, leaving a Ferrari-sized gap for Alonso to squeeze through.
Meanwhile, Jenson Button was overtaken by a resurgent Michael Schumacher into turn one.
At the front, the Red Bulls were pulling away, but the race maintained an electrifying pace as Alonso and Hulkenberg fought it out for P3.
The Williams rookie driver held off the two-time world champion with some excellent defensive driving, but by the seventh lap, the Ferrari had put enough pressure on to make a beautiful pass stick into turn four.
So Hulkenberg was going backwards, but he was doing it in style. Next up was Lewis Hamilton, who had been complaining of a lack of grip. The battle between Williams and McLaren continued for many more laps.
Jenson Button had done a great job to battle his way up to P10, but an early stop on lap 12 left many observers slightly puzzled. Felipe Massa pitted one lap after Button (lap 13), but found himself far closer to the current world champion than he would have wanted!
Button easily slotted past Massa, and that early stop started to make sense as the McLaren lapped well on harder tyres.
Massa’s luck went from bad to worse when he was forced back into the pits as a result of a faulty wheel nut. In fact, it was bad news all around for Brazilian drivers, as Barrichello was held up by a poor stop.
Hulkenberg pitted on lap 15, finally releasing Lewis Hamilton. All of McLaren’s attention was focused on Button, who had passed Petrov on the track and Schumacher, whilst the Mercedes man was in the pits!
Hamilton pitted on lap 21, hoping that his new tyres would give him more grip. The front three cars all stopped around this time, too, but no positions were changed.
On lap 28, the action was still intense enough to keep us entertained, and the positions were as follows:
Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Hamilton, Kobayashi, Button, Rosberg, Sutil, Schumacher, Hulkenberg, Kubica, Heidfeld, Alguersuari, Barrichello, Buemi, Liuzzi, Massa, Petrov, di Grassi, Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock, Senna, Klien.
The race cooled significantly after the stops. Webber moved ever closer to Vettel, and poor old Barrichello suffered a puncture after contact with Alguersuari. Other than that, not much action to speak of.
Hamilton continued to complain to his team (this time about his ‘F duct’), and little squabbles in the midfield kept the race alive.
The safety car was deployed on lap 51 after a Liuzzi crash, but nothing really changed after the re-start.
Red Bull’s one-two finish may have clinched the Constructors’ Title, but in preventing Alonso from getting a victory, the result also leaves the Drivers’ Title unresolved.
As I said above, I am personally disappointed that Abu Dhabi will host the finale, but I do concede that it is great for F1 to have the season go down to the final race.
We’ve only got one week to wait for the thrilling conclusion to what has been, on the whole, a pretty great season. Well done, Red Bull, for a deserved Title.
Let’s hope Abu Dhabi proves me wrong!
Drivers’ Championship Top Four (the contenders)
Constructors’ Championship Top Three
Red Bull Racing: 469 *2010 World Champions
1 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault
2 Mark Webber RBR-Renault
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes
8 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth
9 Robert Kubica Renault
10 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari
11 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
12 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
13 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
14 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
15 Felipe Massa Ferrari
16 Vitaly Petrov Renault
17 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber-Ferrari
18 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth
21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth
22 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth
Ret Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth
Ret Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes