From third to champion: Vettel matches Farina and Raikkonen

Abu Dhabi GP stats and facts

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010

As well as becoming the youngest ever world champion there are a few other remarkable points about Sebastian Vettel’s championship victory.

First of all, he had never led the championship at any point in his career until he won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He was level with Mark Webber on points after Monaco, but Webber’s greater number of wins meant he was ahead.

He is only the third driver in the history of the world championship to win the title having gone into the final round in third place in the standings. The other two were Giuseppe Farina in 1950 and Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.

The season ended with the top four drivers covered by just 16 points. That’s the closest it had been since the Canadian Grand Prix, following which Hamilton, Button, Webber and Alonso were covered by 15 points, with Vettel a further four behind.

At no point during the season did the driver who was leading the world championship win a race. That last driver to do so was Jenson Button at Istanbul last year.

Vettel succeeds Button as the 32nd world champion. For more on his accomplishment as world champion see here:

He is the fifth different driver in as many years to win the world championship. The last comparable streak was from 1976 to 1982 when there was a different world champion for seven consecutive seasons: James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Mario Andretti, Jody Scheckter, Alan Jones, Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg.

Vettel began the weekend with his tenth pole position of the year and the 15th of his career. He has now set as many pole positions as Felipe Massa, but in 62 starts to Massa’s 133.

This was his tenth career victory, giving him as many wins as James Hunt, Ronnie Peterson, Jody Scheckter and Gerhard Berger.

Lewis Hamilton beat him to fastest lap, setting the eighth of his career, giving him as many as James Hunt, Gilles Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher.

McLaren scored points in every race in 2010.

There will be more on the records that were broken this year in the 2010 F1 season review. You can find more statistics from this season here:

And you can compare how every driver performed compared to their team mate throughout 2010 here:

Spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    77 comments on “From third to champion: Vettel matches Farina and Raikkonen”

    1. At both Abu dhabi GPs Vettel won, Button was third, Hamilton lost a chance to win after the first pit stop, no Ferrari finished in top 6, and Alguersuari was slowing down on the long straight.

      1. McLarenFanJamm
        15th November 2010, 13:59

        actually Hamiltons pit stop wasn’t the reason for missing out on victory in 09, it was a rear brake failure that cost him.

        1. I didn’t say it was the pit stop that caused it:

          Hamilton lost a chance to win after the first pit stop

          which is true.

    2. third year in a row that the reigning champion won only 2 races the entire season. raikkonen won twice in ’08, hamilton twice in ’09, button twice this year.

      1. Thats an interesting one.

      2. Nice one there, yeang.

        1. That’s a great stat!

      3. I know it’s just coincidence, but stats like this are why I love the Stats and Facts articles! Nice one yeang :-)

      4. Button won 7 on ’09

        1. He won 6 in 2009, and wasn’t the reigning champion.

      5. In fact –

        Out of the three champions, Button won the 2nd and 4th race on the calendar. Kimi also won only the 2nd and 4th race on the 2008 calendar.

        Only Hamilton bucked that trend.

    3. Good Catch!
      (Comment is too short)

    4. 5 champions in 5 years? Impressive, hopefully this era is remembered as fondly as the period between 1976 and 1983, because the competitiveness has been great. I wonder if when looking back on the current top drivers they will be classed as greats like James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Mario Andretti, Jody Scheckter, Alan Jones, Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg!

      1. Hey if we get Mark Webber as WDC next year and Massa as WDC the year after if would match that run.

        1. Or any of Rosberg, Schumacher or Kubica would do it as well.

          1. Rosberg will be champion next year.

        2. I’d be pleased as punch if Massa, Kubica or Rosberg could win it the next few years! I’d take a Webber win too, and I’d root for a Schumacher comeback championship. Would love to see him perform in 2011 like he did in say the late 90’s, that was Michael at his best if you ask me.

    5. Was there ever another podium with 3 consecutive world champions? (in any case was a great sight!)

      1. i believe the last podium with three consecutive champions occurred at monza in 2007 – alonso (06), raikkonen (07) and hamilton (08) finished 1st, 3rd and 2nd respectively.

        however at that point of time raikkonen and hamilton hadn’t won their titles yet…

      2. Just look back few month. The 2010 Canadian Grand Prix. Alonso, Button and Hamilton on the podium.

        1. Errr…. Raikkonen came after Alonso. ;)

          1. Oh consecutive world champs!! I thought just world champs.

      3. Australian 1988 had
        1. Prost (World Champion 86)
        2. Piquet( World Champion (87)
        3. Senna (World Champion 88)

        Italy 1967:
        1. Surtees (64)
        2. Brabham (66)
        3. Clark (65)

        Mexico 1967
        1. Clark (65)
        2. Brabham (66)
        3. Hulme (67)

        South Africa 1965
        1. Clark (63)
        2. John Surtees (64)
        3. Graham Hill (62)
        (we also had Clark, Hill, Surtees at the British GP that same year)

        There may be other ones…

        1. I just found two more:

          1953 British GP
          1.Ascari (’52)
          2.Fangio (’51)
          3.Farina (’50)

          1991 USA GP
          1.Senna (’88)
          2.Prost (’86)
          3.Piquet (’87)

    6. This year ended the run of Australia winners taking the title we had for the last couple of seasons.
      And the winner of the first GP also did not win it this year, although Vettel might have won that if not for his reliability issue there.

    7. for conspiracy lovers, did Redbull pit Webber early on purpose to trap him at the back behind traffic to let Vettel run away with it?! They wanted Vettel to win it, I think they did it on purpose! Let the debate commence…
      17 hour ago via Mobile Web

      1. Is that just a re-posting of someone’s Twitter comment?

        Webber was slow on the super-softs, that’s why they pitted him:

      2. Why did they not pit Webber under the safety car?

        Gambling on a pitstop was the obvious choice… it was his best shot at the WDC.

        1. In hindsight that’s true. On lap 1 when the SC came out though they had no way of knowing the tires would go off so quickly and probably thought he had a better shot with a standard pit stop strategy. Just like Ferrari probably realized about halfway through the race that their strategy had failed massively as well.

    8. Mark Webber has now started 71 Grand Prix for Red Bull Racing, tying David Coulthard for most with the team.

      Sebastian Buemi has now started 36 Grand Prix for Toro Rosso passing Vitantonio Liuzzi for most with the team.

      First time since 2005 the winner of the first GP didn’t win the title

      All champion podium for the second time this year (Canada: Lewis, Jensen, Fernando). The last all champion podium before this year was the 1991 US GP with Senna, Prost, and Piquet

      1. Wow, now that is a stat that really says something. The last all champion podium before this year was really in 91? I’m surprised it wasn’t atleast in the late 90’s with Hill, Schumacher, Hakkinen, and the like still around.

        It sure says something about the talent level in F1 today. And to think this is without Kimi, without Schumacher and Rosberg in a car capable of winning, and a 4th of the teams being backmarkers. I think next year could be even better! Speed on 2011!!!!!

    9. I think Vettel really deserves the title and Alonso was just to plain stupid, that he couldn’t keep his 3rd or fourth place.

      1. Totally agree with you. Vettel was definitely the best driver in the race and he so deserved to win.
        Congratulations Sebastian!!

    10. It’s the Renault engine’s 9th drivers’ championship.

      Third year in a row the driver of a team based in Britain has won the championship. First Austrian team to produce a champion.

      Germany’s eighth world championship in 17 years – on average one very 2 years.

      2nd time in 4 years that the world champion did not go into the deciding race leading the standings. The last time before that (2007) was 1997 with Jacques Villeneuve.

      1. Team based in Britain

        Doesn’t that include everyone except Ferrari? Even the new teams are based in Britain, right?

        1. Ferrari, Toro Rosso (Minardi), Sauber, and HRT arent based in Britain.

      2. Mika Hakkinen also in 1999.

      3. Second ever German to win the title.

      4. Isn’t this the third championship for Newey with Renault?
        1996 and 1997 – Williams Renault

        1. I think Newey designed the 1992 and 1993 Williams Renaults. Which took Mansell and Prost to the titles.

    11. Did Abu Dhabi really count as an all-champion podium? I mean, technically Vettel wasn’t champion yet, right?

      1. Technically he was leading the World Championship after the last GP of the season. What more does it take ?

      2. What do you call Vettel? I call him the 2010 F1 World Champion.

        1. Once of course, all the contenders crossed the line, which was before the podium ceremony.

          1. There was still time for the results to have changed. Say for example, if Vettel’s car didn’t pass the post-race inspections and he was DQed.

            1. McLarenFanJamm
              15th November 2010, 14:05

              but the result hasn’t changed, so it is still an all champion podium…

      3. Technically, you’re correct. Vettel isn’t champion until the WDC trophy is presented to him I think (there is still the opportunity to change results, if we find another Singapore 2008 in time!)

        So Button is still technically the WDC. Keith?

        1. you’re correct, Vettel isn’t WDC yet. Keith quite rightly has complained about this before – Why aren’t they WDC after the final race? Why do we wait for the awards when no one is watching?

    12. He might have lost the Championship but at least Alonso can get a bit of confort knowing this is the first year he has beaten Hamilton. Took him 4 years!.

      1. Ha ha, thats a nice one!!

      2. lol or you could say Hamilton is yet to score more points that Alonso in a year when Alonso’s had a competitive car.

        1. But yet beat him in the same car. Perhaps this year’s McLaren isn’t as good, eh ;)?

    13. Alonso failed to match Raikkonen and Fangio’s Record of Winning the title in the debut ant year in Ferrari…
      And also maximum wins in the 1st year…

    14. Alonso failed to match Raikkonen and Fangio’s Record of Winning the title in the debut ant year in Ferrari…
      And also Failed for maximum wins in the 1st year…

    15. in hte old points system,what were the points standings of the top four going into abu dhabi?

      1. Ok, here are the standings before Abu Dhabi in old points system:

        Vettel – 94 + 10 (Abu Dhabi)
        Alonso – 99 + 2 (Abu Dhabi)
        Webber – 96 + 1 (Abu Dhabi)
        Hamilton – 92 + 8 (Abu Dhabi)

        The maths before the race would have changed quite a bit though. Hamilton would have been better placed by being only 7 points off the leader.

        Incredibly, had Vettel won and Alonso finished 4th, both would have ended on 104 points. Going by the countback of the results, both would have 5 wins, 2 2nd places, 3 third places, 3 4th places, 0 5th places, 1 6th place,

        and the 2010 Drivers’ title would have been decided by Vettel’s 1 7th place finish at the British Grand Prix.

        So Alonso’s job would have been tougher with last year’s system. He would need a 3rd place to win the WDC if Vettel won the race.

        1. Wow, great job calculating all this.

        2. and Hamilton’s would have been easier, it would be enough with a race win ahead of Vettel maybe?

        3. nice one. so after abu dhabi it would have been
          VET 104
          ALO 101
          HAM 100
          WEB 97

          i think many don’t realise how close this champ was until seeing the old points!

    16. Other World Champions to have led the championship only once are John Surtees and James Hunt.

      Have there been any other champions who were behind their team-mate in the standings going into the last race of the season?

      Also, Vettel is unbeaten at Abu Dhabi (as well as being unbeaten at Suzuka) – how many other drivers are unbeaten at a circuit (excluding circuits which only hosted 1 GP)? Schumacher at Aida is one that springs to mind.

      1. At Suzuka Vettel is unbeaten with Red Bull, whilst he has won all of the Abu Dhabi GPs.

        1. You sure, i think he is unbeaten at Suzuka, in 2008 he came 6th in a Toro Rosso at Japan, but that was at Fuji.

      2. Vettel’s undefeated at Suzuka and Abu Dhabi. The only other I can think of would be Alonso at Korea. I think that’s it.

    17. This will (hopefully) mark the last race where people for some reason ask “what is the points situation in the old points system”.

      1. why not? it’s very interesting. we are able to see whether a different champion would have emerged.

    18. Oh, also, congratulations to Vettel. He wsan’t top of my list of people I would have liked to have won it, but he has been absolutely magnificent these past 6 races and seems to have been the only one of the 5 contenders to have stepped up their game towards the end instead of going all accountant-like with the points.

      1. alonso also stepped up his game in the 2nd half of the season

    19. You did not mention that we had five different champions from five different teams in the last 5 years.

      2006 Alonso – Renault
      2007 Raikkonen – Ferrari
      2008 Hamilton – McLaren
      2009 Button – Brawn
      2010 Vettel – Red Bull

      1. Which means 2 years in a row now of no McLaren or Ferrari championships, drivers or constructors.

        1. Ferrari and McLaren only won 2 driver titles in the last six years. And that’s after 7 in a row.

    20. If the 1991-2002 points system was used,the standings before Abu Dhabi would have been:
      ALONSO 81 (5 WINS)
      WEBBER 76 (4 WINS)
      VETTEL 74 (4 WINS)
      HAMILTON 70 (3 WINS)

      After Abu Dhabi it would have been:
      VETTEL 84 (5 WINS)
      ALONSO 81 (5 WINS)
      WEBBER 76 (4 WINS)
      HAMILTON 76 (3 WINS)

    21. I could be wrong on this count, but for the 2nd year running the reigning WDC has won 2 races. The NEW WDC has lead his teammate in 3 1-2s, and he has been lead by his teammate in 1 1-2.

    22. Does Vettel hold the record for shortest length of time between 2 wins? The last 2 races occurred in consecutive weekends, with Abu Dhabi being a lot further east than Brazil, so there was only 165 hours (approximately) between the races.

      1. Hamilton won Canada and USA in 2007 on consecutive weekends.

      2. sato113
        6 hours time difference between brazil (- 2 GMT) to Abu Dhabi (+4 GMT)

        less than 6 hours time difference between Canada/Montreal and USA/Indy.

        paul, not sure if Brazil-AbuDhabi was the shortest lenght of time between 2 GP’s.

    23. Sakon Yamamoto has competed in exactly 7 races in each year that he has competed in F1 (2006, 2007, 2010).

    24. Both Red Bull drivers as well as the team went one better in the standings

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