The four best moments of a thrilling 2010

2010 F1 season review

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What was the high-point of the 2010 F1 season? These are the best moments of the year as chosen by F1 Fanatic readers.

Button defies the doubters

Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2010

Few people rated Jenson Button’s chances against new team mate Lewis Hamilton in 2010.

But he confounded the doubters by winning twice in the first four races to lead the championship:

Australian Grand Prix. To be honest either of Jenson’s victories, as he was 2-0 on Hamilton despite everything that had been said against him.

At the end of last year there were so many threads on forums all over the F1 community describing Button as one of the least deserving champions ever, that he only won because he had a dominant car etc…

Then Australia 2010 happened. Changeable conditions, an inspired tyre change and a bit of luck allowed Button to win his first race for McLaren against his highly rated team mate, Lewis Hamilton. A fantastic race, with a fantastic result.

I may not like that man much, but it was indeed an amazing win.

Whitmarsh celebrating with Button at the Australian Grand Prix. I don’t know who looked happier, or more vindicated.

Button winning for McLaren in Australia was a brilliant spectacle as well. It almost felt like he was still riding the wave of euphoria from 2009.
Dan Thorn

Drama in Istanbul

Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Red Bull, Istanbul, 2010

The Turkish Grand Prix served up two of the most dramatic moments of the year.

First we witnessed the extraordinary scenes as the two Red Bull drivers collided while running first and second, letting Hamilton through to lead.

Then the two McLaren drivers then began disputing the lead, with Button passing and then being re-passed by his team mate:

The best moment had to be the Red Bulls running into each other in Turkey. That was the most ‘Oh-my-God-did-that-just-really-happen’ moment of the year for me, because you sensed that would end up going down as a crucial moment in the history of that team, that season and F1 lore in general.
Magnificent Geoffrey

The infamous Red Bull crash, Vettel signalling that Webber was crazy, Hamilton zooming by to take the win!

Button versus Hamilton in Turkey – a skilful battle made more exciting by the threat of what had happened minutes earlier with the Red Bulls.

A real turning point in the season for Red Bull’s troubles, the great dicing for the lead from McLaren and Lewis first win.

Hamilton and Button jousting in Turkey.

What a race! One of the best dry races in years in my opinion. People remember it for that extraordinary collision between the two Red Bull drivers, but Hamilton and Button wheel-banging just a few laps later was no less thrilling.
Ned Flanders

Kamui Kobayashi’s overtaking moves

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Suzuka, 2010

Usually the driver you could rely on to go against the grain on tyre choices and make some daring passes late in the race on fresh rubber.

Kobayashi was in particularly inspired form at home, launching past rivals at the hairpin from huge distances:

Kamui Kobayashi’s Japanese Grand Prix heroics. The organisers should rename that Turn 11 hairpin ‘Kobayashi Corner’, so incredible were his numerous passes up the inside there.
Ned Flanders

Kobayashi being Kobayashi.

Nico Hulkenberg’s pole position

Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, Interlagos, 2010

The great feel-good moment of the year?

A rookie driver taking a shock pole position for a team that haven’t been at the front of a grid in 100 races is pretty special.

But for Nico Hulkenberg to do it in the middle of the championship title fight made it even more special:

H???lkenburg’s pole. Absolutely unbelievable to see that unfold.

Perhaps THE moment of the season. One of those days of F1 I will never forget.
Ned Flanders

I’ll go with the flow here and say Hulk’s pole, not by a tenth or two, but by a FULL SECOND.
Juan Pablo Heidfeld

The most surprising pole of the season: the one and only Hulk! Everybody was happy for him, and excited that none of the drivers’ championship contenders were on pole!

Best moment without a doubt has to be Hulkenberg’s pole at Interlagos over a second faster than Vettel! I don’t think anyone saw that coming, least of all Hulkenberg.

Hulkenberg’s pole lap in Interlagos, just incredible.

Hulkenberg on pole at Interlagos. I love those moments in F1, because regardless of which teams and drivers we support, we all love to see an underdog triumph. One of the few successes that was universally popular!
Red Andy

These are just a few of the most popular moments of 2010 shared on the forum.

Among the other suggestions were Michael Schumacher’s comeback, Lewis Hamilton’s pass on Nico Rosberg at Melbourne, Mark Webber’s Monaco Grand Prix victory and Sebastian Vettel winning the world championship.

What were your favourite moments of 2010? Name them in the comments below.

And don’t forget to make your nominations for the best F1 pass of 2010.

2010 F1 season review

Browse all 2010 F1 season review articles

Images ©, Red Bull/Getty images, BMW Sauber F1 Team, Williams/LAT

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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75 comments on “The four best moments of a thrilling 2010”

  1. Craig Woollard
    30th November 2010, 9:36

    Lucas Di Grassi overtaking Schumacher in Melbourne :)

    1. That was especially funny since 3 seconds prior to that the BBC 1 team said something along to lines of “these changeable conditions is were Schumaker excels, expect good things” then he’s made to look like an amateur by Di Grassi in a Virgin.

      1. It was a real shock to see just how far out of his league der Michael was at that point.
        Bahrain might have been his first GP so a bad result might have been a blip, but when Melbourne was wet, who did not expect to see Schumi showing some of his old rain master skills?

        1. That was great, at that moment I thought that is that really SCHUMACHER?

  2. all the pit incidents I guess would be my best moment for 2010,


    especially when nico rosberg tyre run wild at sauber’s pit lane before hit one of williams pit crew and HRT radioman get whipped by yamamoto’s car during pit stop

    1. You say a run away tyre as one of the best moments? I hope you’re joking.

      1. I’d say the heroics the Williams mechanic did with the tyre in what Ted Kravitz said as “he’s made of stern stuff that lad”

        A possible nasty situation was avoided by that guy jumping in the way of a speeding tyre, I can’t praise him enough.

        1. That is true, nobody gotting seriously hurt in the different pit lane moments this year was pretty good and that catch was really one for a prize.

  3. Button winning the Australian GP as one of the best moments of the season?!? I really do not see how it silenced any critics.. it was still a lucky strategy call that won him the race, and not overtaking skill or raw pace. Personally, I did not think Button was going to win a race this season by being quickest during an entire weekend, and if he did take a win this year it would be down to luck and changeable conditions… which is exactly what happened. All season he never looked likely to take a win.. while his teammate did at many occasions. It shocks me how the 2009 champ still has his reputation intact after just a couple of lucky moments.

    1. You seem to be forgetting that part of being a great F1 driver is reading the conditions and making the right choice. Button did that wonderfully at those two races. Yes, there was luck involved, but you can’t use that as an excuse to belittle him.

      1. Since when did not having race winning pace make you a great driver?

        1. Button has won over 20% of the last 37 races. How is that not race winning pace?

          Yes, you can put that down to the car he was driving, but this is Formula 1, it’s always about the cars really.

        2. if you have a slower car (like BUT did at that stage) and beat all the faster ones, you are a great driver.

      2. Sorry mate if you think Jenson Is a great driver……………..

    2. Reacting to the conditions better and grasping a win was a really convincing feat by Button.
      Some of the best victories in F1 are won by great strategic calls, mostly done because of the circumstances (Schumacher/Brawn 3 stop stragegy)

      1. The condition he reacted to was the dire state of his tires. Same scenario as Korea, except the fates were not with him then. But, whatever the merits of this victory it does not support the proposition Keith sets out: that Button has had the pace to match Hamilton.

        The data are in, Button is about where Kovalainen was on relative pace to Hamilton; and Kovy was driving a pretty terrible car for much of his second year. I estimate this is a solid control-experiment, and soButton has actually increased my esteem of Kovalainen.

        And in any event, I find it hard to say that a victory by Button can be one of the absolute top four moments of the season. Among the moments that had my hands shaking with tension, I would put up there Alonso’s pole position in Singapore; Hamilton’s masterful Spa win in the wet; Vettel’s end of race engine failure at Korea; The Alonso-Button battle at Monza;

        1. Bingo Dave, I couldn’t agree more.

        2. Button equal to Kovalainen? You’re kidding.

          1. If this site was based in any other country other than the UK, Button’s win in Australia would NOT be up there! I was at the race – it was an awesome race – but this is a race where Lewis overtake Button in changeable conditions in the opening laps and i cant help but think this forced Button’s hand.

            Lewis’s drive that day was immense – he would have been 2nd it if weren’t for the additional pit stop.

            Simple fact is Button has been forced to gamble and play high risk strategies as he doesnt have the pace. This worked out twice in 2010 – let’s see how he does in 2011 and see what sort of comments you’ve got next year.

          2. @Dave Blanc

            The car didn’t drive itself to victory. Button put in a great performance using his own strategy while Hamilton relied too much on the pitwall and as a result found himself way down the order.

            I never actually said Button had the pace of Hamilton, but in any case, he had far better pace relative to Hamilton than Kovalainen did. And you’ve done nothing to convince me otherwise.

  4. I completely agree with all four moments. Especially that Button win in Australia, although I think China was the better race win technically.

    You could add Vettel winning the championship in tears and of course that moment Bruno Senna’s Hispania broke down in Bahrain and he lifted the visor on his helmet. Scary stuff, it could have been Aryton sitting there. It really took me back to watching F1 in the 80/90’s.

  5. ahh kobayashi is an endless source of entertainment..

    1. Did you hear what he said when asked what car he drives?

      He basically had an Audi but his dad sold it because he doesn’t see the point of cars, does he realise his son is the best Japanese racer yet?.

  6. I really enjoyed Barrichello’s pass on Schumacher once it was clear everybody escaped uninjured. The tv crew was following the battle for two or three laps at that point and it was clear Barrichello had a great exit and was going to have a clean pass on Schumacher, even with Mercedes bhp advantage. And then it happened. And we were all quite awed “Ah, Schumacher is back in F1, it finally shows!”. Complete madness from Schumacher, and balls of steel from Barrichello. Try finding two other people capable of doing either of the moves (the overtake, and the pushing on the wall) at their age !

    The feel good part was Turkey and Hulkenberg obviously.

    Happily, my fiancée was watching with me at all these moments and I believe she quite enjoyed them. And whatever makes her like F1 is good for me !

    2010 has been a great year ! My wife to be even watched the last grand prix until the end and didn’t even read her book, and it wasn’t a gripping grand prix, just goes to show!

  7. what about Kubica passes this season also they where epic

  8. Best moment of the year for me would have to be Webber’s radio message following his victory in the British Grand Prix. “Fanastic job guys, not bad for a number two driver, cheers”, showed the underdog and aussie smart **** humour thats make you feel proud to be an Australian. Such a good change to have a straight talking humourous F1 driver, a nice change from the boring robots we get used too

  9. The only one I’d disagree with is the Kobayashi one, simply since it wasn’t one moment :P

  10. this list is biased:(

    1. It has 17 different authors mate…

    2. I generally agree with Keith on most of his ratings/rankings etc. But I think that he didn’t place any importance to two moments..

      1) Barichello’s overtaking move on Schumi – An absolute classic moment from two of the most experienced ex-teammates who aren’t too fond of each other.

      2) Fernando’s win at Monza – Its the same tifosi who cheered when his engine gave way in 2006, who now supported him in 2010. He also gave them their first win here since 2006. This race also put Alonso back in the title fight.

      1. I generally agree with Keith on most of his ratings/rankings etc.

        Did you not read this:

        These are just a few of the most popular moments of 2010 shared on the forum.

    3. Oooh, that darn list. Always being biased and stuff, I tell you.

      1. Oops, posting fail. Anyhoo, while I’m here again, what exactly isn’t clear about “as chosen by F1Fanatic readers”?

        1. Indeed Maciek, people bemoaning this list should actually take part in its inception if they are that bothered.

          1. Take no notice,it is only Todfod getting his “I HATE SCHUMI” bit in again.

  11. Spot on list, really good, although I perhaps would not of had the Kobayashi one perhaps the tyres degredation in Montreal or the Monza 40 lap battle between Button and Alonso.

  12. Kubica’s string of passes in Singapore were a favourite of mine, as well as a great battle with Button in Valencia. Kobayashi’s late dives before the chequered flag in Valencia was also a highlight. (2:11)


      Had to post these separately, as my post was considered “too spammy”

      1. Oh my, Kamui’s passes are just astonishing. He’s far away, then the driver breaks and Kamui doesn’t. He shoots by and takes the position at the first try.

      2. This pass on Alonso made my day and summed up Alonso’s – a bad day at the office when he lost his head.

  13. Alonso nailing Massa on his way in to the pits in China. Any question over who ruled that team gone.

    1. Totally agree. For me that was a turning point in the Ferrari team. Up until then Alonso had kept getting stuck behind Massa and this pass said “Right, i’ve had enough of this! If you won’t move over i’m going to pass you”. If only this attitude had remained for the whole of the season!

  14. I think Vettel’s win at Abby Dabbie is the best.

  15. cant believe no one has mentioned alonsos amazing pass on massa in Germany?

    1. True, Alonso was way faster than Massa. It really seemed like Massa just “stood there” when he passed him. Massa was defenseless, such was the gap!

    2. A fantastic move, indeed, but perhaps that’ll get a mention in the upcoming Best Overtakes of 2010 article…

      1. Or in the “worst moments of 2010” article.

        1. Which is coming up tomorrow…

  16. “Fernando is faster than you” was, for the good or for the bad, one of the key moments of this season.

    Also loved Mark Webber’s “Not bad for a number two!”, another key moment of the championship.

    Kobayashi’s move on both Alonso and Buemi in Valencia in the last lap were spectacular, specially after Alonso’s comments on the radio about Mclaren’s Hamilton strategy with the safety car.

  17. You cannot forget Mark Webber flying in Valencia

    1. And in the same vein, Buemi’s epic suspension failure. It may not be the “best”, but it’s definitely one of the most memorable.

  18. Personally I think Button’s win in China was more impressive than his Australia win.

    He said in Australia he changed to slicks when he did because his current tyres were shot and had to come in, yes the safe choice would have been to put inters on but still. Also he inherited the win when Vettel retired.

    In China Button’s tyre decision was more down to skill as when everyone else came in for inters, out of the front runners it was only Button and Rosberg who decided to stay out on wets

    Some of the moments from 2010 that stick in my mind for the right reasons are

    Hamilton pushing his car after stopping on track at Canada after setting pole in qualifying.

    Webber’s “Not bad for a number two driver” message to the team after winning at Silverstone.

    Hulkenberg’s pole in Brazil.

    And the fact that overall it was a good close season with some classic races such as Canada.

  19. Abu Dhabi & Bahrain were disappointing, but everything in between was special

  20. I can’t remember what race it was, where Alonso drove the whole race with no clutch- he finished well in the points if i remember right. Quite a feat.

    1. Malaysia? And the car eventually died. It was a good performance by him though.

  21. Have to agree here. And the Canadian GP was very exciting, but no particular moment IMO.

  22. My favourite moment was Vitaly Petrov’s Abu Dhabi performance. Yeah it denied Alonso his shot at the championship, but if ever Petrov needed a good result then that was it. Not many drivers have been able to keep Fernando Alonso behind them over the years, not for that many laps and not under that kind of pressure.
    It was a display that may have saved the Russian’s career in F1, and that’s a good thing for the sport.
    As for my favourite grands prix then Australia wins hands down as always. It had everything including a great scrap between Webber, Hamilton, and Alonso with that memorable moment with Lewis and Mark spinning off behind the Spaniard.
    Most impressive driver away from those who fought for the championship has to be Nico Rosberg. Like with Jenson Button, Rosberg was predicted by many to flounder at the beginning of the season. His team mate as we know just happened to be the most successfull driver in F1 history and Rosberg at times made him look ordinary. I must admit, I thought Michael Schumacher would eat him alive but it was Rosberg who came out on top. Now that was a surprise.

  23. Don’t forget Korea, when I thought “oh no it’s over for the bulls” that was a weird race at the beginning, but a good one at the end

  24. “Button defies the doubters”

    I got my comment of the day for something along those lines. To take on Hamilton and win (in the opening half of 2010) showed that the 2009 title was helped by Button’s driving skills as much as it was the Brawn 001 car.

  25. Prisoner Monkeys
    30th November 2010, 23:16

    I’m not understanding the love for Hulkenberg. It would have been incredible if he’d managed it in the dry, but it’s been a long-established fact that ualifying in variable conditions can shake things up. Hulkenberg might have been on pole, but he withered fairly quickly in the race. Now, I’ve said this before and likely I’ll say it again, but one pole position does not exonerate him from a very scrappy season. He’s been erratic at best, has an aversion to chicanes, plays way too rough with the other kids and generally over-drive the car to the point where he is his own worst enemy. Like his foolhardy attempt at passing in Montreal that ended with a broken front wing – and then a drive-through penalty for speeding in pit lane when he went in to replace it. How long did he last against Alonso in the race in Brazil? Four laps? And how long did Vitaly Petrov last against Alonso in Abu Dhabi?

    I think a better candidate for the most thrilling moment of the season was Red Bull’s double retirement in Korea and the massive consequences it had for the rest of the season.

    1. Exactly. I am glad someone pointed that stat out. Hulkenberg was taken to the cleaners early in the Brazilian grands prix. Petrov’s performance will, depending on how his career pans out, be looked at with higher regard than it is now. It showed maturity and determination, which are the same atributes Kobayashi has in abundance.
      Hulkenberg, Brazil aside, struggled this year which was to be expected.

    2. Why all your love for Petrov then? Barring Abu Dhabi, he was an embarrassment, either crashing every weekend or being just horrendously slow. Yes, Kubica is a tough teammate, but a decent driver would have scored more than 1/5 Robert’s points tally.

      Hulkenberg was generally fairly close to Barrichello, who isn’t a slouch, and in Brazil he didn’t just scrape pole, but he was there by over a second. His second fastest lap would have got him pole. Barrichello was only 6th. You don’t do that in a midfield car without being rather good. As for the rest of the season, we did put in several good drives, certainly more than your Petrov did.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        3rd December 2010, 23:02

        Barring Abu Dhabi, he was an embarrassment

        Uh, let’s see:

        – In Bahrain, he was racing Barrichello for championship points.
        – In Malaysia, he didn’t let Lewis Hamilton get away too easily.
        – In Turkey, he held Alonso off for thirty laps (before Alonso tagged him and gave him a puncture).
        – In Silverstone, he was doing better than Kubica in qualifying before his engine gave up.
        – In Hungary, he had the measure of Kubica all weekend.
        – He might have crashed during qualifying in Belgium, but in the race he went from 23rd to 9th.
        – He got a brilliant start in Japan, clearing two rows of cars before he even got to the actual start line; after that, he had nowhere to go. It was wrong of the stewards to blame him (especially when Massa got off) because there was nothing he could do.
        – And he fended Alonso off for another 40 laps in Abu Dhabi.

        Now, he might have been a bit crashtacular, but I’d say all of that is much more impressive than Hulkenberg’s chicane-o-phobia, foolhardy attempts at overtaking, tendency to play way too rough with the other kids and generally overdriving the car.

  26. I agree that Turkey should be there, that race was spectacular.For me another moment that should be there in my book was the passing maneuver of Barrichello on Schumacher in Hungary that was brave & scary.

  27. Webber taking the lead at Silverstone and Vettel going off with a tire puncture after the front wing drama… ahh karma.

    Ive never seen a more fitting moment in F1.

    1. Webber being nowhere in the season finale.

  28. A few for Me were, Lewis n Seb wheel to wheel going down the pitlane. Or Rubens n Schumi’s lil duel that very nearly ended in disaster. And of course the infamous crash by the Newey cars, then the very sporting bit of precision driving by the McLarens… webber’s crash with heikki. There were many… I am such a diehard and so thoroughly enjoy every second I get to see and hear those beautiful feats of engineering perform that it is really hard for Me to elect the very best moments. They are all the best!

  29. Since I mentioned Heikki, wanted to wish Him and His girl a speedy recovery after Sundays shunt @ the ROC on Sunday!

  30. Wow! Ferrari is the No. 1 bad thing of the year, but not a single one of the top four? You people kill me. Alonso’s run was the only thing that kept the entire season from being a Red Bull parade. Am I wrong?
    But according to you all, Jenson Button’s run to what, second place on a two-car team is one of the top events of the year? Hello! His inferiority to Hamilton was the only thing proven this year (I notice Hammy didn’t get much ink. Perhaps only the lighter-hued Brits are worthy of the home-field advantage).
    Seriously, cheering the home team is one thing; utter delusion is another.

    1. Button wasn’t ultimately as fast as Hamilton, but he was far, far closer than people expected this time last year.

  31. Hamilton taking on and spanking most in China.
    Especially the faster Redbulls.
    What is the meaning of the popular phrase “Button is close to Hamilton”, is it new art of finding solace.
    Replacing the once popular Alonso did not lose to Hamilton?

    1. But, Alonso did lose to Hamilton.

  32. Coooooool. I got a mention..thanks Keith!

  33. What about Kobayashi’s overtake of Alonso? Did you ever see Sato wipe the floor with Alonso.
    Using a super aguri no less, unbeleivable!

  34. Button won because Vettels car let him down. Vettel pulled out 0.8 seconds on Button a lap or 2 before the wheel came lose.

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