It was a good victory for F1 when Vettel took the title last Sunday afternoon. The likable young German had shown his inexperience during the mid portion of the season, but equally had a rotten run of luck with reliability. With his 10 poles and awesome race speed over 2010, he’s a worthy champion.
The slightly bitter note to the conclusion of Abu Dhabi, however, was the British press, websites and forums celebrating Fernando Alonso coming up short in pursuit of his third crown. I fear the Hockenheim team orders affair was used as an excuse to berate the Spaniard, who from 47 points behind at Silverstone took his campaign right to the brink of glory in the manner only a multiple-time World Champion perhaps could. The notion that his claiming of the 2010 title would’ve been detrimental to the sport was horse excrement; we Brits just plain don’t like him.
It would be difficult for even the most ardent ‘Nando fan to argue that he’s a great team player and ambassador for fair play because he isn’t. He’s a driver in the Schumacher mould, a tenacious competitor who only has eyes for the prize.
Does this make him congenial, good humoured and easy to understand? No. But does it make him the most ferocious, feared driver on the grid? Unequivocally yes.
Sportsmen don’t compete to be nice, they compete to dominate and win. Alonso uses every tool and trick at his disposal to get the job done, including mauling his own teammate in the pitlane as they both sprinted for fresh rubber – maybe my moment of the season. There will be many who disagree with his antics and dislike him on a personal level, but no-one can deny his talent.
In modern British culture where populism goes hand-in-hand with mediocrity, the vitriolic assault on Ferrari’s numero uno is a clear reminder that sometimes we back the wrong man.