New Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bull team were honoured at motorsport’s most prestigious end-of-season gala event, the 2010 Autosport Awards, held last night at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.
It’s been amazing year for Vettel, who won the F1 title in a four-way shoot-out at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale, and last night took the award for International Racing Driver of the Year, as voted for by readers of Autosport.
“It’s been a tiring month and yesterday was the first time I had a chance to be back with the guys from the team to celebrate properly,” said Vettel, who was presented with his award by former grand prix winner David Coulthard.
“It’s been an amazing season, but winning requires more passion than one person can bring. This was truly a team effort.”[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”right”]The race was like a game of poker, and at the end it was like we came up with the royal flush.[/blockquote]
The car that took Vettel to the title and scored nine wins during the F1 season, the Red Bull RB6, was also voted Racing Car of the Year, with chief technical officer Adrian Newey accepting the award on behalf of the team.
“We made the year harder for ourselves than we should have done,” said Newey. “And on the morning of the Abu Dhabi race, we thought that it was going to be a tough day.”
“The race was like a game of poker, and at the end it was like we came up with the royal flush.”
Lewis Williamson became the 22nd winner of the coveted McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, scooping junior motorsport’s most important accolades after finishing as runner-up in this year’s Formula Renault UK Championship.
Williamson, 21, beat his fellow five finalists to the prize – £100,000, a McLaren-Mercedes F1 test, full BRDC membership, a TW Steel watch and a year’s supply of Puma racewear – after an intense shoot-out at Silverstone in Formula 2 and Mercedes DTM cars.
Three time F1 world champion Sir Jackie Stewart and Rubens Barrichello, who became the first driver in F1 history to reach the magic 300 grand prix mark this year, were both honoured for lifetime achievement.
Sebastien Loeb was named International Rally Driver of the Year after taking his seventh World Rally Championship in a row while his car, the Citroen C4 WRC, was named Rally Car of the Year for a third year running. Sauber F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi was voted Rookie of the Year by autosport.com users.
Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone, which is pulling out of F1 this year, and legendary US team owner Chip Ganassi were also recognised for their technical achievements in motorsport.