A great decade with many great moments… Let’s cast our minds back.
The 2010s in Formula 1 was a pretty interesting decade, with so many things to talk about, but what are some memorable moments? That’s the point of this Article. We will cast our mind back to 2010 and work from there. In essence; This is simply me thinking back and then putting those memories to words. So, let us begin Part 1; The Red Bull era(2010-2013).
Bahrain 2010: Alonso wins on Ferrari debut, Vettel suffers Gearbox failures from lead.
We came into the 2010’s off of a very exciting 2009 Season, but our introduction to the decade was less than stellar. We got a fairly boring Race in Bahrain, which used the Endurance Layout for the first and only time. However, the race was not without it’s talking points.
Sebastian Vettel, who had taken Pole Position and led comfortably in his Red Bull RB6, was not to win the Race. Having led from the start of the Grand Prix, Vettel suffered gearbox problems towards the end of the race and lost the lead of the Race on Lap 33. Ultimately falling back to P4 by the end of the Race, it was not the start that the German driver would have wanted. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso had inherited the Race Win, and the start of a great Season was on.
Turkey 2010: The Red Bulls Collide.
In one of the most famous moments of the Decade, the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber came together in the Turkish Grand Prix. Webber led from Pole for most of the race up until Lap 40. While Webber had begun to conserve Fuel, Vettel had extra. As they approach Turn 12, Vettel made a move. As he came alongside, he slowly drifted to the right and into Webber. The resulting contact sent Vettel out of the Race, and left Webber with damage. This promoted the McLaren’s of Hamilton and Button into 1st and 2nd, to take the Teams first Win of the Year, and a 1-2 at that.
Europe 2010; Webber Flies.
As the F1 Circus reached Valencia, we were in for one of the most Iconic moments in F1 History. The Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber were 1-2 respectively, and at the start of the Race, Vettel got away, albeit with contact with Hamilton. While Vettel really didn’t look back the entire Race, the same could not be said for Webber. Webber was taken by the McLaren of Hamilton off the line, and then hit the other McLaren of Jenson Button and dropped to 9th. After struggling to pass Cars ahead and with potential Mechanical issues, Webber pulled into the pits. A Slow stop and the simple early nature of the Stop meant he came out in 18th. As Webber came up to pass 17th-placed Kovalainen on Lap 9, Kovalainen braked early as Webber was behind in the Slipstream. The Contact with Kovalainen’s tire sent Webber skyward, ending his Race.
Vettel would win the Race ahead of the 2 McLaren’s and would survive some pressure from Lewis Hamilton, but the Race is most remembered for the Webber-Kovalainen incident
Germany 2010; Fernando is Faster than you.
In one of the most controversial moment’s in F1 History; We come to the 2010 German GP. The Weekend had already been interesting by this point; Vettel had taken pole from Alonso by a mere 0.002 Seconds, making it one of the closest Qualifying results in Formula 1 History. However, the race was where the main talking point came in.
Alonso took Vettel at the start, but teammate Felipe Massa took them both and led from there. Massa was largely unchallenged. Where Alonso had Pace, Massa had an answer. And for most of the Race, he led, The only time he didn’t lead in the first 49 Laps was when Button Led due to a different Strategy, But then came the infamous call.
On Lap 48, Massa received the Call “Ok, so, Fernando is Faster than you, Can you confirm that you understood the Message?”, and that was it. Massa slowed down and Alonso passed on Lap 49 out of the Hairpin. Alonso would win the Race and Massa would hold off Vettel in the closing stages. Ferrari received a $100,000 Dollar fine for the use of Team Orders, although they insisted they didn’t use them. In the end, Massa would never be particularly close to winning a race again.
Abu Dhabi 2010; The Youngest World Champion
By the time of Abu Dhabi, Alonso was leading the Championship from Webber and Vettel. However, it was still a 4-way fight for the Title, with 4th placed Hamilton still having a shot if he won. For Webber, he needed to outscore Alonso by 8 points, Vettel needed 15. And so; We were set for a tense conclusion to a great Season.
Vettel was on Pole from Lewis Hamilton, with Alonso in 3rd and Webber 5th behind 4th-placed man Jenson Button. Vettel led from the start but what happened next changed the race completely. Michael Schumacher spun his Mercedes while battling with Teammate Nico Rosberg, and was then collected by Vitantonio Liuzzi. The Safety Car was brought out, and several Driver’s pitted then. The most crucial of which being the Renault of Vitaly Petrov.
On Lap 11, by now struggling for Grip, Webber pitted, and came out behind Rosberg, Petrov, and Algesuari. Alonso was also struggling, and pitted on Lap 15, coming out just ahead of Webber. Meanwhile, Vettel led from Hamilton and Button, none of which were having the Grip issues of their Rivals. While McLaren would try both Undercut(Hamilton) and Overcut(Button) Strategies on Vettel, but the Red Bull driver remained in Control, Meanwhile, as time went on, Alonso could not pass Petrov, and Webber could not pass Alonso. Petrov slowed the pair down so much that when his longer running teammate Robert Kubica pitted, he joined in front of all of them.
And so it was, Vettel won ahead of Hamilton and Button, with Alonso P7 and Webber P8 at the race conclusion. With Alonso needing P4 to secure the title if Vettel won, it was the end of his hopes. Vettel finished the Season 4 points ahead and as the youngest ever Formula 1 World Champion, and having not led it at any point that year.
Canada 2011; Button’s epic but troubled Win.
2011 Did have it’s notable moments, but it was primarily dominated by Sebastian Vettel. Canada however, was a standout Race. Vettel Qualified on Pole ahead of the 2 Ferrari’s. Button Qualified 7th in this list. The Race began behind the Safety Car thanks to Wet conditions, and there was action from the start. Alonso attacked Vettel but couldn’t get through, Webber and Hamilton tangled and promoted Button to 5th, before Button himself ran wide and dropped to 7th behind Schumacher and Hamilton. Hamilton then made another mistake and fell behind Button. As Lewis attempted an overtake down the Pit Straight, they collided and Hamilton was sent into the pit Wall. With him Retiring with Damage, Hamilton’s accident caused a Safety Car.
Button was given a Drive-through Penalty and went into the pits a second time(Having gone in once already). The Race continued until Lap 20 when increasing Rain brought out the Safety Car again, and then the Race was halted for 2 hours because it it. After the Race restarted. Button had another incident. Attacking Alonso into turn 3, he touched the Ferrari and sent it spinning into the Wall. Yet another Safety Car came out, and Button pitted with a puncture. In last place, Button had it all to do.
Button began cutting through the field and with the track drying, pitted for Slicks. Being in 4th after his pit stop with Vettel, Schumacher, and Webber ahead. On Lap 56, a final Safety Car was brought out with Nick Heidfeld retiring. Following this 6th and final Safety Car, the Race resumed. Button passed Schumacher and Webber on Lap 64, and began closing down Vettel, setting the fastest Lap in the process. Vettel led by 9 tenths going into the final Lap, and looked set for another victory after having not been challenged much during the Race. However, as they approached turn 6, Vettel ran wide, and Button slipped through to take the Lead and Win.
Canada 2011 was the longest Race in F1 History at just over 4 hours. It had the most Pit-Stops by a winning Driver(6), the highest number of Safety Car appearances(6), and is considered an all-time classic.
Italy 2011; Vettel takes to the Grass
When the Formula 1 Season reached Italy; Red Bull had asserted ddominance and led both Championships by a large margin. And this time, that performance was made clear again. Sebastian Vettel took Pole around Monza, a Track where even in these years where Red Bull was winning, they were never especially dominant, a trend which has continued to today. But in this case, it was Red Bulls first ever Monza front row start, with the McLaren’s of Hamilton and Button 2nd and 3rd.
Fernando Alonso started from 4th, but made an incredible getaway off the line and led into turn 1. However, the Safety Car was deployed following an incident into turn 1. On the restart, Vettel began to attack the Ferrari. On Lap 4 he attempted to go around the outside into the first Chicane, but Alonso defended well enough. The Second time around, through Curva Grande, vettel went to the outside(Left) line. Alonso squeezed him left and onto the Grass, but Vettel continued anyway and managed to hold on to get the inside line into the first Chicane. He took the lead and from there would in the race.
Japan 2011; Jenson’s Race, Vettel’s title.
Coming into the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix, Red Bull’s dominance of 2011 Showed. Vettel had a 124 point lead over Jenson Button, who was the only Driver still in contention with Vettel. And this was with 5 Races to go. A 124 point lead with only 125 Points left meant Vettel only needed a single Point or Button to not finish to win the 2011 Title. And to top it off, he was on Pole for the 11th time that Season. However, in spite of the Title basically being a sure win for Vettel, he would not have it easy during the Race.
At the start of the Race, Button got the better start from 2nd before being pushed wide by Vettel into the first turn, Button Dropped to P3, behind teammate Hamilton. Button Passed Hamilton on Lap 9, and remained Second to Vettel. With both Red Bull’s having pitted twice by Lap 20, Button took the lead from Vettel. The Race up front continued for some time before Lap 34 when Vettel pitted for the final time. With the remaining front runners pitting on Lap 38, Vettel lost 2nd to Alonso thanks to traffic in the time between him and Alonso pitting.
Vettel would try to get by Alonso but with no need to take risks, he eventually settled for 3rd. In a truly dominant Season, he became the youngest ever double World Champion with 4 Races to go. Button was also pleased with the Day. Having won a well deserved victory that did not come easy. It was also the Birthplace of his Girlfriend of the time, and he had formerly driven for Honda. Both Vettel and Button recieved much praise for their Seasons and that Weekend, and it was one of the biggest positives of the Year.
Malaysia 2012; Alonso wins, Pérez Podium
The 2012 Season really became noteworthy as we reached Malaysia. With McLaren leading the Championship and with Hamilton on Pole, it looked like they were in for a good result. However, this was not to happen. Thanks to rain, the Race was delayed for an hour. Button then collided with Narain Karthikeyan and had to make an early stop for repairs. Hamilton had a slow stop(A running McLaren theme of 2012) and got held in the pits with other Cars passing. Fernando Alonso took the lead as a result of this, but he would not have it easy.
Pérez had managed to get up into the podium places via strategy and it emerged that he was the fastest Car on Track, rapidly closing down Alonso. He lost time in the final pit stop onto Dries though, and began pushing to catch up. However, on Lap 50, he went wide and lost time. Alonso came home to win with Pérez still a respectable 2nd. And now, the Season began to pick up.
Thanks to a collision, It also was the beginning of the Worlds greatest Sporting Rivalry… Sebastian Vettel vs Narain Karthikeyan… Some very friendly words were exhanged, you should check it out.
China 2012; Mercedes returns to the top.
Mercedes had not won since 1955, but in China, that changed. Nico Rosberg took the first Pole of his Career, while Michael Schumacher took 2nd following a grid penalty. While there was controversy over the legality of Mercedes’ rear Wing, the end result was a 1-2 in Qualifying.
Unfortunately for Michael, this would not translate in the Race, but for Nico, it would. Michael lost out thanks to a Mercedes pit-stop error, resulting in a DNF thanks to an improperly fitted Wheel. Nico, however, would take the Win. It did not come easy of course. He was under threat from Jenson Button at one point but yet another McLaren pit-stop error cost them a potential Victory. So there it was, Mercedes finally triumphant once more… Who would’ve thought of what was to come.
Kimi Raikonnen also lost 11 place in one lap this race… Talk about Tire wear.
Spain 2012; Wait…. Maldonado Won?
For someone notorious for Crashing, you’d never have expected that to occur. Maldonado took pole position in his Williams following Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification from Qualifying for having an under-fueled Car. He therefore started alongside Fernando Alonso. The Ferrari Driver took the Lead into the First corner, and held it for much of the Race. However, following the second pit-stop phase, Maldonado regained the Lead and took the Victory. It is the last Williams victory to date, and the only ever Victory by a Venezuelan Driver. Such was the surprise of the Victory, that Maldonado would not score another point for the next 9 Races.
The Race is also noteworthy for Michael Schumacher’s incident with Bruno Senna. Michael moved in the Braking zone into Turn 1 while trying to overtake, and collided with Senna. Michael received a 5 Place Grid Penalty for this race, which carried over into the next Race in Monaco…
Monaco 2012; Schumacher’s last “Pole Position”
It really is a Shame that Michael has that Penalty lingering, as this Race could’ve been sensational if not for it. Having not led Qualifying at all up to that point, in the closing stage of Q3 he set the fastest Lap, ahead of Mark Webber. While the Lap was sensational, he would have to start 6th thanks to his Grid penalty. However, he was still proud of his achievement, as it was the first time he had topped qualifying since the 2006 French Grand Prix.
Mark Webber would inherit Pole and went on to win the Race. His first of 2012, and Red Bull’s second after Vettel in Bahrain.
Canada 2012; 7 Races, 7 Winners
Not to much to say about this as a Race, although it was a good one. Lewis Hamilton finally took his first win of 2012 via fighting and a differing strategy. What is more notable is that in this incredible Season, we had 7 winners in the first 7 Races. Those being Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Vettel, Maldonado, Webber, and Hamilton. It was an incredible opening to the Season, one which we have not seen since.
Europe 2012; Alonso’s stunning win, Schumacher’s last Podium
Sebastian Vettel started the Race in Valencia on Pole, but his winning dream was to be crushed. Throughout the Race, Vettel looked largely untouchable, however on Lap 33 his Alternator failed, and he left Valencia with a DNF. Fernando Alonso on the other hand, started 11th. Fighting his way through the field, he was in position to take the Lead when Vettel retired. He took an emotional win, and was the first repeat winner of 2012.
Likewise, Michael Schumacher started in the low position of 12th and also had to cut through the field for Points. He did this with overtaking and strategy, and following a late collision between Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado, found himself 3rd. It would be the 155th and final Podium of his Formula 1 Career.
Britain 2012; Webber’s final win.
We wouldn’t have expected it going into the weekend, but the 2012 British Grand Prix would be Mark Webber’s final ever Win. Fernando Alonso took pole in a Wet Qualifying ahead of both Red Bulls. Alonso would lead for most of the Race, before being passed by Webber in the cloing stages with a brilliant move into Brooklands.
He would come close on several other occasions, but Mark Webber would not win any further Formula 1 Races.
Belgium 2012; One memorable start…
The 2012 Season had stagnated just a bit for a couple rounds prior to the Belgian Grand Prix, but it was about to be kicked right back to life. Jenson took the final Pole Position of his Career, and the only one with McLaren at that. The Grid behind was rather confusing however. Kobayashi was 2nd, Maldonado 3rd. Alonsp, Webber, and Hamilton 6th, 7th, and 8th, while Sebastian Vettel was a mere 10th. The start was just a bit different though.
Maldonado Jumped the start and the lights went out just afterwards. Grosjean began to squeeze Hamilton to the pit wall and made contact with the McLaren. The resulting loss of control was Catastrophic. Grosjean made contact with Perez, became airborne, and went over Alonso, nearly hitting his head. Hamilton hit Kobayashi and then made contact with Alonso as well. Perez clipped Maldonado, so I guess that was penalty for the jump start at least…
Button would win the Race comfortably ahead of Sebastian Vettel who recovered to 2nd, and Kimi Raikonnen in 3rd. Romain Grosjean received a 1-Race ban, to be served in Italy
Singapore 2012; Hamilton’s final string at McLaren
Going into the Singapore Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso comfortably led the 2012 Championship by 37 Points from Lewis Hamilton. The McLaren man however, was beginning to pick up steam. Having just won the last time out in Italy, he took Pole in Singapore ahead of Maldonado and Vettel. However, the Race was not to end this way.
Hamilton led the initial stages of the Race and looked comfortable to take the win. On Lap 22 however, his Gearbox failed, handing the leaad to the then 2nd placed Vettel. Vettel would go on to finally take his 2nd win of 2012, beginning his recovery of his 39 point gap to Alonso. For Hamilton, it was considered the last string to be pulled at McLaren, and it was soon announced he had signed for the Mercedes Team for 2013.
Japan 2012; Alonso’s lead evaporates
Alonso was leading the 2012 Season primarily due to him working himself into places to benefit from the issues of others, but in Japan, that luck came full circle. Clipped by the Lotus of Räikkönen into turn 1. Alonso suffered a puncture and ended up in the Gravel trap and out of the Race. Sebastian Vettel meanwhile, had the most dominant performance of anyone in the 2012 Season. Finishing with a grand slam; Pole, Win, fastest Lap, led every Lap. Alonso only led by 4 Points after Japan, and Vettel would proceed to win the next 2 Races to take the lead for the first time since Bahrain.
This Race is also notable for being the place of Japanese Driver Kamui Kobayashi’s first and only Formula 1 Podium, and Felipe Massa’s first Podium since 2010.
Abu Dhabi 2012; The Iceman knows what he’s doing
In Abu Dhabi, we got our 8th Winner. Hamilton took pole and led the early stages of the Race. Kimi Räikkönen got a good start and went up to 2nd place in this opening Phases. When Hamilton retired on Lap 19 however, Kimi took the lead. He would come under pressure from Alonso, but he would hold out to win his first race since Belgium in 2009.
Sebastian Vettel, starting from the pit-lane thanks to a Fuel irregularity in Qualifying, made a brilliant recovery to 3rd as well in this Race. Thanks to this, Vettel only lost 3 Points from his Championship lead.
USA 2012; Hamilton’s final McLaren win
Lewis Hamilton might’ve been off to Mercedes, but he still gave it his all to the end with McLaren. This was shown in the U.S, the first race at the new Circuit of the Americas and the first U.S GP Since 2007. Vettel took pole and led for much of the Race. On Lap 42 however, Hamilton got close enough to pass the Red Bull into turn 12. Vettel would then continue to chase until the end of the Race, but Hamilton held on to win, his final win with the Woking Team
Brazil 2012; One of the greatest ever.
If you asked me to describe my personal feelings about this Race, I’d say it’s the best Race in Formula 1 history. But of course, that’s just me. Onto the Race though. Lewis Hamilton took Pole in his final Race with McLaren, ahead of teammate Jenson Button. Vettel led the Championship by 14 Points, meaning Alonso had to outscore him by at least 15 to win. It was a tall task, and he oh so nearly did it…
The Mclaren’s led off the line, but behind them, there was carnage. Vettel had an incident with Bruno Senna into Turn 4 and was sent to the back of the field, Alonso took 3rd place, and from there it was Vettel’s recovery to do. The Race was complicated by the on-off Rain showers, and Various Drivers(Including Vettel) would have their Days complicated by it. Vettel would recover to 6th when Michael Schumacher, in his last ever Race, handed over that position in the closing stages. This was enough for the title, his 3rd in succession.
There are so many things to talk about from this Race. Button and McLaren’s last win, Hulkenberg’s lost podium, Kimi getting lost, etc. there is simply too much for me to cover, so I highly suggest You go and watch it.
Australia 2013; Kimi’s last win for 5 Years
As we started the 2013 Formula 1 Season, Red Bull looked on form with Sebastian Vettel on pole. However, the Race would go a bit less according to plan. Mostly through going long on Strategy, Kimi Räikkönen would end up taking the lead and winning the Race. To add insult to Injury, Fernando Alonso would take 2nd. Vettel would take 3rd, which, in the grand scheme of the Year, would be uncommon…
It would be Kimi’s last win for Lotus, and it would be the last for 5 Years. Now, with the happy Kimi win in Australia, we hop on over to Malaysia…
Malaysia 2013; Multi-21 Seb, Multi-21
And now for the controversial things, we come to the 2013 Malaysian GP. Vettel took pole for the second time in 2013, but the race Day itself was a bit more hectic. He led the first few Laps, but as the Wet starting Weather changed, he came into the Pits. From then on, the Lead mostly shifted between Vettel and Teammate Webber on different strategies. In the closing stages of the Race, as Mark Webber came out of the pits for the final time of the Day, the controversy started. Webber came out just ahead of Vettel, and Vettel attempted to get by. From there we heard the infamous Multi 21 Radio Message, which was a code that Car #2 was supposed to finish ahead of Car #1. However, Vettel promptly ignored the Message. He attacked for 2 Laps before getting by on Lap 46.
Reactions to the incident were mixed. Vettel would initially apologize for the incident before retracting it next time out in China. Mark Webber was hardly amused, and was highly critical of Vettel on the Podium. It was arguably the lowest point in their relationship.
It is also often forgotten that the Mercedes had a similar Team orders incident in P3 and P4. Lewis Hamilton would take 3rd, but only after his battle with Teammate Rosberg was ended via Team Order. The reasoning was that the Team could use the valuable points, and there was nothing to gain in front. This alone was controversial, but was overshadowed by the Red Bull incident.
Spain 2013; Alonso’s final win.
The 2013 Spanish Grand Prix would end up being Fernando Alonso’s final Formula 1 Win. He qualified 5th, but would make up 2 Places at the start with a brilliant move into turns 1 and 3. Via strategy he would end up in a Position to take the lead, which he did. His home win in 2013 would be the final F1 Win of his very much storied Career.
Britain 2013; Last one to have intact Tires wins.
During the weekend of the 2013 British GP, Lewis Hamilton was the form man. He started strong by taking the first of his many British GP Poles(Only since having lost out in 2014 and 2019), and would lead the early laps of the Race. However, this would not be the case to the end. Now, we should preface this by noting that the 2013 Pirelli Tires were already controversial up to this point. They were quicker and bit less predictable and than 2012 in wear terms and at this Race, they made their mark.
On Lap 7 of 52, Hamilton’s rear left tire suffered a blowout, sending him to the back of the field. While he would recover to 4th place, he was not the only one to suffer during the Race. On Lap 11, Massa also suffered a Left-rear Blowout from 5th position. Jean-Eric Vergne would have a blowout on Lap 16, and Pérez would have the ssame on Lap 46, and this is just the Left-rear Blowouts. Gutiérrez suffered a left front Blowout himself.
Nico Rosberg took his second win of the Season ahead of Webber and Alonso. Sebastian Vettel had been leading after Hamilton’s tire failure, but had a gearbox problem and retired. Following outcry about the 2013 Tires, Pirelli was forced to make changes, which they did the next race
Hungary 2013; Hamilton’s first Mercedes win.
As a hint of what was to come, Hamilton took his first Win for Mercedes in Hungary. He took Pole at the Hungaroring, and looked set to challenge for the win. While he would trade the lead with Webber, Vettel, and even Grosjean at one point, Hamilton’s strategy proved to be the best one, and he would take the first of his many wins with Mercedes.
India 2013; Vettel Seals title number 4
By the time Formula 1 Reached the Indian Grand Prix, the title looked very much to be in Vettel’s favor, having just come off of 5 consecutive wins. And thanks to that and his 4 previous wins, he only needed 5th to secure the Title. He promptly took pole, and won the Race, having only really been troubled in the early phases.
At the time, this made Vettel the most successful driver on the grid by basically every metric. Wins, Poles, and Titles. It also made him the youngest ever 4 time World Champion. It was also his 3rd consecutive win in India. And seeing as the Indian GP would never return to F1, he was the only driver to have ever won the Race.
Brazil 2013; A record set and the end of an era.
The final race of the 2013 Season, and the V8 Era, was ended the same way as the previous 8 Races. That is, with Sebastian Vettel dominating the Race. Vettel would take Pole and lead every Lap of the Race, although he wouldn’t take a fastest lap to make it a grand slam. Webber would fight to 2nd place in his final ever Race to make it a 1-2 finish for Red Bull. Webber also took the fastest lap in his final race, which is a nice way to go out.
What is more notable about this Race is the Records it set or matched. It was Sebastian Vettel’s 9th consecutive Race win, beating Alberto Ascari’s and Michael Schumacher’s record of 7 by 2 extra Wins. In addition, it is the most consecutive Wins ever done in one Season, as Ascari’s were spread from 1952 to 1953, and Schumacher’s were obviously lesser in number. Nico Roberg has since also come close, but likewise was stopped after 7. It was also Vettel’s 13th win of the Season, equaling Michael Schumacher’s record from 2004.
The 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix marked the end of an era. It marked the end of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing’s dominance of Formula 1. And it also marked the end of the V8 Era of Formula 1. It was also a fairly entertaining one, with the 2010 and 2012 Seasons being some of the best in living memory, and even 2011 and 2013 had their moments.
With one Era over, another one had to begin. And Mercedes was going to be leading that new Era. So, be ready for part 2; 2014 to 2016.