Hot Rod or Hot Dog is our regular post-grand prix column in which we review driver performances from the race. One driver is then declared as Badger’s “Top Dog” – and for our end of season edition it’s…
This article has been on Badger’s to-do list for a while, but your correspondent hasn’t actually got round to writing it until now. This is instructive in two ways: firstly, that we’ve thought long and hard about who to give it to and secondly, we couldn’t have done anything else but give it to Sebastian Vettel.
We at Badger like to be a bit different, especially in Hot Rod or Hot Dog. We like to give the Top Dog award to someone who may not have won, but has got the most out of their car or demonstrated a rare piece of skill. Sadly, this season, both of those criteria apply to the man who did end up winning (nearly everything).
It’s probably worth having a look at what we wrote in the end of season review for Red Bull about the young German:
– Of all the laps he completed this season, the young German led 68.5% of them.
– Of the 475 points he could possibly have won, he managed to accumulate 392. That’s 82.52%.
– He scored 52% more points than his team mate.
– He won eleven races.
– He was on pole 15 times.
From start to finish of the season, of most qualifying session and of nearly all the races he was simply imperious. Yes, he had the best car. But so did Mark Webber and look where that got him. Most of the field had no answer to him most of the time.
He was, of course, aided by the fact that there was no consistent challenger. No one person who stood up from McLaren, Ferrari or Red Bull and finished second a lot of the time. The rest of the top six was so competitive that all it served to do was to strengthen Vettel’s hand.
He also answered questions about his ability as a racer. Having been called many things (including by Badger and, more specifically, your correspondent) he used the limited opportunities he had this season to prove us wrong. It’s hard when you’ve led nearly 70% of the laps you completed, but he had a good go. The pass on Alonso at the Italian Grand Prix was a particular highlight (made even better by foreign commentary);
All of us at Badger, while admiring the sheer speed, skill and mental strength required to be that dominant in F1 over the course of an enitre season would rather like it if Red Bull could not design such a fantastic car for next season. Let’s give everyone else a chance, eh?
Even so, will Vettel be very hard to beat? Yes. Do we think anyone can? Of course. Will anyone? Doubtful.
Honourable mentions (as chosen by Damian Johnson) also go to:
Jenson Button – you know, for finishing second in the Championship, for being bloody fast and for Canada. Oh Canada!
Fernando Alonso – For consistently out-driving his car and generally smearing Felipe Massa’s future prospects in F1 all over the floor.
Heikki Kovalainen – For some very respectable performances in a team who were mostly all out on their own above the back two teams and behind the midfield.