credit: Shell Motorsport Media


Ferrari

  • Qualifying: Alonso (3rd) Massa (6th)
  • Race: Alonso (7th) Massa (10th)

Disaster time for Ferrari – we imagine that, were there a panic alarm in the Ferrari garage, it would have been going at full whack for most of the race. We also like to think it would make the sound of a neighing horse.

It was, let’s be honest, Alonso’s to lose, but a bad strategy decision to cover Webber’s early pit stop led to disaster. Bottled up behind Petrov (who’d stopped early behind the safety car) Alonso wasn’t able to get past and cut a very frustrated figure after the race.

If Abu Dhabi was even a half decent racing circuit, it wouldn’t have been a problem. Alonso would have lined Petrov up and got past at some point – imagine the scenario at Brazil for example.

Yes, we want to see good driving and good scraps, but there’s no point in having a race where a very quick car and driver fighting for the World Championship in the last race of the season can’t overtake someone (or even attempt to) a slower car and driver. It’s just nonsense.

Massa had much the same problem as Alonso and toed the Badger party line after the race: “at a fantastic venue like this, it’s a shame that overtaking is so difficult.” Quite so, Felipe, quite so.

Badger’s best: Alonso

Toro Rosso

  • Qualifying: Alguersuari (17th) Buemi (18th)
  • Race: Alguersuari (9th) Buemi (15th)

Well well well. Jaime Alguersuari – hello.

To go from starting 17th with a car that didn’t look fast at all to finish ninth is a great achievement. He was another one of the main beneficiaries from the Schumacher accident and consequent early pit stops.

To have kept Felipe Massa behind him is no small achievement, even at a track like Abu Dhabi. He explained it thus: “I could feel the track condition improving all the time and that meant I was able to have an edge over Massa in sector three and maintain the distance in the first two sectors, even though he was probably fractionally faster than me.”

A great way to end the season for one of the most improved performers on the grid.

Buemi, by contrast, is slowly watching his star fade. He wasn’t the beneficiary of an early stop – do you sense some bitterness here?: “The team decided to bring Jaime in for a tyre change and keep me out during the Safety Car period. I think my team-mate’s strategy proved to be the better one as there was no tyre degradation… I’m a bit disappointed, because I feel that if I had been on a different strategy I could easily have finished in the points.” It’s just not cutting his way at the moment, which probably isn’t helped by the impression that Jaime is doing a good job. It looks like the Swiss is the one with all the holes at the moment.

Badger’s best: Alguersuari

Sauber

  • Qualifying: Kobayashi (12th) Heidfeld (14th)
  • Race: Heidfeld (11th) Kobayashi (14th)

A shame for Nick Heidfeld that he couldn’t make it into the points in his last race for Sauber (at least for the moment).

That said, he managed to pit early and gain three places and then be stuck in traffic the rest of the afternoon. Not the greatest last race of the season for the experienced German.

Kobayashi had a similar story, but didn’t come in early during the safety car so dropped back slightly. After that, his position was pretty much fixed for the rest of the afternoon. Not even he fancied a crazy run up the inside of anyone, which was a real shame.

More broadly, Nick Heidfeld deserves a drive in F1 next season. You won’t find a more consistent driver so, for a mid-table team, he’d be the perfect man to stack up the constructors’ championship points. Come on everyone, get on board the Heidfeld train!

Badger’s best: Heidfeld

Williams

  • Qualifying: Barrichello (7th) Hulkenberg (15th)
  • Race: Barrichello (12th) Hulkenberg (16th)

Not the ideal end to the season for Williams (at least in terms of the race), but well done to the team for ensuring they beat Force India in the constructors’ championship.

Barrichello enthused after the race about his move around Sutil into turn four after the Force India man exited his pit stop in front of him, but apart from that there wasn’t much doing. A shame, but he’s done more than enough to justify Williams giving him a new contract. The man is, quite simply, a legend.

Hulkenberg, fresh from pole in Brazil, came back down to earth with a bang – qualifying fifteenth and then finishing sixteenth. Oh, as well as being dropped for next season. How fickle F1 is…

His last race wasn’t exactly a barnstormer – so dull was it, we’ll let him tell you about it himself…

I started on the prime and did a long first stint and then a shorter one on the option but car pace wasn’t good so it didn’t work out for us. I lost position at the start, and then while avoiding the first lap incident, but I don’t think it made much of a difference to the overall picture.”

We think he deserves to stay in F1 but, to be honest, we can’t blame Williams for dropping him. There were too few good performances, too many average ones and quite a few thoroughly indifferent ones. For the Next Big Thing of this time last year, it’s not exactly gone according to plan.

Hispania? Don’t touch them with a barge pole Nico…

Badger’s best: Barrichello