Red Bull crowned 2010 constructors champions 07 Nov 2010
We will have to keep guessing until next weekend about who will emerge as the 2010 drivers champion, but in Brazil on Sunday Red Bull answered one of this seasons burning questions, clinching their maiden constructors crown in brilliant style - and with one race in hand - with a dominant one-two result.
Although with the dream car they had at their disposal, its felt like a long time coming, its a phenomenal achievement for a team built from the remnants of Jaguar just six short years ago.
After coming closer than anyone had thought possible to beating Brawn GP in the 2009 title chase, Red Bull always had high expectations for the 2010 season. The Adrian Newey-designed RB6 set the pace during much of winter testing and Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber - a perfect combination of youth and experience - represented a strong, stable driver line-up for the year ahead.
But then came Fernando Alonsos dominant win for Ferrari at the season opener in Bahrain, where Red Bulls reliability issues rendered their storming qualifying pace void, as Vettel finished fourth with spark plug problems, and a disappointed Webber only eighth. At round two in Australia they clinched the front row of the grid with ease, but in the race a DNF - a wheel issue for Vettel - and ninth for a poor-starting Webber were the best they could manage. They had the fastest car, but already they looked to be throwing away the championship.
In Malaysia they looked to have put to bed the reliability issues with a one-two result that re-entrenched them in the title fight. But at a rain-hot Chinese Grand Prix all didnt go quite to plan, as a wrong call on tyre strategy and the strength of their rivals saw them finish well out of reach of the podium. Webber did win at the next round in Spain, but a brake failure for Vettel ruined what should have been a one-two. In terms of pace Red Bull seemed unstoppable, but reliability remained an all too obvious chink in their armour.
Webber took a second consecutive victory at the blue ribbon Monaco event, firmly establishing himself as a championship contender, but in Turkey the celebrations quickly dampened as he and Vettel collided as they fought for the lead of the Istanbul Park race. Instead of 43 points they went home with 15 (Webber finished third) and lost the lead in the constructors table. McLaren had Red Bull on the run - and that was before the added distraction of a growing rift between their two ambitious drivers.
Matters seemed to worsen in Canada where McLarens Lewis Hamilton finally ousted Red Bull from the front of the grid, breaking their run of seven pole positions, and then went on to win the race. Not only were Red Bull beaten fair and square by the British team, Ferrari also reasserted themselves. Vettel and Webber had to be content with fourth and fifth. Was the teams performance advantage finally on the slide, or was the RB6 simply not suited to the low-downforce Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve?
It proved to be the latter. At the European Grand Prix, the Red Bull was uncatchable once more and Vettel finally took his second win of the year. From four pole positions, it wasnt the best conversion rate, but it was a victory he desperately needed to boost his title hopes. And at the next round at Silverstone it was advantage Webber, the Australian clinching his third triumph of the season.
Ferrari claimed victory in Germany, but the Red Bulls remained dangerously fast. Making the best of a bad situation, the team moved closer to standings leaders McLaren, and few were surprised when they struck back to reign supreme in Hungary, with Webber claiming victory and Vettel taking third. It put them on top of the constructors table, 312 points to McLarens 304.
Even when McLaren won at Spa, and Ferrari at Monza and Singapore - both circuits not expected to suit the RB6 - Red Bull did a good job of limiting the damage, gleaning 71 points. And fans didnt have to wait long to see the Milton-Keynes team back on winning form, thanks to a dominant one-two at the Japanese Grand Prix, further extending their lead in the constructors championship.
But just as it seemed time to put the champagne on ice, a calamitous Korean Grand Prix disrupted Red Bulls expected celebrations. Starting from the front row, the title looked in the bag, but all they gleaned from the sodden Yeongam race was their first double DNF of the season, as Webber crashed out and Vettels engine gave out. They retained their championship lead, though by a much reduced margin.
However, any doubts quickly fell by the wayside once the paddock arrived in Brazil. The RB6 looked unnervingly quick in practice, and bar the spectacular performance of Nico Hulkenberg which gifted the young German a surprise pole position, Red Bull were the team to beat. In the race, Vettel and then Webber made short work of Hulkenberg, and Vettel led all the way to the finish line to clinch the constructors title, ahead of second-placed Webber.
Red Bull certainly cant claim a faultless report card for the 2010 season, but they still more than deserve their championship. Fourteen pole positions, eight wins and 19 podiums from 18 races is reason enough and its important to remember that this is still a relatively young team. While Ferrari celebrate 60 years in the sport, Red Bull are only six seasons old.
Yes there have been some stumbling blocks to outmanoeuvre, not least the occasional driver error and a lack of reliability from the dangerously quick if fragile RB6. Through it all - and despite some stiff competition - Red Bull were undeterred. Their success is thoroughly warranted. Congratulations Red Bull!
For Red Bull merchandise, click here.