Red Bull’s German champion Sebastian Vettel dominated 2011’s Formula One and that’s almost an understatement, after 11 season victories and a 122-point triumph.
Indeed, Vettel on 392 points was well clear of his nearest rival in the drivers championship, McLaren’s Jenson Button on 270. Then there was Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber on 258, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on 257 and Lewis Hamilton on 227.
There wasn’t much separating the rest, but Vettel was way out on top. At times, it seemed he may match Michael Schumacher’s record of 13 wins in a season.
Unfortunately the final two Grand Prixes of the year didn’t go Vettel’s way, with mechanical problems causing him to fall short of the feat. However, that shouldn’t take away from a stunning season.
The German became the youngest driver ever to defend his title and did so comfortably, clinching the crown with four races to go.
And Vettel jumped out of the blocks with victories in Australia and Malaysia after winning pole on both occasions. The German would actually claim pole in the first four GPs of the season to underline his dominance.
Lewis Hamilton broke through in China in one of the most exciting races of the season, but Vettel would then win in Turkey, Spain and Monaco to move well and truly ahead in the title race.
The rainswept Canadian GP was a classic with Button winning, before victories went to Vettel at the European GP, Fernando Alonso at the British GP, Lewis Hamilton at the German GP and Button again at the Hungarian GP.
However all the while Vettel was in contention never straying too far from the podium.
In Belgium, Red Bull got their first one-two since Turkey and Vettel soon rammed home his dominance with further victories in Italy and Singapore all but confirming the crown.
Vettel’s third place in Japan was enough to clinch the title, before back-to-back wins in Korea and India had people believing he could match Schumacher’s record. He couldn’t, with mechanical issues harming his chances in Abu Dhabi and Brazil as Hamilton and Webber finished the season with rare wins.
Red Bull, of course, also won the constructors championship and team principal Christian Horner said it was “an unbelievable year”.
Vettel said: “I think we had a great, great season. Pretty incredible. Going into the season we thought we have a competitive car, maybe we can win some races but it has been phenomenal.
“We really love what we do … We are passionate and it doesn’t matter if we have to work until late or work harder than others. We are ready to take that because we know how sweet it can taste at the end of the race, at the end of a Grand Prix or the end of the season.
“I’m really grateful to all the guys here on the track but more so even to the guys in the factory.
“I had a good start and a very good feeling. We had an amazing season and it would be over the top being upset now.”