With another decade now drawing to a close, it is time to reflect on another thrilling season of Formula One racing and pick out five of the best races over the last ten seasons.
From Pastor Maldonado’s stunning 2012 Spanish GP win for Williams to Kimi Raikkonen’s legendary “Leave me alone. I know what I am doing.” quote, this decade has definitely thrown up plenty of crackers to choose from.
Without further ado, here are my top five races from this decade.
Number Five – 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand PrixEmbed from Getty Images
2014 saw the birth of the hybrid era in Formula One with a complete overhaul of the power source as teams switched from the naturally aspirated V8 to a 1.6 litre power unit with hybrid recovery and delivery.
Mercedes were the clear pioneers behind this change in technology given their clear advantage over the grid throughout the season, with Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg destined to take the title.
The 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix however would be no ordinary race with the crazy addition of double points, which added an extra edge to the title fight with 50 points on offer for the race winner.Embed from Getty Images
Hamilton led Rosberg by 17 points heading into this season finale after the latter won around Interlagos in the preceding race, but Qualifying threw up another twist as Rosberg took pole from Hamilton, whilst both Red Bull cars were disqualified due to a technical breach of front wing regulation.
The race therefore was a straight Silver Arrow shootout with Rosberg needing to win with Hamilton finishing third or lower, in order to snatch a first F1 title.
Hamilton however got the better start which proved decisive as he went on to control the race from Williams’ Felipe Massa, whilst Rosberg endured heartbreak as his Energy Recovery System (ERS) failed.
He however fought on to finish the race at the checkered flag albeit a lap down in 14th position, despite being asked to retire the car due to more technical issues which is admirable.Embed from Getty Images
Massa meanwhile hunted down Hamilton in the closing stages in a thrilling battle of cat and mouse, but the Brit clung on to take victory and his second title, of which he was congratulated on team radio by Prince Harry, who said; “you’re an absolute legend mate well done”.
Rosberg meanwhile was gracious in defeat as he visited the cooldown room to congratulate Hamilton after a hard fought season.
Number Four – 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix
2012 saw a regulation change in the nose crash structure height due to safety concerns, which gave us seven different race winners from the first seven races whilst Michael Schumacher collected his final F1 podium in Valencia.
This season therefore had so many great races that it was tough to pick out a classic but the 2012 Malaysian GP was on another level.Embed from Getty Images
McLaren looked set for another dominant weekend with a front row lockout ahead of Schumacher.
Raceday however was wet with several drivers opting for intermediate tyres as both McLarens made a great getaway, ahead of Romain Grosjean who had improved from seventh to third by Turn One.
Grosjean’s excellent start however didn’t last long because he and Schumacher collided at Turn Four to drop them down the order, before the race then intensified to enforce a switch to full wets.
Stewards then had to bring out the Safety Car as conditions deteriorated on lap seven, only for the red flag to be waved two laps later to suspend the race for 50 minutes.
Once the race resumed, several drivers opted to pit for Inters whilst Hamilton stayed out ahead of Sauber’s Sergio Perez, who had worked his way up to second.
A botched stop and wait for Ferrari’s Massa to pass then left Hamilton down the order, behind Button who destroyed his own race with a clumsy move on HRT’s Narain Karthikeyan to end any hope of a podium finish.
Alonso meanwhile made a move on Perez to take the lead in his weak Ferrari, triggering an exciting duel in which both drivers traded faster sectors as the track dried enough for slicks.
Perez however looked mightily fast in the dry conditions as he closed in on Alonso in the hunt for his first ever F1 win, only for a pit message on Lap 50 to cost him concentration and the win.
Sauber sent a radio message saying; “Be careful we need this position.” which obviously knocked Perez off focus as he then ran wide at Turn 14, after taking too much kerb and cost him the win as Alonso took the checkered flag six laps later ahead of Perez and Hamilton as the sun began to set over Sepang.
Sauber however received their engines from Ferrari which prompted conspiracy theories that it was a coded message asking Perez to let the Scuderia take victory.
We therefore can all but ponder what might of been as Perez then went on to record two more podiums that season.
Number Three – 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
2010 was an amazing season with excellent racing but the season finale in Yas Marina would go down as one of the most shocking last-gasp title snatches in history.
Four drivers (Alonso, Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton) all entered the race with a mathematical shot at the title, which is a rarity in the modern F1 era
Alonso entered the weekend on 246 points with Webber sat eight points behind whilst Vettel and Hamilton were a respective 15 and 24 points behind.Embed from Getty Images
Vettel started on pole ahead of Hamilton and Alonso whilst Webber qualified in fifth as the entire grid made a clean start with Vettel leading Hamilton through the opening corners.
Schumacher then made a move round the outside of Rosberg at Turn Six, only to spin and be collected by Vitantonio Liuzzi whose car mounted the front of Schumacher’s Mercedes to bring out the Safety Car.
Ferrari reacted by pitting Alonso early whilst Red Bull reacted with Webber to cover him off, which ultimately bit both teams and drivers in cruel fashion as they found themselves stuck behind Vitaly Petrov’s Renault for the remainder of the race.Embed from Getty Images
That mistake therefore handed Vettel control of the race which he managed comfortably to take victory and the first of four consecutive titles, finishing ahead of Hamilton who needed the win and his title rivals to all retire in order to snatch a second title which eventually came four seasons later.
What made this race all the more remarkable is that it marked the first time in which Vettel had led the Championship at any point in 2010.
Number Two – 2013 British Grand Prix
If after a controversial race full of drama then look no further than the 2013 British GP, which would be quite an emotional rollercoaster.
The weekend began with Mark Webber’s announcement that he was retiring at the end of that season.
Hamilton then gave the home fans a brilliant high by qualifying on pole position ahead of Rosberg and Vettel, unaware that the race wouldn’t be one for the faint hearted.Embed from Getty Images
A good start saw Hamilton run away with the lead until his left rear suddenly failed, which plummeted him down the order with an enforced pit stop.
That was just the beginning as Massa also suffered a tyre failure four laps later and spun, before Jean Eric Vergne then suffered a tyre explosion which brought out the Safety Car.
Vettel meanwhile controlled the race in front until his gearbox failed on Lap 42 to bring out the Safety Car again, with several drivers opting to pit again as Rosberg came out in front of Webber and Alonso.Embed from Getty Images
Perez meanwhile suffered his second tyre failure of the weekend to compound a miserable weekend, which ultimately forced the FIA and Pirelli to react immediately post race in advance of the following weekend’s German GP.
Rosberg eventually won the race from Webber by 0.765s whilst Alonso, Hamilton and Raikkonen completed the top five
This race therefore would be one that is remembered for most of the wrong reasons but it certainly was a high point of a boring 2013 season.
Number One – Canada 2011Embed from Getty Images
For many, the top race for this decade is a foregone conclusion because it had literally everything that sums up F1 as a sport.
Crashes. variable weather, team battles and an unlikely underdog all made the 2011 Canadian GP a classic and my top race of this decade because it encompassed everything fans love about the sport.Embed from Getty Images
Torrential rain meant that the race began under the Safety Car for five laps, before the race properly commenced as Vettel led from Alonso whilst Hamilton and Webber collided at the first corner to drop both to seventh and 14th respectively.
Hamilton then collided with McLaren teammate – Jenson Button on the pit straight the following lap to put him out of the race, whilst it was the first incident in an eventful race for Button.
Whilst the Safety Car was deployed to recover Hamilton’s car, Button pitted but soon received a drive through penalty for speeding behind the Safety Car dropping him to 15th position.Embed from Getty Images
A rain storm soon brought the race to a temporary halt on lap 26 for two hours as Vettel led Kamui Kobayashi, but Button would tangle with Alonso ten laps after the restart to send the Spaniard spinning out, and a fifth Safety Car deployment as Button limped back to the pits with a puncture.
Button then re-joined in last place but begun a spectacular fightback through the field, which saw him climb to second by Lap 65, as he charged after race leader – Vettel.
After six Safety Cars and pit stops plus a drive through penalty and twice coming from last place, Button eventually reeled Vettel to within a second by the final lap and got his victory when he swept past the German at Turn Six as Vettel ran wide on a damp patch.
Webber meanwhile denied Schumacher a podium finish for which the German got his own back a year later, pipping the Aussie to third in the 2012 European GP.
Post-race, Button described his win as the “best win of my career.”
This race will also be remembered as the longest ever F1 Grand Prix in history, clocking in at four hours, four minutes and 39 seconds.
Now that I have shared my top five races of the decade, I would love to hear about your top five races from this decade so please leave a comment below.