The Last Time Formula One Had A Three-Way Title Fight

The new Formula One season is barely a fortnight away, and anticipation for the new campaign has already reached a fever pitch. Over the next year, the premier motorsports organization in the world will embark on its longest season ever. Between March and November, F1 will host 23 races across 20 different countries and five different continents.

The reigning world champion is Max Verstappen. 25-year-old Dutchman romped to a second consecutive title last season in a record-breaking campaign. Super Max won 15 out of the 22 races that took place last year, a number of wins that have never been seen before. Online bookmaker Bodog, which provides Formula One betting as well as casino favorites such as blackjack online, have made the reigning champion the odds-on favorite to win his third consecutive title next season.

Excitement Builds Ahead of Bahrain

But ahead of the curtain raiser in Bahrain on March 5th, fans are salivating at the prospect of a genuine three-way scrap for the crown for the first time in over a decade. Last year, Ferrari were genuine front runners for the first time in years, however, a number of poor strategic decisions and reliability issues saw Charles Leclerc drop out of the title race. The Scuderia have replaced long-time team principal Mattia Binotto with former Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur in the hopes of suring things up on the pit wall.

Mercedes are also hoping to mount a comeback. At the start of last term, the Silver Arrows were one second per lap off the pace of the leading duo. However, that gap narrowed somewhat throughout the second half of the campaign. Lewis Hamilton picked up a string of second places and his upstart George Russell picked up his maiden victory in the penultimate race of the season in Brazil.

That duo, as well as the Ferraris of Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz, will be aiming to pile the pressure on the grid-leading Red Bulls. And if the second half of 2022 is anything to go by, a genuine three-team title fight could be on the cards. But when was the last time we were treated to such a spectacle?

The Year Was 2010

If you were a fan of Formula One racing in 2010, then you know how thrilling that season was. It all came down to the final race in Abu Dhabi, where four drivers—Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton—all had an opportunity to win the championship. This was a three-way title fight between Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren unlike anything we had seen before.

Heading into the campaign, Jenson Button was the reigning world champion. He secured victory the previous year with Brawn GP, who won the championship in their first and only season in Formula One. The team was sold at the end of the season to Mercedes, while Button moved on to McLaren and proceeded to win the second race with his new team in Australia.

As the season progressed, Red Bull took an early lead in both championships. With Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel at the wheel, they were on track to win both titles as the season reached its halfway point. However, their dominance soon came to an end when McLaren and Ferrari started closing in. The gap between the leading trio narrowed as the campaign reached its climax, and both fans and pundits alike had no idea where both titles would end up.

Following his victory in Belgium, Lewis Hamilton looked on course for his second title in three seasons. However, back-to-back retirements in Italy and Singapore saw his title challenge fade somewhat, and Fernando Alonso took over. He won both of those races, as well as in the inaugural South Korean Grand Prix, giving him a slender lead at the top of the championship despite being in the slowest of the three cars.

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Abu Dhabi Showdown

At the final race in Abu Dhabi, four drivers – Vettel, Webber, Alonso and Hamilton – had a chance of becoming champion. Alonso was the favourite alongside Webber, however, Vettel had picked up victories in two of the final three races and was the man in form.

It was an incredibly tense race where anything could – and did – happen. Alonso and rival Webber pitted early and ended up blocked behind Vitaly Petrov’s Renault, a car with immense straight-line speed. The title contenders were unable to force their way past the Russian and ended up finishing the race in seventh and eighth respectively.

That opened the door for Vettel, and ultimately it was the talented young German who emerged victorious after a great drive from start to finish. He started the race on pole and proceeded to lead for the vast majority of the race. The chequered flag sealed his first-ever world championship title, finishing just four points ahead of the unlucky Alonso, as well as giving Red Bull their first-ever constructors’ championship title as well.