Youngest world champion
Sebastian Vettel holds most records in Formula 1 history related to age: he is the youngest pole-sitter, winner, driver to finish on the podium and driver to finish in the points. After the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix he can now add the title of youngest world champion to the list. The German's title victory means he beats Lewis Hamilton to the honour. Vettel became world champion at the age of 23 years, four months and 11 days, while Hamilton was 23 years, nine months and 26 days when he was crowned.
Vettel led the championship just once this season - in the last race - just as John Surtees did in 1964 and James Hunt in 1976. Don't tell Sebastian, but they never led the championship again...
Vettel was the sixth different championship leader this season, an all-time record. The previous record of four different championship leaders has occurred five times, in 1974, 1982, 1986, 1987 and 2008.
Vettel is the fifth different champion in the last five years, we have to go back to the 1976-1982 period to find another streak of different champions. At the time they were: James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Mario Andretti, Jody Scheckter, Alan Jones, Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg.
It's also the first time in history that the car driven by the world champion has been made by a different constructor in each of those five consecutive years.
Vettel also reached a landmark tenth win and the swiftness in which he achieved this mark compared to the previous youngest winners in Formula 1 is astonishing. At his age Lewis Hamilton had won five races, Fernando Alonso, Troy Ruttmann and Bruce McLaren only one. Michael Schumacher, the all-time leader for wins, had yet to win his first race.
Just as on Sunday, the third placed driver in the world championship in 2007, Kimi Raikkonen, went on to win the final round and claim the title, while the championship leader Lewis Hamilton finished seventh.
Fernando Alonso was among the beaten drivers in both occasions: he finished third in the 2007 championship, level on points with Hamilton and second this year.
Ferrari losing at the death
Fernando Alonso - according to the numbers - had to overcome a very tough task: he had to win with a car ranked only third in the constructors' championship.
In the past there were only two drivers able to claim the championship with a car ranked third or lower in the constructors'. Keke Rosberg managed it in 1982, when Williams was fourth in the constructors' but the year was marred by the death of Gilles Villeneuve and the injury of Didier Pironi, which hampered Ferrari's campaign. Nelson Piquet did it in 1983, when Brabham were third in the table.
This is the fourth time in history that a Ferrari driver lost the title while being in the lead going into the last race. All the previous occurrences of this have been rather dramatic and left big scars in the memory of the Tifosi:
In 1976, Niki Lauda still injured from his fiery Nurburgring accident climbed out of his undamaged car and withdrew minutes into the rain-hit season finale at Fuji, handing the title to James Hunt.
In 1997, Michael Schumacher tried to take out rival Jacques Villeneuve at the Dry Sack corner in Jerez, but ended up in the gravel trap while the Williams driver limped on to take the title.
In 1999, Eddie Irvine was the championship leader going into Suzuka, but it was a controversial year. First Michael Schumacher broke his leg in Silverstone, then both Ferraris were disqualified for illegal barge boards in Sepang, only to be reinstated before the season finale. Mika Hakkinen eventually dominated the final race and won the title for McLaren.
Ten season poles for Vettel
Sebastian Vettel scored his 10th pole of the season in Abu Dhabi, and the 15th for his team.
Sebastian is the seventh driver in history to record at least ten poles in the same season, following Ayrton Senna (13 in 1988 and 1989, 10 in 1990), Nigel Mansell (14 in 1992), Alain Prost (13 in 1993), Mika Hakkinen (11 in 1999), Michael Schumacher (11 in 2001) and Jacques Villeneuve (10 in 1997).
All the aforementioned drivers became champions in the seasons in which they obtained those records, except for Ayrton Senna in 1989 who was of course beaten by McLaren team-mate Alain Prost.
It's worth noting that Vettel qualified in the top 10 on every occasion since last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and has failed to make it to the third qualifying stint only twice in the last two years.
Red Bull matched the record for poles by a team in a single season - 15. The record was set for the first time in 1988 and 1989 by McLaren, then again in 1992 and 1993 by Williams. The 1992-1993 Williams cars were also designed by Adrian Newey, who is the current Red Bull chief designer.
The Red Bulls this year are the only cars that made it into Q3 on every occasion in 2010.
• Lewis Hamilton was back on the front row for the fourth time this year, and for the first since Belgium. He hasn't taken a pole in the last 11 races though, matching his longest drought which went from Brazil 2008 to Hungary 2009.
• Mark Webber qualified fifth, which was his lowest attempt since the opening race in Bahrain, when he was sixth on the grid. He was seventh in Canada, but only because he received a five-place grid penalty for gearbox change.
• Michael Schumacher was able to outqualify Nico Rosberg in back-to-back races for the first time this season. This was only the third season in his F1 career without a pole position, after 1991 (only six races run), 1992 and 1993.
• Vitaly Petrov qualified on the top-10 in back-to-back races for the first time in his career.
• Robert Kubica ended his streak of races qualifying in the top-10. That lasted for 22 rounds before the Pole qualified eleventh in Abu Dhabi.
• Nick Heidfeld was outqualified for three straight races for the first time since the 2008 Australian to French Grands Prix, when Robert Kubica was able to beat him eight times straight.
• Nico Hulkenberg scored his maiden pole in Brazil, but in Abu Dhabi he obtained his second worst result since May, when he started 17th in Turkey.
• Jarno Trulli claimed the 'pole' record for the new teams. The Lotus driver was top new team driver for the eighth time this season in Abu Dhabi, which compares to team-mate Heikki Kovalainen who fastest six times in 2010.
• Bruno Senna managed to outpace Christian Klien as his third attempt.
• Sebastian Vettel took back-to-back wins for the first in his career in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. It was Vettel's tenth win, which brings him level with James Hunt, Ronnie Peterson, Jody Scheckter and Gerhard Berger at 27th in the all-time list.
• Lewis Hamilton scored his 36th podium finish in Abu Dhabi, equalling who reached Graham Hill at the seventeenth all-time place.
• Jenson Button took his 31st podium finish, which puts him 27th on all-time list equal with Jack Brabham.
• Fernando Alonso broke a streak of five podium finishes at absolutely the wrong time. He emerged from the pits on the 16th lap out of the points and never recovered into a championship-winning position.
• Mark Webber also suffered a slump in performance and scored his worst result since China, his two retirements excluded.
• Jaime Alguersuari finished in the points, equalling his best career result, ninth, obtained in Malaysia this year.
• Michael Schumacher recorded his first retirement due to an accident since the 2006 Australian Grand Prix. The German also hasn't retired on the first lap since the Austrian and German (back-to-back) Grands Prix, back in 2000. Michael also ended the season without wins for the first time since his debut back in 1991.
• Vitantonio Liuzzi recorded only one retirement up to Singapore, since then he has retired four times in the last five races, three times on the first lap.
To continue reading this feature, subscribe to Autosport Plus today.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
- Your Autosport Plus subscription includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from a monthly or yearly membership.