The 2010 Formula 1 season was everything current-day Grand Prix racing aspires to be.
You had three teams fighting for the title, five drivers equally capable of winning on any given day and for the only time in the history of the World Championship, a four-way shootout heading to finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was favourite as he headed to Yas Marina on 246 points, eight ahea of Mark Webber, 15 clear of Sebastian Vettel while Lewis Hamilton was hanging on by the barest of margins on 222 points, 24 behind with just 25 left on the board and needing the miracle of all miracles to claim a second title.
As it happened, the first lap Safety Car allowed the likes of Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov to change to the Hard tyres and run to the end, while the struggling Webber was hauled in early by Red Bull.
Failing to notice the threat of leader Vettel, Ferrari covered Webber with Alonso and the Australian rejoining behind Petrov. Which is where they stayed.
Vettel went onto win the race and championship as Alonso could only manage seventh with fourth the minimum if Vettel won.
Hamilton would finish second in the race and fourth in the standings on 240 points, just 16 behind champion Vettel.
And if it was not for a forgotten crash in the Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton would have been World Champion in 2010.
2010 Spanish Grand Prix
In the closing stages of the visit to Barcelona, Webber was leading with Hamilton second, Alonso third and Vettel running in fourth.
But on Lap 64 of 66, rounding Turn 3, the left-front tyre failed due to a puncture caused by a damaged wheel rim.
He went into the barriers, losing 18 points as Alonso and Vettel – who was managing severe brake problems – were promoted to second and third, banking an extra three points apiece.
As the tables below show, if this one incident is subject to revision and Hamilton’s 18 points for second place are reinstated while the rest of the season is left untouched, he would have won the title.
Poor results also add to lost title
While Hamilton did lose a massive 18 points in Spain, a bad run of form just after the summer break has more to answer for as to why he lost the 2010 championship.
After winning the Belgian Grand Prix, Hamilton moved to the top of the standings, but this was his only finish in four races.
He retired from the Hungarian GP through a gearbox failure and then clumsily left his right-front wheel dangling up the inside of Felipe Massa at Monza’s second chicane on the opening lap of the Italian GP – cue broken suspension.
A collision with Webber in Singapore meant he was 20 points behind the Red Bull heading to Japan where a lowly fifth-place result all but ended his hopes, even with two second place finishes in Korea and Abu Dhabi and a fourth in Brazil sandwiched in-between.