We cover off on a decade of drives from 2010 to 2019.
One of the many questions people will want to know the answer to, who was more influential in the 10’s? Was it the dominance of Sebastian Vettel from 2010 to 2013 or Lewis Hamilton from 2014 onwards? For those who are unsure there was only 3 drivers to win championships from 2010 – 2019 – Nico Rosberg won 1, Vettel won 4 and Lewis won 5. Of the 5 Championships of Hamilton, 4 of them Lewis exceeded 50% of the wins for the season, whereas Vettel only exceeded 50% in 2 of 4 championships (mind you Vettel did win 13 races in the 2013 season, a feat only his fellow countryman Michael Schumacher has achieved).
I still argue Hamilton will be recognised as the most influential of the 10’s but the car discussion is one of notable debate. The commencement of Hamilton’s dominance also coincides with the introduction of the Hybrid technology. Yes, we went from a cool sounding V8 to the sound of “ghosts making love” V6 coupled to electric motor technology. It was common knowledge that Mercedes were honing in on this technology from long before its introduction and frankly they have kept that advantage even in 2019. Would Lewis have been the most winning est driver of the 10’s if Mercedes had not polished their Hybrid wands?
There is no other answer except to say Whincup, Whincup and Whincup. The numbers don’t lie, plain and simple, and while Scott McLaughlin started putting some pressure on the ledger, nobody can deny that Jamie Whincup was the star performer of 10’s. Let’s look at some numbers here – over 3 different generations of Supercars, Whincup amassed 5 Championships, Scott McLaughlin 2, Shane Van Gisbergan 1, James Courtney 1 and Mark Winterbottom 1. There can be no other debate here – unlike the F1 decade where Vettel was a notable adversary we can’t have that argument here.
The Roland Dane gags never tire but the reality is he spent most of the 10’s with the competition looking at his Commodore tail lights. The 888 team has become the supplier of choice for most teams (even the 2010 Championship winning DJR Falcon of James Courtney was a 888 car). Some find his arrogance annoying (I tend to fall into that category) but his 88 driver and car have be to only contender for the most notable in the 10’s.
Top Doorslammer / ProSlammer (ANDRA/IHRA)
While the division of ANDRA and IHRA came into being during this decade it did not deter the efforts of a local Perth legend called John Zappia. He would win 9 Championships in this decade and lost the 10th to the Moits outfit, driven by Paul Mouhayet, tuned by Billy Stocklin. The Zappia legacy is one of the most dominating in all forms of Motorsport in Australia and he is certainly the only contender for the best of the 10’s.
Pro Modified (NHRA)
I want to write Steve Jackson but that would be completely biased. So let’s be unbiased for a moment and with that I would put Rickie Smith and Troy Coughlin on the agenda. From a race wins point of view it has to be Rickie Smith but Troy Coughlin mounts a good debate. Rickie is more of the old school PM racer and had a wealth of knowledge (and opinion) in recent rule changes that have been ongoing in NHRA PM World. I like his demeanour and his ability to tell it like it is. The Pro Modified world in NHRA is certainly a competitive one and while the history in terms of a full decade is slightly short, I can only see this flourishing in years to come.
No matter who I think was the best in the 10’s I am going to be wrong. But here we go – Jimmie Johnson. Overall Championships was 3, and overall wins in this period was 17 wins. Perhaps I let my memory of his 4 other championships in the previous decade taint my view but I still think his performance in the most recent 10 years makes him part of the discussion.
No doubt being funded by the Rick Hendrick power house has enhanced his ability to win championships that said I could build the same argument for a number of competitive drivers.
So let me know what you think – remember this is an opinion piece but that said I have backed my opinion with Championship wins. Isn’t it funny, we think we are living in a more competitive world but the reality is we have seen an increase in domination in the last 10 years across a number of categories. I wonder what the next ten years holds?