Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Heartbroken or heartless? // Different reactions to missing out on the championship title

Published by Christine

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This time last year, following on from the Brazilian GP, half our attention was on newly crowned champion Lewis Hamilton, while the other half was on race winner Felipe Massa. The Brazilian had been astoundingly gracious in defeat, losing as he did, the world driver's championship on the last corner of his home Grand Prix.

One year on and all of our attention has been on Jenson Button, who won the championship in style this weekend. The two contenders who just missed out on the title haven't had much look in, not to mention the race winner, Mark Webber.

All the pictures I've seen of the young Sebastian Vettel have featured melancholy expressions, and never a smile. Even in the team photo celebrating Webber's win, where everyone is supposed to cheer loudly, Seb doesn't appear to be in a cheerful mood.

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It's understandable, of course, that he is sad to have missed out on the title, but he had already thrown his toys out of the pram on Saturday. A terrible qualifying session wrote him out of what would have been a really tough fight back to the win anyway, so he must have realised that it was asking the impossible. Surely he can't still have believed he would be still able to do it come Sunday? He didn't hold back when it came to post race soundbites either:

Second is the first loser. I don't really care about second or third.

- Sebastian Vettel

Compare Seb's mood to Barrichello, though, who has been the perfect gentleman in the face of losing not only his shot for the title but also his second place in the standings. With one race left to go, he has a chance to grab that back, but he wasn't thinking of that. In the Brawn shots, he's smiling, he's happy. He lent Jenson his private plane for goodness sake.

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Part of me prefers Rubens' attitude, it is certainly more constructive. He knows it was Button's fight to lose and is happy for his friend. However, I do quite like the fact that sulky Vettel isn't hiding away is his feelings. We often ask for our drivers to show more emotion, we can't be mad when this happens. Even if it does mean he won't be smiling for a few days.

What do you think? Did Massa raise the benchmark for magnanimity in defeat, and did the home crowd raise Barrichello's spirits as it did Felipe's a year earlier? Should Vettel be cheered or chastised for making such dejected comments?