Saturday, November 21, 2015

Sebastian Vettel is Champion of Champions

For the first time in the history of Race of Champions, a German won the Champion of Champions competition.

Sebastian Vettel defeated Tom Kristensen in the final 2-0 to take the honor. Both races were competed in KTM X-Bows after mechanical issues struck both ROC cars. Kristensen slid into he barrier in the second heat, handing the title to Vettel. Vettel had to defeat David Coulthard in three races in the semifinals. Coulthard was hoping to become the fourth driver to win consecutive Champion of Champions.

Kristensen defeated Alex Buncombe in the semifinals. This was Kristensen's fourth final appearance. He lost to Sébastien Loeb in 2005, Sébastien Ogier in 2011 and Romain Grosjean in 2012. Kristensen's fourth runner-ups have come in France, Germany, Thailand and now the United Kingdom.

Vettel defeated Nico Hülkenberg in the quarterfinals and Petter Solberg in the round of 16. Kristensen defeated Jason Plato in his quarterfinal and Nelson Piquet, Jr. in the round of 16. The other Nations' Cup winner Andy Priaulx lost in the quarterfinals to Buncombe after forcing a third heat with the Blancpain Endurance Series champion. Felipe Massa was the other quarterfinalist.

Daniel Ricciardo, Jenson Button, Susie Wolff, Romain Grosjean, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Bradley Philpot were the drivers eliminated in the round of 16. Hülkenberg and Massa eliminated Ricciardo and Button respectively. Coulthard knocked out his Scottish teammate Wolff. Plato bounced Grosjean while Priaulx ended Hunter-Reay's night. Buncombe beat his fellow Englishman Philpot.

In the preliminary round, Hunter-Reay eliminated José María López while Philpot knocked out Mick Doohan. Priaulx eliminated Wehrlein after the German buried his Euro NASCAR in the barriers. Buncombe knocked out Jolyon Palmer.

Vettel joins Romain Grosjean as the only drivers to win the Champion of Champions competition while actively competing in Formula One. Vettel's victory continues the streak of European drivers winning Champion of Champions. A non-European has never won the competition.