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LIVE COMMENTARY: AUTOSPORT AWARDS 2010 - THE 2010 AUTOSPORT AWARDS
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: The 2010 AUTOSPORT Awards
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
AUTOSPORT celebrates 60 years at tonight's Awards
AUTOSPORT celebrates 60 years at tonight's Awards © LAT
21:30 Good evening everyone and a very warm welcome to the 2010 AUTOSPORT Awards, from the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane, central London.

Since 1982, the world's leading motorsport weekly has celebrated the outstanding achievements of drivers across the racing spectrum, as well as the cars, teams and technical innovations that have become the talk of the sport.

Tonight, the 29th edition of this prestigious awards ceremony will take place, and you will find out who the winners are, live, right here on AUTOSPORT.com.

The world champion is here tonight
The world champion is here tonight © LAT
21:33 Earlier this evening, the great and the good from the world of motor sport arrived in the Great Room at the Grosvenor House.

Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel leads a star-studded line-up, supported by past and present heroes of our sport. John Watson, Jenson Button, David Coulthard, Stefan Johansson, Pedro de la Rosa, Eddie Jordan, Sir Stirling Moss, Tony Brooks and Derek Warwick are all here tonight.

Other top echelons of motor racing are also represented. Sam Bird, David Brabham, Anthony Davidson, Gary Paffett, David Richards, Oliver Turvey and Johnny Mowlem are all here to enjoy this glittering occasion.

The invited guests are just coming towards the end of dinner, and soon the all-important Awards will be presented on the main stage.

Autograph hunters outside the Grosvenor House
Autograph hunters outside the Grosvenor House © LAT
21:36 You can join in the proceedings and feel part of the event tonight by sharing your views on the Awards and reacting to events as they happen on the stage.

• Who will become the International Racing Driver of the Year? Fernando Alonso was recently voted the best driver of the season by Formula 1 team bosses. Do you, the AUTOSPORT readership, feel the same way?

• Who got your vote for the 2010 AUTOSPORT.com Rookie of the Year Award?

• 2010 has produced many remarkable moments, but which one stands out among voters as the LG Moment of the Year?

• Most importantly, who is going to have their name etched on the most coveted trophy of them all – the Mclaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award for 2010?

The answers to these and many more questions will be revealed over the next two hours of coverage, exclusively live from the Grosvenor House hotel.

If you are an AUTOSPORT.com forum member, then click on the 'SHOW LIVE FORUM' link below to begin discussion on the event as it happens.

Vettel made a grand entrance down the stairs into the Great Room
Vettel made a grand entrance down the stairs into the Great Room © LAT
21:39 Earlier this evening, the AUTOSPORT Awards kicked off in triumphant fashion with the 1,200 guests rising in unison to applaud new world champion Sebastian Vettel as he made his way down the grand staircase into the Great Room.

A standing ovation fired up memories of the German's charge to the Formula 1 world crown with superlative drives at the final two events of the season in Brazil and Abu Dhabi at just the right time.

The 23-year-old showed incredible maturity and a cool head as he fought off the challenge of no less than three world champions to emerge victorious in the darkness of Yas Marina.

21:42 The Awards began this evening with a presentation to six young stars who could be the names to look out for in the future.

Recently-crowned DTM champion and Force India reserve driver Paul di Resta led the plaudits for six karting champions:

• Nathan Aston (MSA British Cadet champion)
• George Russell (Formula Mini Max champion)
• Ashley Hand (Formula Junior Max champion)
• Ben Barnicoat (Formula KF3 champion)
• Alex Albon (CIK FIA KF3 world champion)
• Jake Dennis (CIK FIA Under 18 world karting champion).

This is Alex Albon's second consecutive visit to the Great Room stage, having won the Formula Kart Stars KF3 championship last year.

All six youngsters enjoyed their outing in front of a highly influential audience and will pick up their trophies at AUTOSPORT International in January.

21:45 From single-seaters to tin tops next, and something of a first at the AUTOSPORT Awards.

Triple world touring car champion Andy Priaulx and BMW M Division boss Dr. Kay Segler were invited up for a special presentation - however, it was not an Award.

Both were on hand to reveal to the Great Room a partial glimpse of the brand new BMW 1-series M Coupe road car adding to the segments unveiled at Oktoberfest and the Paris motor show. Boasting 350 bhp thanks to a 3-litre straight-six turbo engine, it will get you from 0-60 mph in five seconds flat and will top out at 155 mph.

The 1-series M coupe will be on sale to UK consumers from June next year.

Tom Blomqvist blasted his way to the Formula Renault UK title
Tom Blomqvist blasted his way to the Formula Renault UK title © LAT
21:47 Up next was the British Club driver of the Year Award, and it was with great pleasure that 1964 Formula 1 world champion John Surtees handed the trophy to Tom Blomqvist.

The sensational 16-year-old and son of rally legend Stig Blomqvist became the youngest-ever winner of the Formula Renault UK championship with four pole positions and three race victories.

Last month the British star scored a podium at Macau in the Formula BMW Pacific category on his first visit to the principality, capping off a fantastic season.

Those performances duly earned Blomqvist a nomination for the big prize tonight - a shot at the 2010 McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award.

Plato took his second BTCC crown
Plato took his second BTCC crown © LAT
21:50 Priaulx remained on stage for the next Award presentation - that of National Driver of the Year.

2010 was another strong year in the top classes of British motorsport, with Jason Plato emerging as champion after a thrilling four-way decider for the BTCC crown.

Jean-Eric Vergne dominated in British F3, taking the championship with a remarkable 13 wins, while Brits James Calado and Oli Webb completed the top three in the series.

After a video of the year's highlights, Priaulx handed the Award for National Driver of the Year to Jason Plato.

Vettel choked back the tears after his title-winning drive
Vettel choked back the tears after his title-winning drive © LAT
21:54 2010 has provided motor racing enthusiasts with many highlights across all disciplines, whether your passion is for racing or rallying.

The Formula 1 season went down to the wire in Abu Dhabi, with an unprecedented four drivers still in with a chance of the title. Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton all produced magic moments throughout the season, but it was Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull charge that secured his first of what could be many titles.

Once again, the Indycar series went down to a thrilling final showdown and Dario Franchitti made it three championships in four years, clinching the crown by just five points, while in NASCAR Jimmie Johnson secured his fifth title in as many seasons for Hendrick Motorsports.

Sebastien Loeb dominated the World Rally Championship to claim an amazing seventh title in a row, while Juho Hanninen triumphed in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge for Skoda.

Throughout, championships were won and lost, providing thrills, incidents and marvellous moments. We would invite you to raise a glass of your favourite tipple and celebrate a wonderful 2010 motorsport season, as we salute the stars who make it all possible.

Six young drivers are battling for the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award
Six young drivers are battling for the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award © LAT
21:58 The highlight of the evening as always is the presentation of the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award.

The idea to reward an outstanding young British driver was first conceived in 1989, and has since correctly identified a host of motor racing talent. David Coulthard - then the British Formula Ford champion - was the first recipient. Triple IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti, world champion Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson are just some of the names who have won this prestigious Award since its inception.

As motor racing generated more and more television coverage, the AUTOSPORT Awards grew both in size and stature, into the major end-of-season event that we know today.

The prize awarded to the annual winner of the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award has also grown, and is fiercely sought-after. This year's cash prize has doubled thanks to McLaren and the BRDC, and the chosen driver will receive the following:

• £100,000 towards their racing future
• Full membership of the British Racing Drivers' Club
• Puma racewear for a year
• A TW Steel watch
• A test in a McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car.

Dean Smith battled hard in GP3 this season
Dean Smith battled hard in GP3 this season © LAT
22:04 One year ago, Dean Smith was the name on everyone's lips as he collected the big prize here at Grosvenor House.

The 22-year-old scooped the Award on the back of a stunning season in Formula Renault UK and moved up the motor racing ladder this season to GP3, racing against the likes of hotly-tipped Mexican Esteban Gutierrez.

Smith acquitted himself well in his first season following the Formula 1 circus around Europe, finishing seventh in the championship for Carlin. His best finishes were two fourth places at the season-opener at the Circuit de Catalunya and later at a very wet Spa in August.

Last month, the Wolverhampton man got his chance to drive the 2008 McLaren MP4-23 around Silverstone's south circuit and he was delighted by the experience.

"It's just awesome to be in the car," Smith told AUTOSPORT. "Straight away I just got my foot down on the straights to get the confidence and then every lap I just tried to go a little bit quicker. My approach was to do a good job and build my confidence. I didn't want to go too fast too soon."

22:09 The racing highlights of 2010 are being played out on the video screens in the Great Room.

The tension is rising for the six drivers nominated for this year's McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award as they wait to hear who will join the best of British.

They are: Luciano Bacheta, Tom Blomqvist, Jack Harvey, Scott Malvern, Nigel Moore and Lewis Williamson.

McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award contenders

22:12 Now it's time for the main presentations at tonight's AUTOSPORT Awards.

The next Award is voted for by the readers of this website – the 2010 Rookie of the Year Award, sponsored by JMI.

Last year you voted for Kris Meeke, following his amazing victory in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge series for Peugeot.

22:14 Voting took place throughout November on AUTOSPORT.com. The votes have been counted and the winner is about to be revealed.

Five-time Le Mans winner and double world sportscar champion Derek Bell joins host Steve Rider on stage to present the Award.

Kobayashi was spectacular in his first full season
Kobayashi was spectacular in his first full season © LAT
22:16 Bell carefully opens the envolope and announces that Kamui Kobayashi is the AUTOSPORT.com Rookie of the Year.

22:16 The Japanese Sauber driver has thrilled many of you with his attacking driving style and daring overtaking manoeuvres throughout the season.

22:17 Kobayashi will continue again with Sauber in 2011 and here's to a lot more entertaining drives. He walks up onto the stage to collect the Award.

22:18 Next up is the LG Moment of the Year Award. The electronics giant has become a key supporter and partner of Formula 1 and, in association with FOTA, it asked fans to select their favourite moment from 19 images - one from each grand prix weekend during this season.

22:19 Derek Bell remains on stage for the presentation, as a short video of the 19 'moments' that made 2010 is played out on the screens in the Great Room.

Kovalainen extinugushed his burning Lotus in Singapore
Kovalainen extinugushed his burning Lotus in Singapore © LAT
22:19 Bell announces that Heikki Kovalainen's fiery exit from the closing laps of the Singapore Grand Prix is your LG Moment of the Year.

22:20 Kovalainen retired from the night race with just a handful of laps remaining and, when he couldn't find a marshal's post, he decided to park his flaming Lotus alongside the pitwall.

With the help of the Williams team, he grabbed an extinguisher and skillfully put out the flames.

22:20 The fireman himself can't be here tonight, but has accepted the Award in a video message played out to the great room.

In it he explains that following his Race of Champions crash last weekend, doctors advised him to take it easy for a few days. He went on to wish everyone a great evening.

22:21 The AUTOSPORT Pioneering and Innovation Award recognises the never-ending research and development across the motorsport spectrum.

Previous winners since the Award's inception in 2004 include the SAFER barrier, the Audi R10 - the first diesel-powered prototype sportscar to claim victory at Le Mans - the Head and Neck Support (HANS) device, which is now used widely across all forms of the sport and the Singapore Grand Prix, Formula 1's first night race.

Last year the Award was presented to F1 in Schools.

McLaren exploited a loophole with its F-duct
McLaren exploited a loophole with its F-duct © LAT
22:22 Derek Bell remains on stage with host Steve Rider and announces that the McLaren F-duct has won the Pioneering and Innovation Award.

22:22 McLaren's chief engineer Tim Goss and chief aerodynamicst Doug McKiernan are invited up to the stage to collect the trophy.

22:23 Goss began his Formula 1 career in 1986 with the Cosworth before moving to McLaren in 1990, and has subsequently overseen many of the team's race-winning machines working with talented engineers and designers such as Adrian Newey, Pat Fry and Giorgio Ascanelli.

22:24 Since 1985 the John Bolster Award for Technical Excellence has honoured outstanding technical achievement in motor racing.

Previous winners of the award read as a who's who in motor racing technology: Don Panoz, Carl Haas, Ross Brawn, Roger Penske and the late Ken Tyrrell have all been presented with this coveted accolade.

22:24 Steve Rider invites Red Bull team boss Christian Horner onto the stage to present the first of two John Bolster Awards tonight.

22:26 Horner is asked about Red Bull's 2010 campaign but he can't resist yet another dig at his sparring partner for interviews, Eddie Jordan.

Bridgestone has wrapped up 14 years in F1
Bridgestone has wrapped up 14 years in F1 © LAT
22:27 Horner announces that Bridgestone Motorsport is the recipient of a John Bolster Award for technical excellence.

22:28 Bridgestone director of motorsport, Hiroshi Yasukawa, is invited onto the stage to collect the Award.

22:29 Bridgestone entered Formula 1 in 1997 with its Potenza brand of tyres and almost carried Damon Hill to an amazing victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix that year.

Following Goodyear's withdrawal from the sport at the end of the season, the Japanese tyre manufacturer was left as the sole tyre supplier until Michelin made it a two-way fight again in 2001.

But Bridgestone was mostly able to see off the French manufacturer's challenge, most famously at the 2005 American Grand Prix at Indianapolis. Having completed extensive research on a new 'diamond cut' track surface the Potenza tyres proved more than a match for the conditions, while chaos reigned elsewhere.

Bridgestone became the sole tyre supplier once again after Michelin left the sport t the end of 2006. In its 14-year tenure, the company has won 11 world driver's championships and 175 grands prix .

22:29 Christian Horner is asked to remain on the stage for the second of tonight's John Bolster Awards.

Chip Ganassi celebrates with his charge Dario Franchitti
Chip Ganassi celebrates with his charge Dario Franchitti © LAT
22:30 Following his stunning achievements in both Indycar racing and NASCAR, Horner announces that Chip Ganassi will receive a John Bolster Award.

22:30 The Great Room breaks out into another round of rapturous applause as Ganassi makes his way through the tables and towards the stage.

22:33 A special message from Ganassi's double CART champion, Alex Zanardi, is played out in the room.

22:34 "You changed my life and have been a great friend," says Zanardi to Ganassi.

22:35 Already this evening we have paid homage to the skills and achievements of some of the finest open wheel designers and team strategists in the world. Now it is time to move things sideways – quite literally – with the Awards for Rally Car of the Year and International Rally Driver of the Year.

Ford and Citroen once again battled across the globe for supremecy in the World Rally Championship while in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge Skoda fought off a strong attack from Peugeot.

22:36 11-time rally winner and 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist is invited onto the stage to present both rallying Awards.

22:38 Highlights of another spectacular season of rallying are played out to the guests.

Citroen was class of the field with its C4 WRC
Citroen was class of the field with its C4 WRC © LAT
22:39 Blomqvist reveals that the Citroen C4 WRC is the 2010 Rally Car of the Year.

AUTOSPORT readers have given it this coveted accolade once again, following up success for the C4 in this category last year.

22:40 Blomqvist remains on the stage and quickly announces that Sebastien Loeb is once again the Rally Driver of the Year.

22:44 Next up is the Racing Car of the Year Award and there are several top contenders from Formula 1 and sports prototype racing. Last year, the then Brawn GP team took the honour with its Brawn BGP 001.

This year, Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull all produced race-winning cars in Formula 1, while at Le Mans Peugeot improved the speed of its 908 HDi FAP but fell short on reliability as Audi delivered a 24-hour masterclass with the R15 TDI Plus.

22:45 BRDC president and 1996 Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill is invited up to the stage to present the Award.

22:47 Highlights of a thrilling Formula 1 season are shown to the 1,200 invited guests.

The Red Bull RB6 was the fastest in F1 this year
The Red Bull RB6 was the fastest in F1 this year © LAT
22:49 Hill announces that the Red Bull RB6 is the Racing Car of the Year and he presents the Award to its designer, Adrian Newey.

"To win the championship was amazing. We knew Abu Dhabi was going to be tough. The race was like a game of poker, but we were confident if everything went smoothly, Sebastian [Vettel] would win the race."
Adrian Newey, Red Bull

22:55 The Gregor Grant Award, named after AUTOSPORT's founding editor, is presented to motorsport personalities in recognition of lifetime achievement.

Previous recipients of the Gregor Grant Award include Bernie Ecclestone, Sir Jack Brabham, Tom Wheatcroft, Sir Stirling Moss and Professor Sid Watkins.

22:57 Lady Moss is now drawing tonight's raffle, with the winner scooping a year's use of a BMW M3.

Barrichello's first win was an emotional one
Barrichello's first win was an emotional one © LAT
22:59 Damon Hill remains on stage with Steve Rider and announces that Rubens Barrichello will receive the first of two Gregor Grant Awards this evening.

22:59 There is huge applause around the Great Room as the popular Brazilian heads to the stage.

Barrichello made his Formula 1 debut at the 1993 South African Grand Prix for Jordan. In a career spanning almost 18 years, he has driven for six teams at 307 race weekends - winning 11 races.

Barrichello will continue with Williams in 2011, as both look to return to the Formula 1 podium.

"It's such an honour to be here. All my mechanics and engineers are here tonight. I had a terrific time in England, I've lived here for a very long time. It's like a second home for me. I'm so proud to be here tonight to get this trophy."
Rubens Barrichello, Williams

23:03 Damon Hill remains on hand to present the next Award.

Sir Jackie Stewart winning the 1968 Dutch Grand Prix for Matra
Sir Jackie Stewart winning the 1968 Dutch Grand Prix for Matra © LAT
23:05 A great round of applause greets the announcement that Sir Jackie Stewart is tonight's other Gregor Grant Award winner for his outstanding services to motorsport over the last four decades.

23:07 Highlights of the Scot's remarkable career are shown on the screens around the Great Room.

23:08 Staying with the Scottish theme, David Coulthard is next up onto the stage to present the British Competition Driver of the year Award.

23:10 The British Competition Driver of the Year is presented to an outstanding British driver in any class at International level.

Previous winners in this category include great names such as John Watson, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill. Last year this Award was won by Jenson Button.

23:11 Coulthard announces that Dario Franchitti is the British Competition Driver of the Year.

23:12 Franchitti takes the warm applause of the Great Room as he makes his way up to collect his Award.

23:15 The penultimate Award tonight is the International Racing Driver of the Year Award, which is open to professional drivers competing worldwide. This award often goes to the year’s F1 star, but Nigel Mansell has won it as Indycar title holder.

23:16 David Coulthard remains on the stage to announce the winner of the Award.

Vettel is the International Racing Driver of the Year
Vettel is the International Racing Driver of the Year © LAT
23:17 And the International Racing Driver of the Year Award goes to ... Sebastian Vettel.

23:19 The world champion makes his way up onto the stage to cheers and applause - particularly from the large contingent of Red Bull staff here.

"It was a difficult season lots of ups and down and lots of things not going to plan. It wasn't easy to keep the focus. The problems didn't stop towards the end of the season, but we kept our head down, kept focused. You could feel the special atmosphere in Abu Dhabi. "
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull

23:25 In 2010, AUTOSPORT partnered with Castrol to launch an innovative website providing an objective measurement of driver talent across all levels and disciplines of motorsport.

Vettel topped the Castrol Rankings in 2010 and is now presented with the inaugural champion's trophy.

Find out more about the Castrol Rankings

23:27 And so, the moment that many people have been waiting for and the reason why we are all here tonight - the 2010 McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Driver Award.

For one of the six nominated drivers, a dream will be realised and a path to motor racing stardom created in the next few minutes.

23:29 To remind you, these are the six candidates:

Luciano Bacheta, 20, Formula Renault Eurocup runner-up
Tom Blomqvist, 16, Formula Renault UK champion
Jack Harvey, 17, Formula BMW Europe runner-up
Scott Malvern, 21, British Formula Ford runner-up
Nigel Moore, 18, Formula Palmer Audi champion
Lewis Williamson, 20, Formula Renault UK runner-up

23:30 Paul di Resta and Dario Franchitti are invited back to the stage to present tonight's big Award.

23:31 The McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award tests took place at Silverstone – the home of British motorsport and the British Racing Drivers' Club.

The six finalists chosen by the panel from AUTOSPORT readers' nominations took part in two days of running on the Grand Prix circuit with Formula 2 and BTCC cars.

The seven judges then interviewed the half-dozen at the McLaren Technology Centre, before settling on the outstanding candidate from the best of this year’s British driving talent.

23:33 The prize on offer is amazing, and sets drivers on a path to further success.

• £100,000 towards his racing future
• Full membership of the British Racing Drivers' Club
• Puma racewear for a year
• A TW Steel watch
• A test in a McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car.

23:35 There is anticipation across the Great Room as one of six young drivers is moments away from a major career boost, and the Silverstone test highlights are played out on the big screen.

Lewis Williamson scoops the big prize
Lewis Williamson scoops the big prize © LAT
23:35 Lewis Williamson is the winner of the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award for 2010!

23:36 The Williamson table explodes with delight as the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner makes his way through the crowd and up to the stage.

23:37 Williamson is the fourth Scot to take the honour, following in the footsteps of David Coulthard, Andrew Kirkaldy and Paul di Resta.

"I gave it 100% and there's not a lot more you can do!"
Lewis Williamson, McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner

23:40 So Lewis Williamson joins an impressive list of McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winners over the last two decades and, as the guests mingle and chat in the Great Room, we look forward to monitoring his progress next season.

23:42 Congratulations to all our Award winners tonight. They are sure to provide motorsport fans with more great moments in next year.

That was the 29th AUTOSPORT Awards. Thanks for celebrating a marvelous season with us this evening. Stick with AUTOSPORT for more of the world's best motorsport coverage in 2011.

  AWARD WINNERS UPDATED LIVE 
Awards
Award Winner
British Club Driver of the YearTom Blomqvist
National Driver of the YearJason Plato
AUTOSPORT.com Rookie of the YearKamui Kobayashi
LG Moment of the YearHeikki Kovalainen extinguishes his burning Lotus
AUTOSPORT Pioneering and Innovation AwardMcLaren F-duct
AUTOSPORT John Bolster AwardBridgestone
AUTOSPORT John Bolster AwardChip Ganassi
Rally Car of the YearCitroen C4 WRC
International Rally Driver of the YearSebastian Loeb
Racing Car of the YearRed Bull RB6
AUTOSPORT Gregor Grant AwardRubens Barrichello
AUTOSPORT Gregor Grant AwardSir Jackie Stewart
British Competition Driver of the YearDario Franchitti
International Racing Driver of the YearSebastian Vettel
McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC AwardLewis Williamson
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Emlyn Hughes and Geoff Creighton are AUTOSPORT's live commentary team.

Tonight, they exclusively report live from the the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London as AUTOSPORT hosts its annual celebration of outstanding personal and team achievements from the past season.

All photographs © LAT.