Lotus Racing secure 10th place bonus

Heikki Kovalainen's 17th place finish in Abu Dhabi on Sunday was enough for Hingham-based Lotus Racing to secure a top 10 finish in the 2010 Formula One constructors' championship.

The final race of the season saw the Finn bring home his T127 ahead of 2010's two other new teams.

And although Lotus Racing finished the season without a point, the top 10 finish ensures Tony Fernandes' team has picked up the final instalment of F1 rights money that is shared between the top teams.

Fellow new boys Hispania Racing and Virgin Racing will miss out on the extra payments, worth several million pounds to each team.

Kovalainen said: 'What a fantastic end to our season. The race itself was just great, right from when the lights went out. I got the best start of the season, made up places immediately and from that point on I just got my head down and got on with it.

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'This is the perfect way to end our first season, and gives us a huge boost for next year. We finished on a high, achieved all our goals and we have a very exciting future ahead of us. Thank you to the whole team for a fantastic season – I can't wait for next year.'

The Finn's last statement sees to indicate he will be with Fernandes' outfit next season – whatever it is called. The Hingham team are yet to confirm their 2011 driver line-up.

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Veteran Jarno Trulli's season has been dogged by bad luck – and his final race of 2010 ended in similar fashion, three laps from the end with a rear wing failure.

Sebastian Vettel's commanding race win earned the 23-year-old German his first drivers' title and a Red Bull Racing double, having been confirmed as constructors' champions in Brazil a week earlier.

Vettel's closest championship rivals, team-mate Mark Webber and Frenando Alonso, got their strategy all wrong and struggled to match the German's pace as they finished seventh and eighth respectively.

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