Monthly Archives: November 2012

Kimi Raikkonen takes stunning win in breathtaking Abu Dhabi GP

Kimi Raikkonen has taken a surprise victory in one of the most tense and exciting races in recent times – in Abu Dhabi, of all places.

The Finn inherited the lead after Lewis Hamilton’s engine expired, and he was unbeatable in terms of raw pace. Fernando Alonso did well to move up to second place, but Sebastian Vettel was the star of the day, dropping to the back twice, and still fighting his way through to a podium finish.

In contrast to expectations, the race was jam-packed with unpredictability, and brilliant racing. Here is what happened:

At the start, Mark Webber had an absolute howler of a getaway, allowing Kimi Raikkonen to waltz into 2nd place from 4th. Jenson Button was quickly passed by Fernando Alonso, as the Ferrari made its way into 4th place.

A 4-car clash occurred at the first corner, as Nico Hulkenberg squeezed Bruno Senna, Paul di Resta and himself into an unavoidable accident. Romain Grosjean was then clipped by Nico Rosberg, and the Lotus crawled back to the pits.

Up front, Lewis Hamilton made a mistake on lap 2, nearly being passed by Kimi Raikkonen, but the McLaren just about held his position.

At the back, Sebastian Vettel began to make progress, but clipped his front wing against Bruno Senna’s Williams, suffering minor damage. Sebastian wasn’t fazed though, and made his way up as far as 13th before lap 10.

However, the race took another sharp twist, with the safety car deployed for a scary crash between Rosberg and Narain Karthikeyan. The HRT backed off going into turn 16, and the Mercedes smashed over Narain, forcing both cars out on the spot.

Red Bull took this opportunity to pit Vettel, dropping him to the back of the field. At the restart, the sister Red Bull put Alonso under huge pressure, but Fernando managed to hold onto 4th place.

From 19th, Sebastian got to work again, passing both Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean within a matter of corners. However, he passed Grosjean off the track, and was forced to allow the Lotus past. A lap later, the Red Bull sailed past again to secure 17th place.

Then, as if the title battle didn’t need another twist, it got another one – Lewis Hamilton suffered a sudden engine failure, causing him to coast to a halt. A dejected Lewis exited his car, and at the same time, Alonso found his way past Pastor Maldonado for 2nd place.

Mark Webber then closed in on the Venezuelan, but put the Williams under too much pressure, clashing with Pastor at turn 12, spinning the Red Bull and leaving him in 7th. Vettel quickly closed in on his teammate, and a conveniently timed pit stop for Mark ensured that there was no inter-team battle.

After his stop, Webber began to battle with Felipe Massa, resulting in yet another clash at turn 16. They clashed wheels, with Webber running wide, and Massa suffering an embarrassing spin.

The majority of the frontrunners pitted around lap 30, with Button finding his way past Maldonado in the meantime. Vettel stayed out, but it became clear that his used tyres were beginning to wear. He had found his way up to 2nd, but Alonso was now reeling him in at several tenths per second.

Red Bull made the sensible call, and pitted Vettel on lap 37, with Sebastian emerging in 4th place. Within a lap, a bizarre crash caused another safety car, and a perfect opportunity for Vettel.

In the battle for 5th, Paul di Resta shoved Sergio Perez off the track, who clashed with Romain Grosjean once he rejoined the circuit. A damaged Grosjean then moved into Webber’s path, eliminating all 3 cars on the spot.

On the restart, there were no major changes of position, but the battle at the front began to intensify. Button in 3rd was under pressure from Vettel behind, while Alonso began to slowly reel in Raikkonen.

The last 10 laps were incredibly tense. With only a few laps to go, Sebastian made a brave move on Jenson to take 3rd place, and reduce the damage to his championship lead. Meanwhile, Fernando was able to close the gap to a single second on the last lap, but Kimi was able to keep it together, and took an incredible victory.

Pastor Maldonado had a quiet run to 5th, followed by Kamui Kobayashi, Felipe Massa, Bruno Senna, Paul di Resta and Daniel Ricciardo.

The gap between Vettel and Alonso is 10 points, and despite Kimi’s win, he has now been ruled out of the title bid. The F1 circus will roll up in Austin in two weeks time, where the next plot twist will take place…

Vettel thrown out of qualifying, will start from 24th after fuel infringement

In a stewards’ decision which may well prove to be the pivotal point of the 2012 season, Sebastian Vettel has been thrown to the back of the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel pulled over at the end of Q3 today, and failed to make it to parc ferme. After inspection, the stewards found that his car had only 850ml of fuel in it – less than the 1 litre required for a fuel sample.

The same breach of rule occurred to Lewis Hamilton in Spain, with the same reprocussions.

Fernando Alonso will now start from 6th position, and is in a perfect position to claw back the 13-point deficit. Tomorrow’s race has taken an extremely exciting twist…

Update: Team principal Christian Horner has stated that Vettel will start from the pit lane. This implies that Red Bull will be changing bits and pieces on Vettel’s car overnight.

Hamilton back on form, takes pole in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton has taken his first pole position in Abu Dhabi since the Singapore Grand Prix. The McLaren driver was miles ahead of anyone else, taking pole by over 0.3 seconds ahead of Mark Webber.

Sebastian Vettel was disappointed with 3rd, but Fernando Alonso was even angrier with 7th position. Here is what happened:

Q1

Pastor Maldonado was the first driver to set a 1:42, while the Lotuses could only manage 1:43s.

Fernando Alonso was out on track early, but could only pip Maldonado’s time. Jenson Button could only take 3rd place, even when most frontrunners hadn’t left the pits yet. Surprisingly, Maldonado set another good lap time, retaking the fastest time by 0.2 tenths.

Lewis Hamilton had a momumental lock-up on his first flying lap, ruining his front right tyre. Alonso retook the lead, until Lewis’ next attempt slashed the top time by 0.6 seconds.

Sebastian Vettel typically left his laps until late, but scraped the barrier on his first lap, causing a huge array of sparks to come out of his right rear tyre. His next lap left him 5th, while Mark Webber took 2nd.

Jean-Eric Vergne had a huge spin while lying 18th, which sealed his exit from Q1. Charles Pic impressed his team by splitting the Caterhams.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:44.048

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:44.956

20) Charles Pic – 1:45.089

21) Vitaly Petrov – 1:45.151

22) Timo Glock – 1:45.426

23) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:45.766

24) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:46.382

Q2

Again, Maldonado impressed right away in Q2, setting a 1:41.9 to take top spot in the early parts of Q2, until he was displaced by both Lotus drivers.

Following a dominative lap in Q1, Hamilton again went fastest in Q2. Vettel’s first lap was aborted, after he took too much kerb on the exit of a corner.

On his next lap, he took 2nd place, while teammate Webber pipped Hamilton’s time by just under a tenth of a second. However, that didn’t last long, as Lewis immediately responded with a 1:40.901.

It appeared as if Mercedes were going to have another embarassing exit from Q2, but Nico Rosberg pulled off a good lap to put himself 7th. After their impressive showing in Friday practice, Force India could only manage 11th and 13th.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:42.019

12) Sergio Perez – 1:42.084

13) Paul di Resta – 1:42.218

14) Michael Schumacher – 1:42.289

15) Bruno Senna – 1:42.330

16) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:42.606

17) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:42.765

Q3

Kimi Raikkonen was the first out of the pits, his Lotus sparking heavily as he undertook his first lap. A 1:41.756 set the benchmark, which was quickly annihilated by Alonso, Rosberg, Hamilton, Button and Webber.

Sebastian Vettel took 2nd, but was almost half a second away from the charging Hamilton. A lock-up for Felipe Massa put him out of contention, with the second Ferrari only taking 6th place.

After good showings in Q1 and Q2, Pastor Maldonado was able to split the Red Bulls, taking 3rd position. After Mark Webber displaced the Williams and his teammate, Vettel was unable to improve, finishing in 3rd. He pulled over at the end of the session, indicating a car problem.

Fernando Alonso struggled on his final lap, and was knocked all the way down to 7th place by Button and Raikkonen.

Hamilton was left unchallenged to pole, and was absolutely ecstatic as he aborted his final lap. The championship battle has taken another twist, with both Vettel and Alonso further back than they would have wanted.

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