Vettel victorious at Abu Dhabi

Sebastian Vettel, the 2013 Formula 1 world champion, continued his winning streak with his seventh consecutive victory at the Yas Marina circuit.

Pole sitter Mark Webber did not make the best start and was overtaken on either side by his Red Bull team-mate Vettel and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.

As the Mercedes defended from Webber, Vettel composed his familiar fine opening lap form by going 1.9 seconds clear.

With Vettel pulling away up front, Webber gradually fell away from Rosberg and was soon under pressure from the Lotus of Romain Grosjean.

Webber and Grosjean pitted together on lap eight and returned in the same order, while Vettel was one of the last frontrunners to stop as he continued to lap faster on his old soft tyres than all those on fresh mediums.

The leading Red Bull finally came in at the end of lap four and resumed in the lead, ahead of the Ferrari duo of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, both of whom had yet to stop.

Vettel continued to reel off the remaining laps, nearly lapping the entire field and crossed the start/finish line recording his tenth victory of the season.

Webber recovered from his poor first stint by closing Rosberg down once they were both on the medium-compound Pirellis and sweeping round the outside of the Mercedes on lap twenty.

Rosberg kept the Red Bull in sight thereafter, but did not have the pace to seriously challenge Webber.

Similarly, Grosjean was unable to keep up with the Mercedes. The Lotus driver only narrowly cleared the Ferrari pair after his second stop before putting on a late charge that fell just short of usurping Rosberg.

The main excitement in the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the fight for fifth, as a number of cars closed on the one-stopping Force India of Paul di Resta.

Lewis Hamilton, who felt a vibration and had his team to check the brakes before the start, had already lost ground in the second stint.

Unlike Webber and Grosjean, the Mercedes driver was unable to overtake the yet-to-stop Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez.

Once the Sauber pitted, Hamilton caught the Force India of the late-stopping Adrian Sutil, which was on mediums.
By then the Mercedes had Massa, Nico Hulkenberg and Alonso not far behind.

All three made it by Sutil’s Force India, but not before Massa had brilliantly dived by the Mercedes to run fifth. Alonso also got by Hulkenberg during the battle.

As the other cars pitted, Alonso closed on Massa before the Brazilian stopped.

Alonso left his final pit-stop until there were just eleven laps to go and changed to softs. He rejoined just ahead of Massa and alongside Jean-Eric Vergne, getting ahead of the Toro Rosso as the Ferrari jumped over the kerbs.

The move attracted the attention of the race stewards and will be investigated post-race.

But Alonso charged on and started closing on Hamilton, who in turn was closing on di Resta, setting up a battle for fifth over the last half-dozen laps.

It took Alonso no time to overcome the Mercedes on lap 50 and he passed di Resta soon after.

As Alonso charged on, setting fastest lap on the final lap, di Resta successfully held off Hamilton for an impressive sixth.

With Vergne fading on his old rubber and eventually pitting, Massa moved up to eighth position, while Sergio Perez’s McLaren overtook Sutil on the final lap to take ninth.

Charles Pic led the fight of Formula 1’s minnows early on, but was overcome by Giedo van der Garde. Never the less, he finished well clear on the Marussias, headed by Jules Bianchi.

After being put to the back after qualifying for failing a floor deflection test, Kimi Raikkonen’s race ended in just 300 metres…  He tried to pass the Caterhams at the first corner and the ensuing contact with van der Garde put the Lotus out.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, race results after 55 laps:

1.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1h38m06.106s
2.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault      +30.8s
3.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              +33.6s
4.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         +34.8s
5.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               +1m07.1s
6.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes  +1m18.1s
7.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              +1m19.2s
8.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari               +1m22.8s
9.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes      +1m31.1s
10.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  +1m33.2s
11.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault      +1m35.9s
12.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes      +1m43.6s
13.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        +1m44.1s
14.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari        +1 lap
15.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault      +1 lap
16.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    +1 lap
17.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    +1 lap
18.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault      +1 lap
19.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault      +1 lap
20.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth     +2 laps
21.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth     +2 laps

Fastest lap: Alonso 1m43.434

Not classified/retirements:
Kimi Raikkonen      Lotus-Renault        0 lap

World Championship standings, round 17:

1.  Vettel        347
2.  Alonso        217
3.  Raikkonen     183
4.  Hamilton      175
5.  Webber        166
6.  Rosberg       159
7.  Grosjean      114
8.  Massa         106
9.  Button         60
10.  Di Resta       48
11.  Hulkenberg     39
12.  Perez          35
13.  Sutil          29
14.  Ricciardo      19
15.  Vergne         13
16.  Gutierrez       6
17.  Maldonado       1

1.  Red Bull-Renault          513
2.  Mercedes                  324
3.  Ferrari                   323
4.  Lotus-Renault             297
5.  McLaren-Mercedes           95
6.  Force India-Mercedes       77
7.  Sauber-Ferrari             55
8.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         32
9.  Williams-Renault            1

Next race: Austin Grand Prix, Circuit of the Americans. November 15-17.

9 thoughts to “Vettel victorious at Abu Dhabi”

  1. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has admitted that he must do better after finishing the race behind his team-mate Nico Rosberg. has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton admitted he has to do a better job to get back on Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg’s pace after a poor Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    Although Hamilton qualified on the same row as Rosberg in fourth place, but while the German held position in the race and claimed a podium finish, Hamilton fell back to seventh.

    A poor start and getting stuck behind slower cars on different strategies contributed to his slump.

    “Clearly with Nico’s result the car’s better than what I’m able to bring home with it,” said Hamilton.

    “Same old… different day. It’s the same every race. It can’t be other people’s fault.

    “Nico’s been getting great points for the team. I just need to work harder to try to do the same.”

    Hamilton had a last-minute scare on the grid when a rear brake problem had to be fixed.

    “The guys did an incredible job to put the car together,” he said.

    “I just want everyone back home to know I’ll keep pushing.”

  2. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has said that Jean Eric-Vergne gave him no room as he exited the pits. has the news story.

    Fernando Alonso believes Jean-Eric Vergne should have given him more space when he went off the track to overtake the Toro Rosso in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    Alonso came out alongside Vergne when the Ferrari rejoined following its second pitstop.

    As they went side by side, Alonso put all four wheels onto the asphalt run-off area through Turn 2 and emerged in front.

    The Formula 1 stewards are currently investigating the incident.

    “Obviously it’s always a bit of a question mark what they’ll decide,” said Alonso.

    “You have to leave a space when you have a car alongside.

    “He didn’t give a space and I had to go outside of the track.

    “He will say I went off the track to pass him, so we’ll see.”

    While Vergne eventually had to pit again and finished only 17th, Alonso battled through to fifth, having only been 11th in qualifying.

    “Obviously we lost a little time in traffic, but fourth place was 20 seconds in front of us, so I think fifth was the maximum possible,” Alonso said.

    “We had one Mercedes in front, one behind, and one Lotus in front, one behind, so we minimised the loss in the constructors’.”

  3. Sebastian Vettel does not believe he will be fined for celebrating a record-equalling seventh consecutive Formula 1 victory with donuts in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    The Red Bull driver was fined for performing donuts and leaving his car after he took his fourth world title in the Indian GP.

    But he believes things will be different this time.

    “I brought the car back,” he said. “I stuck to the rules – I hope we can provide a fuel sample because I burned some extra fuel.

    “I spoke to the stewards after India, I was just happy. It is really nice with people all around and I think they loved it.”

    AUTOSPORT opinion: F1’s donut dilemma

    Vettel’s dominant victory in Abu Dhabi is his seventh in a row, matching Michael Schumacher’s record at Ferrari. Only Alberto Ascari has scored more, during the world championship’s Formula 2 era in 1952-53.

    Vettel claims, however, that records are not what motivate him.

    “It is not what makes me jump in the car,” he said. “The thing is that people see seven races, people don’t see the challenge it takes every single race to nail it.

    “I think it is exceptional we got everything right, the pitstops, the reliability. The numbers are not important to me but equally I am very, very proud. There are the most special drivers in the world in F1, I am old enough to realise.

    “I remember when I was a small kid watching F1 and Michael was with Ferrari and dominating F1 and had a very strong car, and strong team spirit for many years.

    “To equal some of the stuff he managed to achieve is very special, not just for me but the whole team. They were special years and difficult to repeat a season like that.

    “It comes once in a lifetime, we can probably say it came across twice.”


  4. McLaren’s Jenson Button has accepted that he was to blame for that first lap collision. has the news story.

    Jenson Button admitted he was at fault for the first-lap incident that consigned his McLaren to a 12th place finish in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    After a disappointing qualifying session, Button locked up under braking for Turn 1 at the start and made contact with the back of Paul di Resta’s Force India, breaking his front wing.

    He attempted to continue but pitted on the third lap for a new wing, switching to the soft tyre in the process, before stopping again on lap 11 and running to the end on the medium-compound Pirellis.

    “I suppose you make your own luck, and starting down in 12th you’ve got to expect a little argy-bargy,” he said.

    “I just locked both fronts into Turn 1, a car on the right came across and I just couldn’t slow the car down and drove into the back of Paul.

    “It was my fault, it broke the front wing and made the rest of the race difficult.

    “In a way, to finish 12th and that close to 10th isn’t so bad considering how far we were behind. It was a good race in terms of performance but I didn’t make the most of it.”

    Despite his misfortune – the third time in four races he has been involved in contact on the opening lap – Button believes McLaren can end a difficult season on a relative high in the final two races.

    “It’s not really going my way,” he said. “The car’s been there in the last three races, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    “I’m laughing at how bad it’s been but it has to change, and it will.

    “I’m looking forward to next year, you could say that. I can’t wait [for the season to end] but I still think we can have some fun in the next two races, I just need get through lap one.”

  5. After starting on pole position, Mark Webber made a bad start which affected his race but the Australian denies that this cost him victory at Yas Marina. has the details.

    Mark Webber believes Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel was a class apart in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and that his own poor start did not cost him victory.

    Webber beat Vettel to pole position at Yas Marina, but made one of the mediocre getaways that have blighted his 2013 campaign.

    While Webber dropped to third, Vettel took an immediate lead and dominated.

    Webber was able to repass Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes on lap 20, but Vettel went on to win by half a minute.

    “I don’t think the start was decisive,” Webber insisted. “Seb was in another category today.

    “I got the maximum result possible. He was quick and very, very strong.

    “I was very slow in the first stint, very, very poor at dealing with the rear, and that makes [the tyre degradation] even worse.

    “It was a case of regrouping at the stops after that and our pace wasn’t too bad after that, but the race was gone.

    “In the end we’re probably sitting here with the results we all deserved.”

    The second place moved Webber closer to Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton in the battle for third in the 2013 drivers’ championship.

    With two races of his Formula 1 career to go, he is nine points behind Hamilton and 17 adrift of Raikkonen.

  6. Fernando Alonso has escaped sanction from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stewards for going off-track to complete a pass on Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso.

    The Ferrari driver came out alongside Vergne when he rejoined following his second pitstop.

    The two cars went side by side, with Alonso going over the circuit boundaries at Turn 2 as he edged ahead.

    A post-race investigation was announced, prompting a late charge from Alonso in which he set fastest lap while trying to pull a gap to those behind in case of any penalty.

    But he will keep his fifth place after the stewards, including former Lotus and Arrows Formula 1 driver Martin Donnelly, decided no further action was necessary.

    The stewards agreed with Alonso’s assessment that he had not been left room, and felt it was a racing incident in which neither driver gained an advantage.

    “While car #3 did leave the track at Turn 3-4 the stewards believe that he had no choice, as car #18 closed on him,” said an official statement.

    “Car #18 was at the end of his stint with worn tyres and was fully committed to the turn as car #3 exited the pits.

    “Telemetry confirms that car #3 was significantly faster, on option tyres, and had the advantage throughout the sequence.

    “The drivers’ explanations were completely clear. Therefore the stewards determine that neither car could avoid the incident, and no advantage was gained as a result of the incident.”

    Vergne subsequently made another pitstop and finished only 17th.


  7. After winning the race, Sebastian Vettel performed some doughnuts but unlike in India, the FIA decided not to fine the world champion. has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel has been given the all-clear by the FIA for his post-race donut celebrations in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    Just a week after the German was handed a reprimand, and his team fined €25,000, for his spins on the start-finish straight in India, he staged a repeat after dominating at the Yas Marina circuit.

    There had been some fears that his actions could have prompted a fresh investigation by the race stewards, but this was not the case.

    AUTOSPORT understands that the FIA did not act this time because Vettel did comply with the sporting regulations in returning his car to parc ferme – something he had not done in India.

    AUTOSPORT opinion: F1’s donut dilemma

    He had also ensured that his donuts took place in a run-off area, away from the track, rather than directly on circuit.

    Speaking after the race, Vettel has made it clear that he was confident there would be no punishment.

    “I brought the car back,” he said. “I stuck to the rules – I hope we can provide a fuel sample because I burned some extra fuel.”

  8. Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne has said that the race stewards made the right decision not to penalise Fernando Alonso as a way of preventing a big crash. has the news story.

    Jean-Eric Vergne believes Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stewards were right not to penalise Fernando Alonso for overtaking him off the track.

    The Toro Rosso driver said he had not seen Alonso as the Spaniard emerged from the pits on the 45th lap of the race, meaning he took his regular line through Turn 3.

    Stewards investigated the incident as technically Alonso passed Vergne for seventh while outside the track limits, but no action was taken on the basis that the Ferrari driver had no choice.

    Vergne praised Alonso for his actions and said they prevented the possibility of a big accident

    “It was a racing incident and if he had not gone on the outside [of the track] like he did, we would have had a big crash,” Vergne told AUTOSPORT.

    “It was high-speed, and what he did was right. Actually, I am really happy he did that otherwise we would have had an accident, so yes, definitely [the stewards made the right decision].”

    “I knew that I might be racing against him but as I didn’t see him on the left, I thought he was in front of me. But he was next to me where I could not see him.”

    The incident made little difference to the Frenchman’s result, as he plummeted from contention for the points to 18th in the closing stages.

    This was because his one-stop strategy had to be aborted thanks to tyre degradation.

    “It’s really frustrating to end the race like this,” said Vergne.

    “I’d been backing off the whole race to save the tyres so obviously the performance was better than it looked and in the end it just didn’t last long enough.

    “It’s really frustrating to fight for a position for the whole race and it all falls apart at the end.”

  9. Fernando Alonso has revealed that he had a big impact in his trip off-course while battling with Jean-Eric Vergne in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    The Spaniard will have precautionary checks in hospital, with the impact measured at 25g.

    The Ferrari and Toro Rosso went wheel to wheel as Alonso emerged from his second pitstop alongside Vergne.

    Alonso went outside the track limits to complete a pass.

    The stewards were content this was legal as they agreed with Alonso’s assessment that Vergne left him no room.

    Alonso said afterwards that taking off over the kerbs had triggered the automatic g-loading sensor on his car that tells drivers when an impact is hard enough to make a medical examination necessary.

    “I still have all my teeth after the impact,” Alonso joked.

    “My back is obviously in pain a little bit because it was a big hit.

    “We have the alarm on the chassis that goes off when a minimum g-force [is exceeded] for the medical car etc, and the chassis has this alarm now in parc ferme.

    “So for sure it was a big hit but I’m OK for Austin obviously.”

    Alonso added that he initially believed he would emerge behind the Toro Rosso anyway so was expecting to have to pass Vergne later in the lap.

    “I wanted to come out behind to be honest, because then in Turn 4 I had the detection point and could pass on the DRS and with the good traction from the new softs,” said the Spaniard.

    “But I was side by side and already in front, so I was surprised and I was forced to go off the track.

    “But ‘plan A’ was to pass him with the DRS.”

    He also admitted to some frustration at the attention the incident had earned given that he had managed to come through from 10th on the grid to finish fifth.

    “I think it’s a minor thing in a fantastic race that we had,” added Alonso.


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