Raikkonen wins Abu Dhabi thriller

Kimi Raikkonen achieved his first win since making his Formula One comeback with a dramatic and thrilling Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Iceman held off Fernando Alonso to score the first win for the Lotus F1 Team. By winning the Yas Marina race, the famous Lotus name is back on top since Ayrton Senna in 1987.

As for Sebastian Vettel, the reigning world champion made it through from last to finish in an excellent third. This result means he still retains the lead by ten points with two races to go, despite an incident-packed race for the Red Bull driver.

Raikkonen’s victory is his first since he won the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix, the first for his Enstone-based team since the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix, and the first for a Lotus-branded outfit since the 1987 United States Grand Prix.

Poleman Lewis Hamilton looked set to dominate for McLaren at first, escaping an early mistake (outbraking himself) that allowed Raikkonen to briefly get alongside him and then pulling away.

Pastor Maldonado held third position, while Alonso muscled past the slow-starting Mark Webber for fourth with a bold outside line move at Turn 11 on the first lap.

The path seemed to be opening up quickly for Vettel, helped by first-lap mayhem that saw the Force Indias tangle with Bruno Senna, and Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean collide.

The recovering Rosberg then caused the first safety car on lap nine when his Mercedes was violently launched over the back of Narain Karthikeyan’s slowing HRT. Both drivers escaped unhurt.

By that time Vettel was up to P13, but during the caution period he ran off-track avoiding Daniel Ricciardo and smashing into a DRS sign. This did terminal damage to a front wing already battered from contact with Senna, and Vettel had to pit.

Hamilton stayed ahead easily at the restart, only to drop out of the race with a loss of fuel pressure on lap 19.

That left Raikkonen in charge, with Alonso the first of several drivers to pass a fading Maldonado before the pitstops. Webber’s attempt to do likewise would see contact and a spin.

With Vettel having got a tyre change out of the way when replacing his front wing, the German was up to second behind Raikkonen as others pitted. There was speculation among rivals that Vettel might try to keep his soft tyres alive until the end, but he pitted for fresh set of Pirellis and dropped to fourth behind Alonso and Jenson Button.

Another safety car then followed when a spectacular battle between Paul di Resta, Grosjean and Sergio Perez ended with contact between the latter pair and Grosjean’s slowing car collecting the luckless Webber.

That closed Raikkonen, Alonso, Button and Vettel up for a 12-lap sprint to the finish.

Initially the pressure was on Alonso, but soon he was pulling clear of Button and mounting a late charge towards Raikkonen, as Vettel put huge pressure on the McLaren.

The reigning champion eventually took third with four laps to the flag. Alonso was out of reach, though, the Ferrari finishing right on Raikkonen’s tail.

Maldonado took fifth ahead of Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa, who spun down the order while fighting with Webber.

Senna and di Resta recovered from their dramas to take eighth and ninth, with Ricciardo the final scorer.

So an exciting race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In terms of the world championship, Vettel has a ten-point lead over Alonso while Red Bull Racing only needs four points (an eighth place finish) to seal the constructors’ title.

Formula One takes a trip to the unknown with a race at the new Circuit of The Americas in Austin. If Sebastian Vettel wins with Fernando Alonso finishing fifth or lower, then the Red Bull driver will become the 2012 champion.

Abu Dhabi race results, after 55 laps:

1.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              1h45:58.667
2.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +0.852
3.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +4.163
4.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +7.787
5.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           +13.007
6.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +20.076
7.  Massa         Ferrari                    +22.896
8.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +23.542
9.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +24.160
10.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +27.400
11.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +28.000
12.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +34.900
13.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +47.700
14.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +56.400
15.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +56.700
16.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +1:04.500
17.  De la Rosa    HRT-Cosworth               +1:11.5

Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:43.964

Not classified/retirements:

Pic           Marussia-Cosworth            42 laps
Grosjean      Lotus-Renault                38 laps
Webber        Red Bull-Renault             38 laps
Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes             20 laps
Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth                 8 laps
Rosberg       Mercedes                     8 laps
Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes         1 lap

World Championship standings, round 18:

1.  Vettel       255
2.  Alonso       245
3.  Raikkonen    198
4.  Webber       167
5.  Hamilton     165
6.  Button       153
7.  Massa         95
8.  Rosberg       93
9.  Grosjean      90
10.  Perez         66
11.  Kobayashi     58
12.  Hulkenberg    49
13.  Di Resta      46
14.  Maldonado     43
15.  Schumacher    43
16.  Senna         30
17.  Vergne        12
18.  Ricciardo     10

1.  Red Bull-Renault          422
2.  Ferrari                   340
3.  McLaren-Mercedes          318
4.  Lotus-Renault             288
5.  Mercedes                  136
6.  Sauber-Ferrari            124
7.  Force India-Mercedes       95
8.  Williams-Renault           73
9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         22

Next race: United States Grand Prix, Circuit of Americas. November 16-18.

15 thoughts to “Raikkonen wins Abu Dhabi thriller”

  1. After winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen hopes this achievement will boosts Lotus’s confidence. Autosport.com has the story.

    Kimi Raikkonen hopes his Abu Dhabi Grand Prix victory will give the Lotus team more belief in what it can achieve.

    The result not only marked Raikkonen’s first Formula 1 win since his 2009 Belgian GP triumph, but his team’s return to the top step of the podium for the first time since Fernando Alonso won the ’08 Japanese GP for the then-Renault branded squad.

    The team was later rocked by the 2008 Singapore GP ‘crashgate’ scandal and sold by Renault, then lost its lead driver Robert Kubica following his horrendous pre-season rallying accident in 2011.

    Lotus has shown strong signs of recovery this year with a string of podium finishes, and Raikkonen believes delivering a breakthrough victory will hugely boost morale.

    “I am happy mainly for the team,” said Raikkonen. “It has been a hard season for the team.

    “Hopefully this gives a bit more belief, not just for the guys doing all the work but also the guys who own it.

    “I hope it can turn the tables and we can win more this year and next year as well.”

    Raikkonen remained calm about his own achievement in winning in F1 again after a two-season break in the World Rally Championship.

    “There is nothing to jump around about, we still have a few races to go,” he said.

    “We’ll try to do the same again and sure we’ll have a good party today and tomorrow when we feel bad after a long night we will remember what we felt like now.”

    The Finn had long insisted that Lotus had the speed to win races if he could qualify better. He started fourth in Abu Dhabi but jumped to second at the start behind Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren, which later retired.

    “We have been close a few times,” Raikkonen said. “Even in the last race we had speed to win but if you do not start in front you see what happens.

    “So the start was key. I think compared with McLaren we didn’t have speed at the beginning of the race, but you have to finish the race.”

  2. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was quite surprised to finish on the podium. Autosport.com has the details.

    Fernando Alonso does not see the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as a missed opportunity to gain more ground on Sebastian Vettel, a podium finish being more than he expected from the race.

    The Ferrari driver finished second to Kimi Raikkonen after having started sixth at Yas Marina.

    With Vettel having started from the pitlane, the race was viewed as a great opportunity to take a sizeable chunk out of his 13-point deficit to the German.

    But with Vettel hauling his Red Bull up to third, he saw his advantage reduced by Alonso by just three points, leaving him with an advantage of 10 heading into the final two races.

    “I am very happy,” said Alonso, who finished less than a second behind Raikkonen.

    “We were not super-competitive this weekend. We had to fight the whole race. There was good overtaking and good strategy, which gave us the possibility to fight for the win.

    “Second was the maximum achievable today starting sixth, but Sunday was better and we will keep fighting until the end.”

    Alonso said he was not looking at what Vettel was doing in the race as he never thought a place on the podium was realistic for himself, given Ferrari’s form of late.

    “We were concentrating on our race,” he added. “All our simulations had given us the possibility to finish fifth or sixth, so we were not very optimistic with today’s race and whatever Seb was doing we were taking 10 or eight points maximum.

    “So we concentrated on our race and he did a very good race and he was able to use the performance in some parts of the race in clean air, plus two safety cars to help him.

    “There is nothing we can do but concentrate on our race and if we finish ahead of Seb in the next two races then maybe we have a chance.”

  3. Following his penalty for a low fuel sample which meant a start from the pit lane, the reigning world champion was able to fight back to third. Autosport.com has the news story.

    Finishing third in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix came as no surprise to Sebastian Vettel, despite the world champion starting the race from the pitlane.

    After being excluded from qualifying over a fuel issue, the Red Bull driver was forced to drive through the pack in a bid to prevent Fernando Alonso reducing his Formula 1 championship lead.

    With Alonso finishing second – only one place ahead of Vettel – the Spaniard reduced his advantage by only three points.

    Vettel now leads the standings by 10 points with 50 available from the final two races.

    Red Bull pitted Vettel under safety car conditions on lap 13, by which time he had made it onto the verge of the top 10.

    That allowed a front wing, which had been damaged in contact with Bruno Senna on the first lap and with a marker board during a safety car near-miss, to be changed and also enabled Vettel to switch from medium to soft tyres.

    He climbed to second before stopping again and dropping to fourth, but reaped the benefit of another safety car period to close onto the tail of the lead trio.

    When asked if he thought a podium was achievable at the start of the race, Vettel said: “Yes I did to be honest with you.

    “After the first couple of laps that target was drifting a little bit away.

    “I had a messy start, wanted to get through cars quickly and damaged the front wing, and under the safety car had a bit of a mistake with Daniel Ricciardo, because he was braking on the straight and we nearly touched.”

    Vettel said that the highlight of his afternoon was the late-race battle with Jenson Button for the final podium position.

    The German stole the place from the McLaren driver after tucking into his slipstream in the second DRS zone and then driving around the outside of him into the following left-hander.

    “I had a fantastic race, the safety car helping here and there, and in the end there was a nice fight with Jenson, who was difficult to pass,” said Vettel.

    “I expected to have a little easier time passing slower cars before, but I squeezed my way past.

    “It was a thrilling grand prix, up and down all the time and it’s very nice to stand here and pick up trophy.”

  4. After leading in the early stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire with a technical problem in the McLaren. Without that issue, Hamilton believes he could have won the race. Autosport.com has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton reckons McLaren had a dominant car in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and would have delivered a one-two finish with a trouble-free weekend.

    Having taken pole at Yas Marina, Hamilton was pulling away at the front of the field when what he reported as a fuel pressure issue forced his retirement on lap 20.

    His team-mate Jenson Button finished fourth.

    “I think this weekend we had the pace to get a one-two,” Hamilton said.

    “I’m not really sure what Jenson was struggling with, but we had the strength in the car and the ability this weekend.

    “I think in the last four or five races we’ve had something fail on the car even when we’ve finished the race. I hope luck will now swing our way.”

    Hamilton’s retirement left the door open for Kimi Raikkonen to win the race for Lotus.

    “I was in a really comfortable spot. It wasn’t like I had [Sebastian] Vettel or a Red Bull behind me that was massively quick,” said Hamilton.

    “Kimi drove phenomenally and I’m very, very happy for him, but I was comfortably in the lead and the car was just beautiful to drive.”

    He added: “I was cruising and I was still pulling away.”

    Despite losing a likely victory, Hamilton said he would leave Abu Dhabi happy with his performance and the speed his car had displayed.

    “It was still a good weekend for me. I really enjoyed it. At the time it felt fantastic in the car. We have a couple of other opportunities. Next time…” he said.

    Hamilton stayed around to watch the end of the race, and was surprised to see Vettel get to the podium after starting last.

    “Incredible how Sebastian came up from the pitlane,” Hamilton said.

    “He’s got to be the luckiest person in Formula 1.”

  5. Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was adamant that he was not to blame for clashes during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Autosport.com has the news.

    Romain Grosjean is adamant he was not to blame for either of the tangles he was involved in during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    While his Lotus team-mate Kimi Raikkonen took the squad’s first win since 2008, Grosjean clashed with Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes on lap one and sustained a puncture.

    Grosjean subsequently got up to fifth thanks to making early tyre stops, but was under pressure from Paul di Resta, Sergio Perez and Mark Webber.

    As the Force India and Lotus battled on lap 39, Perez’s Sauber attempted to pass both, but the move ended in a collision between Perez and Grosjean, who then collected Webber’s Red Bull.

    “We were doing the best we could with what we had and it was running pretty well,” said Grosjean.

    “It was a tight battle, three in a row at Turn 11. Paul di Resta was fighting and [Perez] went off track at Turn 13 and then at Turn 14 he just came back and I had no room to go anywhere else.

    “Then Mark came and it was a big, big shunt.”

    Di Resta agreed that Perez was at fault in the tangle.

    “I just don’t know what he was trying to do,” said di Resta. “I was passing Grosjean, [Perez] was trying to make a mad move round the outside and left me absolutely no room.

    “I just bailed out and then I don’t know what happened afterwards.”

    Grosjean also reckoned there was nothing he could do to avoid his earlier incident with Rosberg.

    “I kept my line to Turn 8 but then again there was no room for me to go,” said Grosjean. “I tried to open [the line] as much as I could to Turn 9 but I needed to be there.

    “It was an unlucky day.”

  6. Nico Rosberg felt there was absolutely nothing he could do to avoid his dramatic collision with Narain Karthikeyan in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    Rosberg was trying to recover from first-lap contact with Romain Grosjean’s Lotus when he came up behind Karthikeyan on lap nine.

    The HRT then suddenly slowed with what Karthikeyan told AUTOSPORT was a hydraulic failure and consequent steering problem.

    That resulted in Rosberg’s Mercedes flying over the back of it on the high-speed approach to Turn 16 and then slamming into the barriers.

    Both drivers escaped the impact unhurt.

    “Narain said that his steering broke and so he wasn’t able to steer anymore,” said Rosberg.

    “So he went right on the brakes and of course I didn’t expect him on the brakes in that place because normally that’s flat out easily.

    “I didn’t see that coming and there was no way to react in time.”

    With Rosberg’s Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher finishing only 11th after picking up a puncture, the team failed to score for a fourth successive race.

    Source: Autosport.com

  7. A KERS issue was the main reason why Pastor Maldonado finished in fifth position. Autosport.com has the details.

    A KERS problem caused Pastor Maldonado’s slide down the field during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    The Williams driver ran third during the race’s early stages and held off eventual runner-up Fernando Alonso for the first 21 laps.

    But Maldonado subsequently started to lose places. Although late incidents for rival drivers allowed the Venezuelan to regain several spots, he had to settle for fifth.

    “I’m disappointed because we missed the podium today,” said Maldonado.

    “The car was so strong and the pace was as well, but we broke the KERS after the first safety car period and I was so effectively penalised.

    “I spent all the race defending, trying not to get passed by all the other drivers.

    “It is so difficult when you have a problem with the car, especially at this track.”

    While Alonso, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez made it past Maldonado without drama, Mark Webber clashed with the Williams during his passing attempt and spun down the order.

    Maldonado said Webber was “unlucky” but only had himself to blame.

    “I think Mark was very unlucky because he tried to get the place from me on the outside and he touched my right-front wheel and he spun,” said the Spanish Grand Prix winner.

    “I’m disappointed for him but he tried an extremely risky manouevre.”

  8. McLaren’s Jenson Button was not expecting Sebastian Vettel to pull off his ‘brave’ pass in the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Autosport.com has the news story.

    Jenson Button admitted he had not expected Sebastian Vettel to make such a “brave” move on him for third place at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    The world championship leader went around the outside of Button’s McLaren into Turn 11 with four laps to go.

    The pass completed Vettel’s charge from the tail of the field after his Red Bull was disqualified from qualifying for a fuel infringement.

    “It was very brave of him,” said Button. “If I’d locked up and run wide, we would’ve crashed.

    “It was a very unusual move. I didn’t expect that.”

    Despite being impressed with Vettel’s pass, Button reckoned there was no way he could have held the Red Bull back.

    Suggesting that the race’s two safety cars allowed Vettel to “luck in” with his tyre strategy, Button said: “It was impossible because he was on brand new tyres and you just can’t get traction with old tyres, especially old primes.”

    Having been very pleased with his McLaren on Friday, Button was left baffled when he struggled to sixth in qualifying. His lack of pace continued on Sunday, when his team-mate Lewis Hamilton led comfortably before retiring with a fuel pump issue.

    “It was quite a fun race but at no point did I have the pace,” Button said.

    “I really struggled. It was very different to my Friday run. I just couldn’t find the grip. It was really, really strange.”

    Button added: “Obviously the car is working because Lewis has been very, very quick all weekend.”

    McLaren now trails Ferrari by 22 points in the battle for second in the constructors’ championship with two rounds to go.

    “With Lewis’s problem, we’ve lost more points to Ferrari. That’s a pity,” said Button. “We’ve just got to make sure we have two big races now.”

    The Briton spent some of the race pressuring Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso for what would become second place, but reckoned he never had a shot at passing.

    “I just couldn’t get near Fernando,” Button said. “I didn’t have the straightline speed and traction is also an area where we’re lacking.”

  9. Nico Hulkenberg says he had nowhere to go in the first-corner accident that put him out of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    The Force India driver was squeezed by team-mate Paul di Resta and Bruno Senna’s Williams approaching Turn 1. The resultant contact spun Senna and left Hulkenberg’s car being too damaged to continue.

    Hulkenberg had started from 11th position, but a bad start meant he dropped into the middle of the chasing pack.

    “I made quite a bad start and had a poor run going into the first corner. Then I just got sandwiched by the cars around me go,” Hulkenberg said.

    “I think there was my team-mate, a Sauber and a Williams around me, and there was not enough space.

    “I tried to back out of it, but it was too late. There was contact between the cars and that was my race over.”

    Di Resta suffered a puncture in the accident and was forced to pit at the end of the first lap.

    The safety car periods helped the British driver recover to ninth by the finish.

    Source: Autosport.com

  10. Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher has left himself to blame for that finishing outside the points after a puncture. Autosport.com has the story.

    Michael Schumacher blamed a late puncture for his failure to finish in the points in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.

    The Mercedes driver was running in eighth position with 14 laps to go when he was forced to make an unscheduled pitstop after picking up the puncture.

    That meant the seven-time champion dropped to 11th and out of the points.

    Schumacher has not scored a point since the Italian GP six races ago.

    “Unfortunately we have to say that again we suffered bad luck today,” said Schumacher. “Due to the puncture I had to do another pitstop very late in the race which lost me a points scoring position.

    “Of course this is part of the game and you cannot do anything about it but it was a real pity as we had reasonable pace and could have taken some points.

    “Towards the end of the race I was hoping to close the gap to the top 10, and we were making good progress, but it just didn’t work out.”

    Team-mate Nico Rosberg retired from the race after a collision with Narain Karthikeyan, meaning Mercedes has not been in the points for four consecutive grands prix.

  11. Marussia boss John Booth admitted his team was really feeling the pressure during the final stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix seeing rival Caterham’s position.

    The squad moved ahead of Caterham – and into 10th place in the constructors’ championship – with a 12th-place finish by Timo Glock in the Singapore GP.

    A similar result by Caterham would move the team ahead of Marussia as it has more 13th-place finishes than its rival with two races to go.

    Caterham’s Heikki Kovalainen was running in 13th place in the final part of the race, meaning another retirement would have been costly for Marussia.

    Booth said Sunday’s race was a reminder that 10th position is far from guaranteed yet.

    “A nailbiting race pretty much from start to finish, although it was in the final 10 laps that we really felt the pressure,” admitted Booth.

    “We could do little about the retirements ahead of us, so we had to simply concentrate on our own very hard-fought race with Caterham.

    “Today has reminded us that P10 is far from ‘a given’ – we have to keep fighting to keep it.”

    Glock finished the Yas Marina race in 14th place while team-mate Charles Pic retired on lap 42.

    Source: Autosport.com

  12. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa is convinced that Mark Webber should have been penalised. Autosport.com has the story.

    Felipe Massa believes that Mark Webber should have been punished for his part in their coming together at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    The pair were fighting over sixth place when they banged wheels at the Turn 11 chicane. Webber cut the corner and as he rejoined the circuit at Turn 13, Massa spun while avoiding his Red Bull rival.

    The stewards looked into the incident but decided that neither driver had been at fault and declared it a racing incident.

    Massa, however, felt completely differently about the matter and was left in no doubt that it was Webber who caused the problem.

    When asked by AUTOSPORT for his view on the incident, Massa said: “We braked at Turn 11, and he tried to pass me on the outside.

    “I was doing the corner on the inside and then we touched wheels at the exit of the corner. Then, he decided to go straight to the chicane, so he cut the chicane.

    “I did the chicane, which he cut, and he passed in front of me. I had to brake very strongly not to hit his car and I spun. So he caused an incident.

    “But it is not the first time that we see the stewards not getting through the right decisions or the right direction. They decided not to give anything, which for me is completely wrong.”

  13. Narain Karthikeyan has admitted that it was a “scary” moment when Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes passed close to his head when the pair collided during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    The HRT driver was running 19th when he suffered a sudden hydraulics failure, leading to Rosberg hitting him and riding over the top of his car.

    Rosberg ended up in the barrier, while Karthikeyan spun to a halt.

    But despite the severity of the impact, Karthikeyan escaped injury thanks to safety regulations designed to ensure that the driver’s head is out of harm’s way.

    “His car was right on top of mine,” Karthikeyan told AUTOSPORT.

    “It was pretty scary and very close. I could see everything under the car in detail as he went over me.”

    Karthikeyan echoed Rosberg’s belief that the accident was unavoidable.

    He confirmed that he had lost steering and that Rosberg was unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the right time.

    “It was unlucky for Nico that he was behind me when it happened,” said Karthikeyan.

    “At Turn 16, I lost the hydraulics. It [the hydraulic pressure] just dropped completely to zero and the steering wheel locked solid.

    “I couldn’t steer in or out of the corner and I had to come off the throttle, otherwise I would have had a big one.

    “Unfortunately for Nico, he was there.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  14. Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo was left feeling mystified by the Sebastian Vettel incident during the safety car period. Autosport.com has the details.

    Daniel Ricciardo insists that he was not to blame for Sebastian Vettel hitting a polystyrene board under the safety car in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    The Toro Rosso driver, who finished the race 10th, was focusing on keeping his tyres and brakes up to temperature when Red Bull stablemate Vettel had to swerve to avoid him.

    The German was forced to pit after the impact for a new front wing, dropping him to the tail of the field before recovering to third at the finish.

    Ricciardo believes that it is the responsibility of the car behind to be aware of what he was doing and that he was not driving unusually under the safety car.

    “I have no idea what happened,” Ricciardo, who had not yet seen a replay of the incident, told AUTOSPORT.

    “I looked in my mirror and I saw him go through a polystyrene board.

    “I have to look and see if did anything wrong but he should be watching me.

    “Everyone was doing the same thing, it’s exactly what you do under the safety car.”

    Vettel, who finished third despite having to pit for a new nose after the incident, admitted that he was caught out by Ricciardo.

    “I don’t know what he did,” said Vettel. “He was braking his car and I was surprised, caught out.

    “Maybe I should have paid more attention but I went to the right and I wasn’t very lucky that there was the DRS board, which I took head-on.”

  15. Lotus boss Eric Boullier admitted Kimi Raikkonen’s win in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix came as a relief for the team.

    Raikkonen, who returned to Formula 1 this season after a two-year absence, had been close to taking victory on a few occasions during the campaign.

    Despite having been on the podium six times before Abu Dhabi, the elusive win had not come until the antepenultimate round.

    Boullier said it had been frustrating to not have been on the top step of the podium yet.

    “We had a better first half of the season and we nearly came close to the win and you could have felt frustration without this win, so it is relief for everybody,” said Boullier.

    He denied, however, that winning its first race of the year meant getting the monkey off its back, as he feels the 2012 season has already been successful for Lotus.

    “I think we had already [got the monkey off our backs] this year. It is just a little bit of extra motivation and belief in what we are doing and capable of doing,” Boullier added.

    The team boss conceded Raikkonen had benefited from some of the circumstances, but feels the Finn delivered a great performance nonetheless.

    “Obviously we benefited from Lewis [Hamilton]’s retirement and other circumstances,” he said. “But I think Kimi put on a great drive to do it and he had two good restarts after the safety cars and the team had a good strategy to protect him. So I’m very happy.”

    Raikkonen was the protagonist of one of the highlights of the race when his race engineer informed him of the gap between himself and second-placed Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso in the latter part of the event.

    “Leave me alone, I know what to do,” the former world champion told his engineer.

    Boullier said the Finn was simply focusing on pushing to the limit on every lap.

    “I think Kimi wanted to focus on the driving as you can understand and he asked to only have the information on the pitboard so I think he knew what Alonso was doing and that he was closing,” he said.

    “This is Kimi, but also he knew that there was a chance to score the win and that he had to do qualifying lap after qualifying lap.”

    Source: Autosport.com

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