Raikkonen Wins All-Action Grand Prix In Abu Dhabi

Time and time again this season, Kimi Raikkonen insisted that once a race weekend went without hitches, he and his Lotus team would win. It may have taken a retirement from the leading Lewis Hamilton but the Finn put in a great drive to clinch the first win since his comeback at the start of this season and the first victory of his F1 career since his win at the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso took some points out of Sebastian Vettel’s championship lead as he finished in second but a fantastic drive from Vettel ensured that his lead wasn’t cut by much as the German completed the podium in third place, after starting from the pitlane.

The fourth race to be hosted at the Yas Marina circuit since it’s debut on the calender in 2009 did not disappoint and gave under two hours of entertainment with action aplenty. Lewis Hamilton led the field away past turn 1 and looked to be controlling the race at the front before reliability issues struck the Englishman as a fuel pump failure forced him to retire on lap 20. Raikkonen then led for most of the race, only falling back when pitting, handing the lead at one stage to an impressively feisty Sebastian Vettel who fought strongly to claim a podium.

Raikkonen was pleased but calm in the aftermath of the 19th win of his Formula 1 career. He hoped the team could win again soon, citing his newest victory as a boost for the Lotus team.

“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.”

“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.”

Alonso cut into Vettel’s lead, but not by as much as he would have liked

Fernando Alonso achieved his goal of finishing ahead of his title rival Vettel, and the Spaniard said that a podium finish was better than Ferrari had expected. Cautious of his championship chances, he hinted that even if he finishes in front of Vettel in the remaining two races, it might not be enough to win his third Drover’s Championship.

“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.”

Vettel was pleased to make the podium after starting from the back

Sebastian Vettel himself said he was not surprised to be on the podium at the end of a race which he said he enjoyed, losing only 5 points to Fernando Alonso in the championship standings. The German hit a marker board as he avoided contact with Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso who was warming his brakes under the first Safety Car period. Vettel initially seemed to have any podium aspirations thrown away but a second Safety Car period some laps later coupled with his Red Bull already having switched to the faster option tyre gave him a big advantage over the rest of the field. Most of the rest of his race was fairly routine as he passed those around him, only coming under much trouble with Jenson Button’s McLaren in the closing stages who he eventually passed to take third place.

“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.”

“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.”

The recurring theme of Hamilton’s 2012 has been the continued mistakes from his team, costing him valuable points

Lewis Hamilton rued his car suffering gremlins as he said the McLaren team were quick enough to get a one-two finish had everything went to plan. His dominant pole position, along with the ease at which he was leading the race certainly gave weight to his words, with Hamilton retiring from the lead for the third time in 2012.

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

“Incredible how Sebastian came up from the pitlane,” Hamilton said. “He’s got to be the luckiest person in Formula 1.”

Grosjean protested his innocence after being involved in another on-track incident

Romain Grosjean had differing opinions with Paul Di Resta on the three-car battle involving Sergio Perez which ended up contacting and damaging Mark Webber’s Red Bull. As Di Resta and Grosjean had a tussle on lap 39, Sergio Perez went off-track, attempting to pass them as he came back on to the track, resulting in the drivers colliding.

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.”

“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.”

Rosberg ponders an incident which could have ended much worse for both drivers

The HRT team are used to quiet races, but it was their driver Narain Karthikeyan who, along with Nico Rosberg, brought out the Safety Car for the first time in the race. Rosberg was running right behind the Indian driver whose car had smoke trailing from its rear, as the German tried to pass into the a blind corner. Rosberg went straight into the HRT and flew over the top of the car, narrowly avoided the HRT driver’s head. Karthikeyan said he was relieved to avoid injury and that there was nothing he could do about the accident.

“His car was right on top of mine. It was pretty scary and very close. I could see everything under the car in detail as he went over me. It was unlucky for Nico that he was behind me when it happened.”

“”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.”

Abu Dhabi GP Result

Pos Driver Team Time

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 + 27.463
11. Schumacher Mercedes + 28.075
12. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 34.906
13. Kovalainen Caterham-Renault + 47.764
14. Glock Marussia-Cosworth + 56.473
15. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 56.768
16. Petrov Caterham-Renault + 1:04.595
17. De la Rosa HRT-Cosworth + 1:11.578

Not classified/retirements:

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

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