Hamilton Takes the Spoils in Abu Dhabi
Lewis Hamilton returned to winning ways with a dominant victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Only one man looked winning from the moment Sebastian Vettel’s rear tyre burst as he approached the second turn of the race. Fernando Alonso in second gave it his best shot, although Hamilton looked in control even when the Ferrari driver stayed out for a long second stint. Jenson Button completed the podium for McLaren after losing KERS early in the race.
Mark Webber finished fourth after Red Bull gambled on a three-stop strategy, taking the obligatory second compound on the last lap. It was probably a desperate attempt to overtake Button but he may have been fortunate that Felipe Massa lost time after a spin and had to settle for fifth. Nico Rosberg led home team mate Michael Schumacher in sixth, the latter with Adrian Sutil in close pursuit. Fellow Force India driver Paul di Resta was ninth as the team extended their advantage over Toro Rosso as did Sauber as Kamui Kobayashi completed the points scorers.
Driver of the Day:
It may be hard to judge Hamilton’s performance as he was largely unchallenged in the absence of Sebastian Vettel although it would be unfair to suggest he only won because of the German’s absence having been quick all weekend. Still, he made it look easy. However, Alonso certainly put in a great drive to take second, the Ferrari appreciating the track temperatures dropping as the race progressed.
Eighth and ninth for Sutil and di Resta, the latter on a one-stop strategy which in hindsight probably wasn’t very effective, all but secured sixth in the standings for Force India. Meanwhile, if you were following the battle between Renault and Mercedes engines, Force India contributed to a 48 point swing towards the Mercedes-supplied teams which saw them finally overhaul the Renault-outfits for the first time this year.
Was it Vettel’s, Red Bull’s or Pirelli’s bad day? Either way, Vettel’s puncture at the start of the race provided a dramatic opening. There was an irony that it reversed his and Hamilton’s fortunes from the race two years ago where the McLaren driver looked like the one to beat only for a faulty brake pad to end his race and leave the Red Bull driver an unchallenged run to victory.
Did DRS solve Abu Dhabi’s overtaking? What did occur seemed too easy as passes followed repasses in the double-DSR zones. However, in reality, some out of order cars behind the three-backmarker teams aside, there were few changes of position. The teams look to have got the hang of the Pirelli tyres and the result is little variation in strategy. In short, not a great race even by the standards of the previous two events at the Yas Marina. Sadly, perhaps the presence of Vettel would have changed that, as it was, the number of laps spent discussing his tyre-failure told its own story.
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes||1h 37:11.886|
|4.||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||+35.784|
|8.||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||+77.122|
|9.||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||+101.087|
|10.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|11.||Sergio Perez||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|12.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams-Cosworth||+1 Lap|
|13.||Vitaly Petrov||Renault||+1 Lap|
|14.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Cosworth||+1 Lap|
|15.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||+1 Lap|
|16.||Bruno Senna||Renault||+1 Lap|
|17.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus-Renault||+1 Lap|
|18.||Jarno Trulli||Lotus-Renault||+2 Laps|
|19.||Timo Glock||Virgin-Cosworth||+2 Laps|
|20.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT-Cosworth||+2 Laps|
Fastest Lap: Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1:42.612
Fastest Pitstop: Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes – 19.350s (entry-exit)
|Daniel Ricciardo||HRT-Cosworth||Lap 47||Mechanical|
|Sebastian Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||Lap 18||Hydraulics|
|Jérôme D’Ambrosio||Virgin-Cosworth||Lap 17||Brakes|
|Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||Lap 1||Puncture|
World Drivers’ Championship:
|1.||Sebastian Vettel||374 Points|
|2.||Jenson Button||255 Points|
|3.||Fernando Alonso||245 Points|
|4.||Mark Webber||233 Points|
|5.||Lewis Hamilton||227 Points|
World Constructors’ Championship:
|1.||Red Bull-Renault||607 Points|
What did you make of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix? Who do you think was driver of the day? Who had a weekend to forget? Do the organisers need to make changes to the layout of the Yas Marina? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…
Photo: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes