Raikkonen wins in Abu Dhabi as chaos reigns

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen

Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen has scored his first victory after returning to Formula 1 at the start of 2012, winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit.

The Finn held off championship contender Fernando Alonso in a chaotic Grand Prix, securing his first F1 win since the 2009 Belgian GP.

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel finished an amazing third, fighting through the field from last after receiving his post-qualifying penalty and starting from pit-lane.

The comeback drive limited the damage to his championship lead, with just 10 points now separating Vettel and Alonso with two races of the title remaining.

Despite the breakthrough win, Raikkonen is now officially out of contention for the driver’s title, but remains in a commanding position to take third place overall.

The Abu Dhabi race took a number of twists and turns – both for the lead and the minor places.

Two Safety Car’s punctuated the race. Nico Rosberg collected the suddenly ailing HRT of Narain Karthikeyan causing the first Safety Car, while debris from a clash between Mark Webber and Romain Grosjean on Lap 39 saw another period under yellow conditions.

Vettel’s drive was one of the best in recent memory. He started the race from pit-lane on Pirelli’s medium compound tyres, and the first Safety Car helped his recovery. An early brush with Williams’ Bruno Senna damaged his front wing, plus further damage was sustained when he hit a foam DRS track marker while avoiding Daniel Ricciardo in the later stages of the first Safety Car period. Vettel pitted after the off-track collision with the foam sign, switching to soft tyres and a new nose and wing. It dropped him back down the order, but he stormed back through, managing his tyre life perfectly. He even had enough speed to pass Jenson Button in a daring move for third place with only a handful of laps remaining.

Perhaps the biggest factor was pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton’s demise, who looked poised to cruise to victory. The McLaren driver was pulling away from the field until a mechanical failure ruled him out of the race on Lap 19.

Hamilton’s demise promoted Raikkonen to the lead that he never surrendered, despite some mild pressure from Alonso.

Webber had a luckless race, attempting to pass the Williams of Pastor Maldonado around the outside, only for the pair to collide. Webber spun and lost several positions, but remained a chance for a top five result until his race-ending crash.

Button ended up fourth ahead of Maldonado, who was suffering from a KERS issue.

Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa (who spun during a dice with Webber). Bruno Senna (Williams), Paul di Resta (Force India) and Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) completed the top 10.

Race result, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 55 Winner 4 25
2 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 55 +0.8 secs 6 18
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 55 +4.1 secs 24 15
4 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 55 +7.7 secs 5 12
5 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 55 +13.0 secs 3 10
6 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 55 +20.0 secs 15 8
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 55 +22.8 secs 8 6
8 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 55 +23.5 secs 14 4
9 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 55 +24.1 secs 12 2
10 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 55 +27.4 secs 16 1
11 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 55 +28.0 secs 13
12 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 55 +34.9 secs 17
13 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 55 +47.7 secs 18
14 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 55 +56.4 secs 21
15 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 55 +56.7 secs 11
16 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 55 +64.5 secs 20
17 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 55 +71.7 secs 22
Ret 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 41 +14 Laps 19
Ret 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 37 Accident 9
Ret 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 37 Accident 2
Ret 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 19 +36 Laps 1
Ret 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 7 Accident 23
Ret 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 7 Accident 7
Ret 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 0 Accident 10

Championship positions

Pos Driver Nationality Team Points
1 Sebastian Vettel German Red Bull Racing-Renault 255
2 Fernando Alonso Spanish Ferrari 245
3 Kimi Räikkönen Finnish Lotus-Renault 198
4 Mark Webber Australian Red Bull Racing-Renault 167
5 Lewis Hamilton British McLaren-Mercedes 165
6 Jenson Button British McLaren-Mercedes 153
7 Felipe Massa Brazilian Ferrari 95
8 Nico Rosberg German Mercedes 93
9 Romain Grosjean French Lotus-Renault 90
10 Sergio Perez Mexican Sauber-Ferrari 66
11 Kamui Kobayashi Japanese Sauber-Ferrari 58
12 Nico Hulkenberg German Force India-Mercedes 49
13 Paul di Resta British Force India-Mercedes 46
14 Pastor Maldonado Venezuelan Williams-Renault 43
15 Michael Schumacher German Mercedes 43
16 Bruno Senna Brazilian Williams-Renault 30
17 Jean-Eric Vergne French STR-Ferrari 12
18 Daniel Ricciardo Australian STR-Ferrari 10
19 Timo Glock German Marussia-Cosworth 0
20 Heikki Kovalainen Finnish Caterham-Renault 0
21 Vitaly Petrov Russian Caterham-Renault 0
22 Jerome D’Ambrosio Belgian Lotus-Renault 0
23 Charles Pic French Marussia-Cosworth 0
24 Narain Karthikeyan Indian HRT-Cosworth 0
25 Pedro de la Rosa Spanish HRT-Cosworth 0

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