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Raikkonen wins Abu Dhabi GP as Hamilton suffers another technical failure!

Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen won his first Grand Prix since his return to the F1 fold at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton suffered a fuel pump failure. While Sebastian Vettel rode his luck to salvage a podium after being demoted to the back of the grid after a fuel irregularity during qualifying.

Raikkonen got off to the perfect start; rocketing off the line passing both Pastor Maldonado and Mark Webber before making a run at Lewis Hamilton after the Briton outbraked himself but the Finn couldn’t get far enough ahead to pass Hamilton. Meanwhile Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso outdragged Mark Webber going down the second DRS straight to take fourth while Nico Hulkenberg and Bruno Senna came together in turn one resulting in the German being out of the race within 30 seconds.

Romain Grosjean seemingly suffered more spacial awareness issues and a puncture after clipping Nico Rosberg’s front wing. A few laps later Rosberg tripped over the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan, who seemingly had a car failure of some description, hence the sudden slowdown which caused Rosberg to go flying over the top of the HRT; both drivers out of the race and the safety car deployed.

Vettel damaged his front wing attempting an overly ambitious overtake on Bruno Senna then misjudged the distance between himself and Daniel Ricciardo under the safety car, the German taking avoiding action, collecting the DRS board and damaging his front wing further in the process.

After a stop for fresh tyres and a new front wing, Vettel made an overtake on Grosjean for 17th place by going off the track; only to be told by the team to allow Grosjean back past to avoid punishment; but it only took another lap for Vettel to be back ahead of the Frenchman. Obviously Red Bull were not taking any chances this time around; Vettel blatantly made the move by going off the track!

Three laps later; Raikkonen inherited the lead of the race when Lewis Hamilton slowed and pulled off the track with a fuel pump failure, massively disappointing for McLaren; the team have had too many technical issues this season, I wouldn’t blame Lewis if he decided to stay home for the final two races of his McLaren career; it’s really not good enough for a team of the calibre of McLaren!

Mark Webber had an interesting, but pointless day, first banging wheels with Maldonado tipping the Australian into a spin on lap 23. Then three laps later; banged wheels with Felipe Massa, which ended in the Brazilian facing the wrong direction in a cloud of smoke. And finally Webber’s race ended on lap 39 when he tripped over the battle between di Resta, Grosjean and Perez, the Mexican taking the blame for causing the incident; serving a 10 second stop/go penalty. I’d certainly blame Red Bull for pitting Webber to free Vettel, which led to Webber being stuck behind that trio of cars!

The safety car came out again to clear up the debris from the Perez, di Resta, Grosjean & Webber incident and as the safety car came in on lap 43; nothing changed in the top 10 except for di Resta taking 10th place away from Ricciardo. After the safety car period; McLaren’s Jenson Button had his hands full with Vettel; the Briton held off Vettel for nine laps but it always looked inevitable that Vettel would pass the McLaren; and he did going around the outside of turn 11 into turn 12 on lap 52.

In the closing laps, Alonso was closing in fast on Raikkonen, the Finn finishing the race just 0.8 seconds ahead of the Spaniard. Those extra seven points would have been awfully useful for Alonso in his title hunt, but it wasn’t to be; Vettel had some luck with safety cars, retirements and incidents but it was still a great drive from the German to finish immediately behind Alonso in third.

Just a few words on the other finishers, great drive from Maldonado and Senna for fifth and eighth, if I do support a team, it’d be Williams, so a double score is great news. Where in the hell did Kobayashi come from to finish sixth? I don’t think I saw him all race long, clearly a sensible clean race from the Japanese. Another solid performance from Massa despite his smoky spin to finish seventh. Finally di Resta who was stone last at one point claimed two points for Force India and Daniel Ricciardo claiming a point for Toro Rosso, overall a thoroughly enjoyable race in Abu Dhabi!

Top 10 Classified Finishers, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

1. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
3. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
4. Jenson Button (McLaren)
5. Pastor Maldonado (Williams)
6. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber)
7. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
8. Bruno Senna (Williams)
9. Paul di Resta (Force India)
10. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)

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