Archive for the ‘Abu Dhabi’ Category

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Vettel Steals Title in Abu Dhabi

November 14, 2010

Sebastian Vettel stole the 2010 Formula One World Championship from under Fernando Alonso and teammate Mark Webber’s noses this afternoon, after winning the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Vettel, who started from pole got a clean getaway, keeping second-place starter Lewis Hamilton behind him into turn one, while Jenson Button claimed third from championship leader Alonso.

Within just a few corners Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher made contact, the latter finding himself in a spin, and while the rest of the field tried to tip-toe around him, Vitantonio Liuzzi found he had nowhere else to go and his front wing ended up on top of Schumacher’s car.

The safety car was deployed and the mid field peeled into the pits, including Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov. At the restart at the end of lap five, Vettel led Hamilton, Button, Alonso and Webber, and after unsuccessfully trying to pass Alonso, Webber pitted on lap 12 to switch to the harder of the two compound tyres. He rejoined the track in 16th, behind Jaime Alguersuari, and spent the next couple of laps trying to pass him.

Ferrari tried a new tactic on lap 14, pitting Felipe Massa from fifth to try and get him ahead of Webber and ruin his race, to increase Alonso’s chances of taking the championship, but Massa rejoined behind Webber, just before Webber passed Alguersuari for 14th.

On lap 15, seeing that Webber and Massa were a fair bit faster on the medium compound tyre, Ferrari pitted Alonso to cover off Webber, and while they got him out ahead of the Red Bull driver, it proved to be what decided the title, as Alonso found himself staring at the back on Petrov’s gearbox for the rest of the race, unable to pass on a circuit which has proved in its two years to not open up many overtaking opportunities, and therefore meaning he couldn’t score enough points.

As Alonso got stuck behind the Renault, Red Bull and McLaren then chose to keep Vettel, Hamilton and Button out instead of bringing them in for fresh tyres – the aim to ensure they stayed ahead of Kamui Kobayashi and Robert Kubica in fourth and fifth respectively, and both of whom were running long into the first stint on the harder compound tyre.

McLaren eventually chose to pit Hamilton on lap 23, and he rejoined behind the squabbling pair. On lap 25 Kubica passed Kobayashi, with Hamilton following suit on lap 26, but after that Hamilton was unable to pass Kubica. On lap 25, Vettel pitted, but unlike Hamilton was able to stay ahead of Kubica.

Button took the lead of the race until lap 39, when McLaren pitted him, realising he wasn’t going to pull out anymore of a lead over Kubica. He rejoined behind Hamilton, and the pair continued their fight against the Renault driver.

On lap 46, Kubica finally pitted for his mandatory pit stop, and having built up a 23 second lead over the Petrov-Alonso-Webber chain, he was able to rejoin the track ahead of them all, causing yet another headache for Alonso. Hamilton and Button regained second and third, and from then Vettel had the race under control.

As he crossed the line he had no idea his win meant he had won the championship, until Alonso and Webber crossed the line in seventh and eighth behind Rosberg, Kubica and Petrov in fourth, fifth and sixth, and the team told him he was the new champion. Alguersuari and Massa rounded out the top ten.

Vettel’s win gave him a final total of 256 world championship points, four ahead of Alonso on 252, with Webber on 242 and Hamilton on 240.

Following his win and being told he had won the title, Vettel let out all his emotions, crying both over the radio and on the podium. Despite the mistakes that he has made this season, in the last few races he has proved he really deserves this title.

McLaren have secured second in the Constructors’ Championship on 454 points, with Ferrari on 396, 102 behind Constructors’ Champions Red Bull on 498.

So that’s it for the 2010 season. The 2011 season will begin in Bahrain next March.

 

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Vettel on Pole for Final Race of 2010

November 13, 2010

Sebastian Vettel will start the final race of the 2010 Formula One season from pole, his tenth of the season, after setting a lap time of 1:39.394 in qualifying for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton will start from second having missed out by less than a tenth of a second. Championship leader Fernando Alonso will start from third ahead of main rival Mark Webber who will start fifth, with Jenson Button splitting the pair in fourth.

Webber was disappointed with his lack of pace and subsequent grid position, and with Alonso ahead in third, the pressure will no doubt be getting to him if he is to take his first title. Hamilton, who sits 24 points adrift of Alonso will need a win, with Alonso failing to finish in the points, and Vettel finishing no higher than third, with Webber no higher than sixth to take the title. For Vettel, he needs a win or second position to get ahead of Alonso.

In the second half of the top ten, Felipe Massa set the sixth fastest time, with Rubens Barrichello seventh, Michael Schumacher eighth, Nico Rosberg ninth, and Vitaly Petrov tenth.

In Q1 the usual suspects found themselves in the dropout zone – Sebastien Buemi, Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen, Timo Glock, Lucas di Grassi, Bruno Senna and Christian Klien in 18th to 24th respectively. Jaime Alguersuari just pipped his Toro Rosso teammate to get through to Q2, the two cars the only of the established teams without an F-duct.

In Q2 Robert Kubica, Kamui Kobayashi, Adrian Sutil, Nick Heidfeld, Nico Hulkenberg, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Alguersuari dropped out in 11th down to 17th respectively.

Vettel is in the best position for tomorrow’s race, and he’ll be hoping to stay there if he’s to get the best shot at the title. Hamilton will be on the attack straight away, unless the stewards penalise him for his incident with Massa in Q2. Webber has a fight on his hands if he’s going to take the title, and he’ll be hunting Alonso straight off the start to give him the best possible chance.

So with the grid a bit more shaken up than normal, anything could happen in tomorrow’s race. But who is going to walk away with the ultimate prize? Four men remain in the hunt, and while Alonso is in the best position, it could still be anyone’s for the taking.

The race starts at 1pm UK time tomorrow, and you wouldn’t want to miss it.

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Vettel Heads Red Bull 1-2 in Abu Dhabi

November 1, 2009

Sebastian Vettel won the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this afternoon, securing second in the drivers’ championship, while polesitter Lewis Hamilton retired shortly after his first pitstop with mechanical failure.

Jenson Button finished his first race as 2009 world champion in third, narrowly missing out on passing Mark Webber for second, after closing in on the Australian in the last few laps of the race. Button had been wheel-to-wheel with Webber in turn 11 on the final lap, very nearly making it stick in the last sector to pass the Red Bull driver, but Webber was able to hold off Button for a final one-two of the season for the team.

Hamilton had the biggest disappointment in F1’s first twilight race, retiring on lap 21 with right rear brake problems. Hamilton said over the team radio that the problem had started early on in the race, explaining why he was unable to pull away from Vettel in the first stint. Vettel had been able to leapfrog Hamilton after the first round of pitstops, but it was shortly after that, that Hamilton retired.

Hamilton’s teammate Heikki Kovalainen, who started 18th after a penalty for changing his gearbox, made his way up to finish 11th on a one-stop strategy, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in 12th.

Rubens Barrichello, who went into the race fighting for second in the championship with Vettel, finished fourth after Button passed him on the opening lap. Nick Heidfeld, who started the race from eighth, finished fifth, scoring BMW’s last four points in F1. Kamui Kobayashi, who has been standing in for Timo Glock at Toyota, after his accident in Japan, finished sixth, scoring three points, in just his second race.

Jarno Trulli finished behind his rookie teammate in seventh, while Sebastien Buemi scored the final point of the season for Toro Rosso in eighth. Buemi’s teammate Jaime Alguersuari was the only other retiree of the race along with Hamilton. The Spanish driver drove into the Red Bull pitbox at his first stop instead of the Toro Rosso one, at the same time as Vettel was coming in for his first stop. Alguersuari had to continue back out onto the track, and he eventually came to a stop. While it looked like he had run out of fuel on his outlap after his pitlane error, he then said it was a gearbox problem.

Despite failing to finish the race, Hamilton maintains fifth in the drivers’ championship with a point over Raikkonen, who failed to finish his last race for Ferrari in the points. McLaren have secured third in the constructors’ championship with a point over Ferrari.

While Hamilton and McLaren looked set to dominate going into today’s race, as the sun set on the 2009 season, it was Vettel and Red Bull who came out on top. With Button and Brawn having already secured the championship, for Vettel, it was all about ending a brilliant season on a high, securing his second place in the drivers’ championship, and with a hat-trick of wins at the end of the season, Red Bull have proved they are worthy runners-up in the constructors’ championship.

 

Formula One will return with the Bahrain Grand Prix on the 12th, 13th and 14th March 2010, however, between now and then, there is a lot to be decided, including whether there will be a British Grand Prix, and who will be driving where when the lights go out for the start of the 2010 season.

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Hamilton on Pole for Last Race of the Season

October 31, 2009

Lewis Hamilton took the final pole of the season in qualifying at Abu Dhabi this afternoon, while Jenson Button, the new 2009 world champion set the fifth fastest time ahead of tomorrow’s race.

Hamilton set the fastest lap times in all three rounds of qualifying, showing the McLaren is in a class of its own this weekend at the brand new Yas Marina circuit. He finished the final session with a time of 1:40.948, 0.7 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel who will start alongside him on the grid.

Vettel will be aiming to come away with more points than Rubens Barrichello tomorrow in order for him to secure second in this year’s world drivers’ championship. Barrichello will start tomorrow’s race from fourth, alongside third-placed Mark Webber, on the second row of the grid, and ahead of Jenson Button in fifth in his first race after securing the title.

Kimi Raikkonen will start his last race for Ferrari from 11th after just missing out on the top ten shoot out, Heikki Kovalainen will start what could possibly be his last race for McLaren from 13th after he stopped out on track during Q2 with suspected gearbox problems. Fernando Alonso starts his last race for Renault before his move to Ferrari from 16th, while Giancarlo Fisichella will start what is likely to be his last F1 race in 20th after another poor qualifying session.

With the focus now on who can finish where in the standings for the season, with all being well in tomorrow’s race, Hamilton looks likely to secure fifth in the drivers’ standings over Raikkonen, while McLaren look set to take third from Ferrari in the constructors’, after a difficult season for both teams.

Tomorrow’s race is also set to be F1’s first ‘twilight race’, starting in daylight and finishing under flood lights. The new circuit is set to end the season on a high, with Hamilton and his KERS-equipped McLaren looking good to take the last win.