| Source: autosport.com |
Sebastian Vettel took his seventh consecutive win with one of the most dominant victories in recent Formula 1 history in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Poleman Mark Webber did not make the best start and was overtaken on either side by his Red Bull team-mate Vettel and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
Kimi Raikkonen insisted he had no regrets about starting from the back of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix grid rather than the pitlane, despite crashing out at the first corner.
After Raikkonen’s exclusion from qualifying, Lotus had the option to start him either from 22nd on the grid, giving him the chance to make up ground off the line, or from the pits to avoid any first-corner trouble.
Raikkonen took the start from the grid, but tangled with Giedo van der Garde’s Caterham at Turn 1 and immediately retired.
Asked afterwards if he now felt he should have started from the pits, Raikkonen replied: “no”.
He believes he was unlucky that the van der Garde incident did as much damage as it did.
“I went to the inside and then somehow managed to touch with a Caterham,” said Raikkonen.
“We didn’t touch hard but I think the angle was very unlucky and it broke the steering.”
Classified: Pos Driver Team 1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 2. Webber Red Bull-Renault 3. Rosberg Mercedes 4. Grosjean Lotus-Renault 5. Alonso Ferrari 6. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes 7. Hamilton Mercedes 8. Massa Ferrari 9. Perez McLaren-Mercedes 10. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 11. Maldonado Williams-Renault 12. Button McLaren-Mercedes 13. Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 14. Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 15. Bottas Williams-Renault 16. Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 17. Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 18. van der Garde Caterham-Renault 19. Pic Caterham-Renault 20. Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 21. Chilton Marussia-Cosworth Fastest lap: Alonso 1m43.434s. Not classified/retirements: Raikkonen Lotus-Renault World Championship standings, round 17: Drivers: Constructors: 1. Vettel 347 1. Red Bull-Renault 513 2. Alonso 217 2. Mercedes 324 3. Raikkonen 183 3. Ferrari 323 4. Webber 166 4. Lotus-Renault 297 5. Hamilton 165 5. McLaren-Mercedes 95 6. Rosberg 159 6. Force India-Mercedes 77 7. Grosjean 114 7. Sauber-Ferrari 55 8. Massa 106 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 32 9. Button 60 9. Williams-Renault 1 10. Hulkenberg 49 11. Di Resta 48 12. Perez 35 13. Sutil 29 14. Ricciardo 19 15. Vergne 13 16. Gutierrez 6 17. Maldonado 1
Kimi Raikkonen – DNF: “There was some contact in front of me through the first corner so I stuck to the inside, but unfortunately one of the Caterhams touched my front wheel and it broke the track rod. It wasn’t a heavy impact, but the angle made it worse. It’s never easy starting so far back on the grid, but after the penalty it was a better choice to help our chances in the race rather than starting from the pit lane. After a difficult start to the weekend we did well yesterday so it was a shame we couldn’t start where we qualified, but these things happen sometimes; it’s just back luck.”
Romain Grosjean – 4th: “That was a pretty long race. I got a good start and made up two places in the first few corners, but after that I lost a lot of time behind the Force India. I could overtake him with the DRS, but he had much better top speed and could just drive straight back past at the next straight. That middle stint cost us the chance of a podium in the end, and on pace we could maybe even have pushed Mark [Webber] for second place, but that’s how it goes sometimes. It’s a shame we couldn’t make it four podiums in a row, but to come away with fourth place after a difficult couple of days is a decent result.”
Eric Boullier – team principal: “It’s been a difficult weekend for the team, but we can be pleased with the fact our car has once again shown strong pace at another different circuit. After the misfortune of his qualifying penalty it was always going to be a tough race for Kimi. Starting at the back with a faster car always puts you in a tricky position, and in the end it was bad luck once again that saw his race end on the first lap; for the first time since 2006 I believe. Romain drove a very mature race to narrowly miss out on his fourth consecutive podium, which on another day and without his issues in qualifying would certainly have been within reach. We have some work to do if we are to achieve our target of third place in the constructors’ championship, so our focus must now be on returning to the podium in Austin.”
Alan Permane – trackside operations director: “We came into this weekend anticipating another podium challenge, but unfortunately circumstances have ultimately conspired against that happening. Having already been stripped of his best qualifying performance since Germany, Kimi’s race was cut short on the first lap after a tangle with one of the Caterhams, bringing a disappointing end to a weekend where his pace had been much improved. It was a trouble free race for Romain by contrast, who drove well to take fourth place. His progress was quite heavily hindered by traffic midway through the race and we didn’t quite have the pace to challenge [Nico] Rosberg in the closing stages, so realistically he achieved the best possible result on the day. What’s especially pleasing is that he’s gone from being labelled a ‘first lap nutcase’ to consistently gaining positions away from the line and through the opening sequence of corners at each race. We now head to Austin where we’ll be working hard to make a return to the podium.”
Video: Kimi damages car on Lap 1