Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Motorsport | Formula 1

Kimi Raikonnen © Gallo Images

Raikkonen triumphs, Vettel third



Kimi Raikkonen won an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix thriller for Lotus on Sunday while Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel defended his Formula One championship lead by fighting sensationally through the field from last place to third.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished runner-up, just 0.8 seconds behind the Finn after reeling him in with a string of fastest laps, to close the gap with Vettel to 10 points with two races remaining.

On an evening with a huge crash, two safety car interludes and a string of retirements including McLaren's Lewis Hamilton while leading from pole position, the floodlit Yas Marina circuit hosted one of the sport's great races and kept the stewards busy.

The victory was Raikkonen's first since 2009 when the 2007 world champion won in Belgium, the 19th of his career, and made him the eighth different driver to triumph in 18 races so far this season. He stopped just once.

Vettel, who had to start from the pit lane due to a fuel irregularity and finally set the fastest lap of what he called a 'crazy race', now has 255 points to Alonso's 245 and can clinch a third successive title in Austin, Texas, in two weeks if results go his way.

"I went to see Sebastian before the race and he said 'I'll see you on the podium'," said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner of a race in which Vettel's run of four successive wins come to an end but added considerably to his reputation as a true champion.

"I think it's one of the best of his career. He really went for it. To go from pit lane to podium is phenomenal."

Red Bull could have clinched the constructors' championship for the third year in a row on Sunday but were made to wait after Australian Mark Webber crashed out. They now have 422 points to Ferrari's 340 with 86 remaining to be won.

Vettel, who had led every lap of the last three races, and Alonso are the only drivers still in contention for the title with Raikkonen third overall but 57 behind Red Bull's 25-year-old German.

This video is not available in your region

DEADPAN STYLE

Raikkonen, a man who has always done his talking on the track, swigged from his bottle of fizzy non-alcoholic rose water on the podium as the other two sprayed theirs at him.

Asked in front of the crowd by retired McLaren teammate David Coulthard what it was like to win again, the 33-year-old Finn replied in the deadpan fashion his myriad fans have come to love: "Not much really.

"Last time you guys were giving me grief because I didn't smile enough but I'm happy for the team. It's been a hard season and not easy times lately," he added. "Hopefully this will give everyone belief and turn the tables so we can win more races, if not this year then next year."

Raikkonen, who had signed a contract extension before arriving in Abu Dhabi, had seized second place at the start and inherited the lead after Hamilton slowed and pulled over after 20 of the 55 laps.

McLaren said a mechanical fuel pump had failed.

When the team advised Raikkonen of the gap between him and his rivals, the Finn was typically blunt: "Leave me alone, I know what to do," he told his engineer.

"Yes, yes, yes, I do it all the time," he added later on when they reminded him to warm the tyres.

The win was the first since 1987 by a car racing under the Lotus name, although the new Lotus is effectively the old championship-winning Renault outfit that Alonso took his two titles with.

Vettel's performance matched Raikkonen's for emotion, with Red Bull changing the 25-year-old's gearbox and suspension to more aggressive settings before the race.

His was a roller-coaster evening, forced to pit for a new front wing after he hit a trackside marker board while weaving behind Toro Rosso's Australian Daniel Ricciardo with the first safety car on track.

The safety car was deployed on the ninth lap following a dramatic flying smash when Germany's Nico Rosberg piled into the back of Indian Narain Karthikeyan's HRT that had suddenly lost hydraulic pressure.

Rosberg's Mercedes was pitched into the air and over the Indian before plunging backwards into the safety barriers. Both drivers walked away unhurt with debris strewn across the track.

The second safety car period, which set up Vettel's final chase, followed a multi-car collision that ended Webber's race along with that of Raikkonen's unfortunate French teammate Romain Grosjean.

McLaren's Jenson Button was fourth, sealing the team's record 56th successive race in the points, ahead of Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado for Williams. Japan's Kamui Kobayashi took sixth for Sauber with Brazilian Felipe Massa seventh for Ferrari and Bruno Senna eighth for Williams.

Britain's Paul Di Resta took ninth for Force India, despite colliding with teammate Nico Hulkenberg and Senna on the first lap, while Ricciardo bagged the final point.

RESULTS

1. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN/Lotus) 1hr 45min 58.667sec
2. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Ferrari) at 0.852s
3. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Red Bull) 4.163
4. Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren) 7.787
5. Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Williams) 13.007
6. Kamui Kobayashi (JPN/Sauber) 20.076
7. Felipe Massa (BRA/Ferrari) 22.896
8. Bruno Senna (BRA/Williams) 23.542
9. Paul di Resta (GBR/Force India) 24.160
10. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Toro Rosso) 27.463
11. Michael Schumacher (GER/Mercedes) 28.075
12. Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA/Toro Rosso) 34.906
13. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN/Caterham) 47.764
14. Timo Glock (GER/Marussia) 56.473
15. Sergio Perez (MEX/Sauber) 56.768
16. Vitaly Petrov (RUS/Caterham) 1:04.59
17. Pedro de la Rosa (ESP/HRT) 1:11.778

Shop

Lewis Hamilton: My story
Lewis Hamilton’s explosive arrival on the Formula 1 scene has made front-page headlines
R112.64
Psychology of motorsport success
Motorsport is a highly addictive and extremely exciting activity
R369.89


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Sports Talk



Guest Column
Fit as an F1 driver
Nico Rosberg turns around with a grin during a slight uphill section, shouting "Hey, what's the...

Reuters on Motorsport
Team prospects for the 2013 F1 season
Team-by-team prospects for the Formula One season starting in Melbourne, Australia, on March.