Vettel chalks up seventh win in a row
Quadruple Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel eased to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday for his seventh successive victory and 11th of the season.
The 26-year-old German led home a Red Bull 1-2 – the 15th time in Formula One and giving them their 100th podium finish – with Australian Mark Webber second, taking him to over 1000 points in his Formula One career which comes to an end at the end of the season.
German Nico Rosberg was third in a Mercedes.
Vettel's win drew him level with compatriot Michael Schumacher's mark of seven successive wins (2004) and should he win the last two races of the season he will equal the overall record of nine held by Alberto Ascari (1952/53).
The German, who also equalled his personal record set in 2011 of 11 race wins in a season, can also equal Schumacher's overall record of 13 wins in a campaign if he lands the final two races of the season.
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Vettel was ecstatic at his victory especially as it came in front of his parents.
"I have spent most of my life racing in front of them (his parents) as a kid, the toys are a bit bigger now, but I am so pleased they are here to see me today.
"They taught me lots of good things and one day I want to pass that on to my children if I have them. So today I dedicate this victory to them."
Webber said he was content with his end result.
"The start wasn't great and Nico got an unbelievable start," said the 37-year-old.
"I had to battle with Nico for second. I would have liked the win, but I matched my best result here."
Rosberg said that Mercedes had achieved its objective for the weekend.
"I am happy, third place was good. The plan for the weekend was to be the best of the rest behind the Red Bull and we achieved that. It could have been second on another day, but it didn't quite work out.
"The most important thing is to finish second in the constructor's' championship not only financially, but also motivationally for the team to see that we have the second best car."
Once again, as he did in India last Sunday when he sealed his fourth title, Vettel threw his Red Bull car into a series of 'doughnut' pirouettes on the circuit to delight the crowd. A week previously, he had been reprimanded and fined for his celebrations.
"I think Sebastian can pay the fine this week," said team chief Christian Horner. "That was a champion's drive."
Vettel, recording his 37th win of his career, started second alongside Webber but the Australian once again failed to benefit from starting from pole, he has won just once on the last nine occasions he has started there.
Sensing this Vettel took the lead at the first corner and went on to dominate the race, turning the contest into a master-class.
Webber, who had started from pole position, endured a typically incident-filled contest on his way to second ahead of Rosberg while Frenchman Romain Grosjean of Lotus finished fourth.
Two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who had started 10th for Ferrari, came home in fifth position and recorded the fastest lap ahead of Briton Paul Di Resta of Force India.
Briton Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes was seventh, Brazilian Felipe Massa of Ferrari eighth, Mexican Sergio Perez of McLaren ninth and German Adrian Sutil of Force India 10th.
Ferrari-bound Finn Kimi Raikkonen's rounded off a nightmare week with a suitably flat performance.
Indeed the Lotus driver, who has threatened to boycott the final two races of the season because he has not been paid this year, had had to start from the back of the grid after a technical infringement in qualifying.
His race then lasted to just the first corner where he clipped one of the Caterham cars.
Asked whether he thought he had made the wrong decision to start from the back of the grid rather than the pitlane, from where Vettel started last year and finished third, he replied tersely: "No."
1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault 1:38:06.106
2. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault +00:30.829
3. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 00:33.650
4. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 00:34.802
5. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 01:07.181
6. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India - Mercedes 01:18.174
7. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 01:19.267
8. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 01:22.886
9. Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 01:31.198
10. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 01:33.257
11. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - Renault 01:35.989
12. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 01:43.767
13. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 01:44.295
14. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari 1 lap
15. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams - Renault 1 lap
16. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1 lap
17. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1 lap
18. Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham - Renault 1 lap
19. Charles Pic (France) Caterham - Renault 1 lap
20. Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia - Cosworth 2 laps
21. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - Cosworth 2 laps
r. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus - Renault 55 laps
(rank: r = retired, nc = not classified)