Kimi Raikkonen back on the top step, winning the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix 2012!
Webber’s slightly off-kilter start, in front of Kimi, Kimi not hesitating, got him into position to fight for victory.
Not much needs to be said about Lewis’ machinery failure, yet again in 2012. Lewis, having a great, and dominant weekend, leads from pole, looks comfortable, after a minor cold-tire lockup, and edges a comfortable gap over the fast and steady Kimi, only to have his McLaren whoof, and lose power. Race over!
Kimi establishes dominance on the soft tires, takes a good cushion and winds out fastest laps, edging forward. He stays out a bit longer on the Lotus-favoured softer tires, returning from the pit stop in good position to continue to the flag. Alonso charging hard in the last five laps, but Kimi responded trading fastest laps to the flag to take his first victory: this season, since his return, and for Lotus since Aryton Senna.
A morose Alonso takes second.
Vettel: I suggested the potential for an amazing drive, before the race, and yet was surprised as it was even more interesting than I had warned. Starting from the pit, Vettel shortly gets wing damage advancing through the field, then during the safety car, for the Rosberg/Karthikeyan, Vettel gets squeeze by a brake-warming Ricciardo, as he is accelerating to take out a brake-zone market and effectively finish off his front wing! So he pits and takes on new tires, possibly planning to run the remaining 42 laps on the soft tires! With new wing and new tires, he carves his way through the field, and advances as other teams begin to change tires for this one-stop race. Then the Di Resta, Perez, Grosjean, and Webber (more on him in a moment) coming together safetycar launch, lap 39/55; Vettel takes his chance and dives in for a new set of softs, again lunching upwards through the ranks. In the final few laps Vettel fights Button, in a slower car, but defending valiantly. Button deserves driver of the race, for what he didn’t do, that is, take Vettel out on a gutsy passing move, Button drove with the utmost respect and integrity, giving the minimum, but enough room for Vettel to make the move stick and up into third, which he held until the flag. Astonishing race from Vettel. Unfortunately for the race winner, by gaining third, Vettel mathematically eliminates Kimi from the 2012 World Championship.
Webber drove a feral race, but was always behind the eight ball from his (slightly) compromised start off the line. Webber drove like a man possessed, or as the say down under, ‘totally feral, mate.’ He mixed it up with Maldonado around turn eleven, spinning out and losing places. he then fought his way back after a seemingly ill-timed for him, (but not Vettel who was immediately behind him), pit stop, through dense and competitive traffic, to mix it up again at turn eleven, this time wiping out Fillipe, who spun his Ferrari after an awkward bounce off a curb. Finally, Webber was in the wrong place, at the wrong time to get clipped by Grosjean (also not at fault), getting popped by Perez rejoining the track in an ill-advised manner after swinging wide following very aggressive double overtaking attempt. Webber provided about 50% of the excitement and spectacle of the race!
Kudos to the stewards who did not give Webber a penalty for either his Maldonado nor Massa contacts; the Maldonado contact being the more grievous of the two.
Maldonado 5th, his first top six, aside from his Barcelona win, this season, and Bruno Senna 8th means a good day fro Williams.
Kobayashi 6th, a good drive from him.
But the man of the hour, a crowd-pleaser with his no-nonsense approach (especially to the strained contrivances of the media interviewers), wins (FINALLY!) this season, and many of us could only be happier if he was still in contention for the 2012 World Drivers’ championship.