F1: Hamilton seizes glory as Vettel’s luck runs out in Abu Dhabi
Lewis Hamilton fought a terse battle with Fernando Alonso to take a convincing victory after Sebastian Vettel made an unscheduled exit from the race on the first lap at the Yas Marina circuit today.
Vettel looked confident that he would bring another race victory after his qualifying performance yesterday, but fate conspired against him. After flying ahead in his usual style, he was pitched unceremoniously from the track as his right rear tyre suddenly exploded. The young German was spun violently across the runoff area with his tyre in shreds and, despite managing to limp back to the pits, he was clearly unhappy when his engineers told him the damage was too severe to repair.
As Lewis Hamilton took full advantage of his good fortune and set about building up his lead, further down the field the Mercedes Petronas pairing of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg pushed each other all over the track, in an attempt to prove who was the team number one, before finally settling down to the job in hand. Hamilton didn’t have it all his own way however, and he soon found himself fighting off challenges from his McLaren team mate Jenson Button and Mark Webber. But it was Fernando Alonso who posed the greatest threat and often looked to be strong enough to claim the win. Throughout the race the tough Spaniard kept edging ever closer to Hamilton and it was not until he made his final stop he realised he had not done quite enough to take the win, finishing nine seconds behind an ecstatic Hamilton.
Jenson Button suffered a problem with his KERS boost system and was left to tangle with Mark Webber – the McLaren was faster on the high speed straights but the RedBull was better in the slower corners and chicanes. The pair duelled and swapped places several times over the next few laps before Button managed to reset his on-board computer, fix his KERS and regain some of the ground lost to Webber, before passing him during the final pit stop to take third place in the dying moments of the race.
Felipe Massa piloted his Ferrari to a solid fifth place behind Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher following him home in sixth and seventh place respectively.
Adrian Sutil was desperate to prove to the Force India management that he deserves to keep his seat with the team next year and finished in eighth place ahead of his rookie teammate Paul di Resta in ninth, and crucially for him ahead of the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi.