Abu Dhabi

Last Race: 23rd Nov Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi GP Results
Pos Driver
1 Lewis Hamilton
2 Felipe Massa
3 Valtteri Bottas

Team-Mate Wars: Bahrain

Wednesday 24th April 2013


He's a cheecky Checo

He's a cheecky Checo

Because in F1 the first person you have to beat is your team-mate.

Red Bull Racing
Race: Vettel
Season: Sebastian Vettel 3 - Mark Webber 1
Only something mechanical or something rude at the start of the race was going to deprive Sebastian of the team-mate points once Mark's grid penalty had been applied. Vettel had the joy of driving in the open air and all the comforts that that affords his Pirelli tyres. Amusingly, Pirelli have described the tyre wear of their softer compounds as 'aggressive', as though it were a bit of an alpha male quality. Next time a police officer stops me and asks about the tread depth on my rear tyres, I won't say I got a cheap set from KwikFit, I'll tell him that I decided to go 'aggressive'. That should be interesting.

Vettel had a strong race, Webber had a dog of a race typified by giving up a place to Sergio Perez on the last lap.

Race: Perez
Season: Jenson Button 3 - Sergio Perez 1
Button really has to learn to be a team player. He knew Checo was struggling in the team, he knew Martin Whitmarsh had given him a bollocking after China and told him to get aggressive, he knew he needed a result. So when Perez was crowding all over the back of his gearbox, the team thing would have been to give up the place and not fight. Jenson is supposed to be one of the smarter drivers on the grid, he was aware that resisting Perez would shag his tyres and it did. He lost the chance of 7th or 8th place by trying to exert his authority as team No 1. Sergio, by contrast, followed for long periods - something that the tyres shouldn't like - but was still able to nurse a flatspot to the flag and gain places. Watching Perez put in a confident chop across the bows of a half-hearted Romain Grosjean or meting out the same treatment he'd given Kimi Raikkonen in China to Fernando Alonso was Checo at his fearless best.

Race: Hamilton
Season: Lewis Hamilton 3 - Nico Rosberg 1
Rosberg was amazing in qualifying and couldn't quite believe a) that he'd got pole and b) how much he'd beaten Lewis Hamilton by. Nico got a wonderful start, Lewis got a bad one - yet Hamilton's race (stymied by his iniquitous 5-grid-place penalty, effectively for getting a puncture) was a joy to behold, gradually inching his way forward through the ebbs and flows of the tyre strategy. He was uncharacteristically careful about where and when he made moves to overtake Webber. For Rosberg the glory was limited to before the red lights went out.

Race: Alonso
Season: Fernando Alonso 3 - Felipe Massa 1
What a rarity. A Ferrari mechanical fault. They don't seem to come along very often, so the other teams have to make the most of them. Similarly Felipe Massa's double puncture was unusual, but may not have been entirely Pirelli or debris-related. Felipe likes to thump his tyres into kerbs and picked up a puncture in India by hitting a kerb too hard - whether this contributed to the weakness in the tyre remains to be seen. Perhaps for the second one. Either way, it was a race in which fortune deserted the Scuderia in a combination of circumstances that are unlikely to happen again. On Wednesday PlanetF1 ran with the headline 'Ferrari Identify Alonso's DRS Problem' - it was jammed open.

Race: Raikkonen
Season: Kimi Raikkonen 3 - Romain Grosjean 1
Grumbly and Happy were Pirelli's star pupils in Bahrain as they took two different strategies and almost met at the finish, thus adding weight to the theory that it's not just a one-strategy-fits-all formula. Even when they have the same chassis. Raikkonen didn't have a great start but pegged it back through consistent running and care of his tyres. Romain didn't have the Kimi updates so it will be interesting to see how the two compare in Barcelona.

Force India
Race: Di Resta
Season: Paul Di Resta 3 - Adrian Sutil 1
Di Resta converted his qualifying edge into a big bag of points - Adrian Sutil was very unlucky to get a puncture so early on and so far away from the pitlane. It wasn't the trip down pitlane that was the problem, it was the limping back on full tanks. From a team POV it's important to get these points tucked away while Williams and Sauber are failing to get results - with results going begging in Malaysia and Bahrain for the team they could have been 15-20 points further up the road and virtually counting the money for 6th place (or better) in the constructors' championship. Di Resta had a very strong result and will have half an eye on 'the Perez situation'.

Race: Hulkenberg
Season: Nico Hulkenberg 4 - Esteban Gutierrez 0
Nico Hulkenberg mixed it with the big boys for a time, but Esteban Gutierrez is getting swallowed up by the increasingly racy 'new' teams.

Race: Maldonado
Season: Maldonado 2 - Bottas 2
Maldonado finished just outside the points, but the team seem to be missing their engineering co-ordinator Mark Gillan. Their slip back from the front will be most noticeable next race, the anniversary of Maldonado's debut win.

Toro Rosso
Race: Ricciardo
Season: Daniel Ricciardo 2 - Jean-Eric Vergne 2
Daniel Ricciardo couldn't replicate his amazing qualifying from 2012, but looked a lot stronger than Vergne on the Sakhir circuit. If he's going to get Mark Webber's drive he needs a lot more than 'strong' though.

Race: Bianchi
Season: Jules Bianchi 4 - Max Chilton 0
Bianchi now has some serious competition from Charles Pic of Caterham. Caterham having taken a sensible pill and re-employed Heikki Kovalainen to evaluate their upgrades which seems a much better use of money than owner Tony Fernandez spending £12m on QPR defender Chris Samba and paying him £100,000 a week while the team get relegated. Marussia have now slipped behind Caterham in pace and Bianchi has to lead the way by maintaining his half-a-second qualifying gap over Max Chilton.

Race: Pic
Season: Giedo van der Garde 0 - Charles Pic 4
Van der Garde didn't cover himself in glory but did manage to cover himself in carbon fibre pieces after steaming into Jean-Eric Vergne. It's a French duel at the back between Pic and Bianchi, both of whom are dominating their teams.

Quotes of the Race Weekend
Williams development driver Susie Wolff in her role as BBC 5 live analyst: "It's so much psychological. There are problems at Red Bull and suddenly Mark Webber is best friends with Alonso. Mark is showing his alliances there and playing with Vettel's head a little bit."

Or maybe it's the fact that Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso have been friends ever since they were at Benetton together in 2001 (see pics of the car launch in St Peters Square, Venice).

Star of the Race
Sutil 1, Brawn 1, Alonso 1, Perez 1

Overtaking Move of the Race
Vettel 2, Raikkonen 1, Grosjean 1,

Dull vs Exciting GPs
Incandescent 2 -Exciting 2 - Dull 0

Sat on the Naughty Step
Maldonado 1, Vettel 1, Gutierrez 1, Van der Garde 1

Frank Hopkinson

Vettel's Maiden Ferrari Run

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