Abu Dhabi

Last Race: 23rd Nov Abu Dhabi

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

Winners and Losers: Singapore GP

Sunday 22nd September 2013


This taxi cost ten grid places

This taxi cost ten grid places

Vettel was at his brilliant best, while Martin Brundle finally told the crowd what they should have heard a long time ago.

Star of the Race
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1st
Vettel was in the predicted race of his own on Sunday. The laps at the start were exceptional - a 4.1 second gap to Rosberg by Lap 2. He was up to 6.2 seconds on Lap 4 and by Lap 5 he was being told to ease off. At the re-start the gaps were breathtaking - 3.2, 5.5, 8.3, 9.9, 11.9, 14.3, 16.5, 18.7, 20.4. He produced a 20-second lead in nine laps. And in case you missed the stat - he's now led more F1 races than Nigel Mansell with only Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna left to tick off the list. Given that Bernie's heading for 25-grand-prix-seasons those three won't take long.

It was another peerless performance from Vettel and good for Sky's Martin Brundle who told those booing Vettel on the podium: "Please don't do that, that's not correct." Because it's not. Vettel joked that it was Ferrari fans who didn't like him winning all the time, but with 17% of the audience made up of Aussies (figures supplied by the race organisers) it was probably more to do with "Multi 21 Seb".

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 54: Kimi Raikkonen, on Jenson Button for P3Kimi Raikkonen's pass on Jenson Button was the key element in claiming a podium place. If he hadn't have got past when he did then he could well have been swallowed by the pursuing horde of Webber, Rosberg and Hamilton. A measure of Kimi's brilliance is that he passed Button on the same age tyres, yet Nico Rosberg on much younger tyres struggled to get past the McLaren of Perez. Kimi chose the dirty line round the outside of Turn 14, a corner with no significant run-off and virtually no margin of error. He was helped by Button leaving him room, but it was an audacious move.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 2nd
Fernando made the most of one of those golden path starts when some cars get poor getaways and other cars conspire to move out of the way and he picks the perfect line through the first corner. Alonso likes the outside, even though it can be risky sometimes, but today his Ferrari shot through like a Scalextric car with magnetraction. It would have been interesting to register Fernando's exact emotion as he swooped round Turn 1 and realised he'd made the kind of progress in one corner that some drivers of faster cars spend an entire race not replicating.

From there on it was a question of getting the Safety Car pit-stop call right and making his tyres last till the end of the race, which didn't look as spectacular as anything he did on the opening lap but was immeasurably more difficult.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 4th
A fantastic qualifying performance, an almost-perfect getaway but Nico just overran Turn 1 and that was all that Vettel needed to get him back. After that it was a mixed race, often spent querying (almost arguing) with his race engineers. The radio exchange "why do I need to push?" was one of the strangest. Many viewers will have wanted to supply an alternative answer to the one he got from Tony Ross.

Both Mercedes drivers gave the impression they didn't really know where they were. Hamilton said he thought he'd finished third when he crossed the line, not having accounted for Alonso and Raikkonen being in front.

In Monza Lewis had trouble with his radio and in Singapore Nico experienced radio problems too. Given the evolution of other technologies in F1 and the collective billions of dollars spent sucking exhaust gases to unnecessary places on cars, you'd think they might have cracked this one by now.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 5th
Despite working his cahunas off, Lewis Hamilton only had fifth place to show for what he equates to sitting in a sauna for two hours. You expected him to be downbeat afterwards, but no he was very positive after the race. This is probably down to the fact that although he got outqualified by Rosberg, and his start was dreadful, in the closing stages he looked considerably quicker, especially when Rosberg struggled to get past slower cars. In the past Rosberg has been asked to hold back and it was evident that Hamilton had the pace to challenge his team-mate but in the end held back.

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 6th
Massa outqualified Alonso for the fifth time in 12 races but chose the busy side of the grid for his start and got boxed in. It was a competent performance from Felipe and shows that he is still eminently employable. One factor that is on his side is his size. With weight at a premium in the 2014 cars, he is a lot more cockpit-fitting-friendly than the hulking Nico Hulkenberg.Jenson Button, McLaren, 7th
Sergio Perez, McLaren, 8th
Although Button said there was no real chance of a podium, had Perez skidded into the barriers at Turn 18 on Lap 53 then we'd probably have had a Safety Car up to the two-hour mark. Perez kept his car in one piece despite the marbles and despite a three-way tussle with Hulkenberg and Maldonado that looked certain to end with missing aero parts.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, DNF
Such is life. Kimi Raikkonen has a mare in qualifying and ends up on the podium. Romain Grosjean produces an eye-watering performance in qualifying, runs strongly in the race and ends up on an early flight. As senior Lotus engineer Alan Permaine said, "we've never been so annoyed to get a podium". It could have been a P3 and P4 but they ended up handing more points to Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship.

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, DNF
With Singapore almost as close to Daniel's native Western Australia as the Melbourne Grand Prix this could become his adopted home race. More great qualifying from DR which will be very encouraging for Red Bull. Nothing that's happened since the announcement of his move to the senior team has detracted from the view that they've made the right choice. He got a lousy start, but so did Jean-Eric; it might have been a clutch issue.

Like the bloke he'll be replacing in Red Bull he rarely pulls punches and blamed himself for his Lap 25 exit, which will probably be the lowest speed accident of his career.

Paul DiResta, Force India, 20th
Poor qualifying. Titanic start. Great pace. Good pit-stops, Paul was heading for the sixth place ultimately claimed by Felipe Massa when it all went horribly wrong at Turn 7. It was probably the team's fault.

Mark Webber, Red Bull, 15th
Mark should really have been closer to Seb after qualifying given that he's no slouch on street circuits. What really hurt was not the loss of fourth place through a blown engine, but the reprimand he got for hitching a lift home on Fernando's Ferrari. Under the totting up procedure it now means he loses ten grid places in Korea which probably puts him out of contention for that race as his valedictory win. With the constant jeers he's getting on the podium Vettel must surely be keen to hand a race win back when they're in a 1-2 position and starting from that far back isn't going to help. Six to go.

Media watch
Did anybody else think that Eddie Jordan might have been on the sauce during Qualifying in Singapore? He was beaming around him in that gently benevolent way that Oz Clarke (who also has his Irish roots) does. In fact Eddie seemed far more lucid and relaxed than usual, an improvement.

Asked about what impact Kimi Raikkonen's arrival will have at Ferrari:
"Fernando Alonso - is he going to t'row the toys out of the pram? I think so."

Talking to Christian Horner about the way Red Bull saved a set of SuperSofts for the race:
"That extra set of tyres gives you another little big advantage."

Commenting on how well the Sauber is doing recently:
"I think they're managing to get that extra little sparkle out of it."

James Allen reacting to Gary Anderson's suggestion that a car had peaky downforce:
"Peaky downforce? That sounds like an R&B act!"

David Coulthard talking about the drivers adapting to lighting conditions around Marina Bay:
"Driving under the lights is not an issue for the drivers, do you find it difficult walking round your house with the 100w light on?

No, but I rarely get to 280km/h in the hall.

Andrew Davies

Vettel's Maiden Ferrari Run

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