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: Hungarian GP

Monday 29th July 2013


And the bonus is that Lewis gets to keep this one...

And the bonus is that Lewis gets to keep this one...

Another epic race packed with incident, accident and inexplicable Mercedes tyre longevity. Hungarian GPs were never usually like this...

Star of the Race
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st
When Lewis Hamilton said on Saturday that the team were in no position to fight for the win on race day, you kind of believed him. We were going into unchartered waters with new tyres being raced on what could have been a 55C track surface and the Mercedes previously keen to eat Pirellis faster than locusts on anything green. As it turned out, we didn't get the predicted 38C just the vaguely warm 34C and tarmac at 51C.

The way he won was impressive. It wasn't that he got first place because the Mercedes' tyres degraded fast and he lucked into a Jenson Button buffer and held on. Hamilton was so confident with his set-up he was able to produce little sprints in the middle of stints. On Laps 39, 40 and 41 he set three successive Fastest Laps and you felt certain that he was going to pit for more tyres on Lap 42 - but no he went on till Lap 50. At the end he was setting PB sector times on his penultimate lap, which, given Rosberg's fiery exit, was confident.

Most impressive of all was the way he despatched Mark Webber twice into Turn 3. The Hungaroring is often compared to a kart track and those looked like karting-line moves. Afterwards he dedicated the win to Nicole from whom he's split up (again). If he's serious about winning championships and not wasting his talent and his time - we had the soul-searching "I-wasted-so-many-years-at-McLaren" outburst the other day - then he needs to sort out his relationships too. Nobody expected him to leave Mclaren but it's turned out to be a good move. Maybe he should apply that logic elsewhere.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 29: Romain Grosjean on Felipe Massa
Grosjean's daredevil swoop around the outside of Felipe Massa into Turn 4 was the highlight of the grand prix. It was a dramatic pass, one that involved a certain amount of co-operation from Massa during the race, and also received his support after the race. Massa described Grosjean's subsequent drive-through penalty for leaving the track as ridiculous. By the letter of the law the stewards were right, but pictures from Grosjean's onboard camera showed Massa's front wing edging into shot on the left and had Grosjean gone tighter and stayed with two wheels skirting the line, then it's likely that they would have touched. If there's one place that Felipe Massa should be left alone it's Turn 4 in Hungary. Nico Rosberg didn't seem to understand that.

If the stewards are going to enforce this rule then they should do it every race - they didn't bother pulling Mark Webber up for his pass on Vettel at the Nurburgring. Similarly they wanted to see Grosjean about his collision with Button at the chicane. Neither car was damaged and no carbon fibre was lost. Why didn't they want to see Vettel about his touch on Button, or Rosberg about his first lap trampling of Felipe Massa's front wing, or Sutil and Massa when they came together on Lap 20?


Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, 2nd
Considering he was back in P10 on Lap 19, to finish up in P2 is a hell of a result. It also shows what Grosjean could have done had the breaks gone his way - because Lotus missed out on the chance to demote Vettel to P4 today and inch Kimi that little bit closer into contention. Kimi survived an opening lap scare himself on the run down to Turn 4 when he, Massa and Rosberg almost came together. It was at the same spot later in the race that Sebastian Vettel tried to make a move that was never going to come off. And didn't.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull 3rd
Given the lack of traction he had away from the line Vettel pulled off a remarkable feat in keeping Rosberg, Grosjean and Alonso behind him in the long, long run down to Turn 1. In the race he suffered from the effects of following other cars too closely. High temperatures don't tend to suit Adrian Newey-designed cars as he's famous for producing cars with neat aerodynamic profiles where everything is packed in and overheating can result.

When Vettel had his pit-stop and came out behind Jenson Button for the second time it was hilarious. Sadly it didn't last so long in the second stint, but you have to take your pleasures where you find them.

Vettel's most interesting comments came after the race when asked if he would consider Fernando Alonso as a team-mate next year or would he prefer Kimi Raikkonen? Vettel didn't dodge the question, he said that he would prefer Kimi "because Kimi's always been straight with me, where as other people..." the heavy inference being that after last year's end-of-season shenanigans he couldn't trust Fernando.

Mark Webber, Red Bull, 4th
A great recovery drive from Mark Webber after a strong start from the dirty side of the grid. In Friday practice he looked like he might take the fight to Sebastian Vettel in the race, that is until his car started to develop some familiar gremlins on Saturday and qualifying left him beached in tenth. It had been a struggle to get even that. The race was a different story.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 5th
Starting from fifth you felt certain that Alonso - on the clean side, with his rocket starts and with a big distance to play with - was going to be P2 or P3 by Turn 2 or Turn 3. The only trouble is the three cars in front looked like they had pre-arranged to start in a way that kept him boxed in. At one point there was a tantalising gap that opened up between Vettel and Rosberg as the cars headed for Turn 1 and you felt sure Fernando was going to fill it, but he held back.

After the race he had a bizarre dig at Romain Grosjean's start: "Grosjean was concentrating on only me, maybe he forgot that we are racing 24 cars. I was happy that he paid penalty after to compensate a little bit for his aggressiveness." Going down to Turn 1 Grosjean was concentrating only on not interlinking his wheels with Sebastian Vettel who was moving ever left and was nowhere near Alonso. That sounds like a throwback to Spa 2012 and not what happened in the race. Grosjean followed Alonso's gearbox for thirteen laps at the end and didn't do anything stupid.

Jenson Button, McLaren, 7th
Like Webber, Button showed the advantage of leaving the line on a new set of Mediums, plus he was able to draw on the experience of a dozen Hungarian GPs. Despite quite a few cars wanting to give him punctures he managed to get through unscathed - plus he put a neat move on Felipe Massa into the Turn 6 chicane, a place that is phenomenally difficult to overtake even when the car in front has worn tyres.

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 8thEverybody wanted a souvenir chunk of Felipe's front wing this race and it progressively disappeared like a caravan being towed by Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson (see this Sunday).

Sergio Perez, McLaren, 9th
It wasn't a spectacular race for Checo but he did well to qualify in front of Jenson Button given the last-minute assembly of his Mclaren on Saturday.

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 10th
Williams' first points of the year and Pat Symmonds hasn't even joined yet.

Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro-Rosso, 12th
JEV got a but narky with all this talk about Daniel Ricciardo being the only Toro Rosso driver considered for the Red Bull drive and told French daily L'Equipe that when his car doesn't suffer problems he always beats Daniel Ricciardo. Despite qualifying six places behind Daniel he did. Though the margin was the slimmest.Losers

Force India, Double DNF
It's fairly easy to see the big loser from the change of Pirellis. All of a sudden Force India are back in their natural habitat, duking it out with Williams, Saubers and Toro Rossos. Like Ferrari, they need to find a rapid solution.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, DNF
You can take the boy out of GP2, but you can't take the GP2 out of the boy. Rosberg's opening four corners had a touch of the wild-arsed lower formulae and his collision with Massa was every bit as ill-judged as anything Grosjean did on Button. Did he think Felipe was going to stand on the brakes and let him in mid-corner?

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, 13th
Great qualifying, not so great start and ultimately a disappointing race - especially on the eve of Red Bull making their decision (widely expected ahead of the Belgian GP at Spa). The good thing is that the Silverstone test will have provided exactly the kind of data Red Bull need in a direct comparison with Sebastian Vettel. Mark Webber hasn't done too badly with the occasional poor start. But Daniel really does need to work on that sunny outlook and excess cheerfulness. It's so not F1...

Media Watch
This from the Official F1.com site commentary of Qualifying 1 on Saturday. Now we all make mistakes, as I'm constantly reminded, and this is not a criticism of another website. The funny thing about this is that someone must have typed it in a hurry and just as they pressed the irretrievable 'Publish' button you can hear them shouting "Doh!" but it's too late and it's gone. It's almost like a palindrome as well.
"Caterham will be pleased, though, comfortably beating both Caterhams."

Vettel's Maiden Ferrari Run

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