Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel racked up yet another win at the 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, making last weekend’s victory in the desert his seventh in a row this season and his 11th overall of 2013.
It was an emphatic win, too. Although the German didn’t qualify on pole – finishing Saturday in second to his teammate Mark Webber – a poor getaway from the Red Bull number two meant Vettel was in the lead at the first corner.
From there the German led every lap of the race in a convincing display – not even when pitting for tyres did Vettel lose the number one spot, such was the pace of this car and the lead he had built up.
With Vettel wrapping up the championship at the previous race in India, there’s no mathematical possibility he can be caught and the four-time world champion now leads the standings by 130 points.
With 25 points for a win, that’s a significant margin…
The rest of the field had to fight it out for third, with the Red Bulls occupying the first two positions on the podium.
Having qualified in third, it was Mercedes man Nico Rosberg that held on for the final trophy position.
It was a mixed day for the Brits in Abu Dhabi – Lewis Hamilton slipped from fourth on the grid to finish seventh behind Force India’s Paul di Resta.
The Scot qualified down in 12th spot, and after some disappointing non-finishes this year, di Resta came through the field to claim some well-deserved points.
Mexican Sergio Perez finished ninth in the McLaren – exactly where he started – with teammate Jenson Button improving on one place to cross the line in 13th. Still not where our local team should be finishing, but let’s hope efforts are being re-routed to next year’s car to launch a title challenge as the rules are changing for 2014.
After his hard-fought third place in India, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean recorded another good result, finishing in fourth place.
Fernando Alonso finished fifth in his Ferrari but nearly didn’t make it home at all, after avoiding a high-speed potential collision with Torro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne.
Exiting the pits, Alonso was in Vergne’s blind spot, as such the Frenchman didn’t see him and moved over on the Ferrari driver. Alonso was forced to run off track and over the kerbs, passing Vergne in the process.
The Ferrari thumped into a bump on the Abu Dhabi track, which triggered the Ferrari’s ‘g’ meter – a device that measures g force on the car. When this loading passes 25g – that’s 25 times the force of gravity – it sends an alert to the pits, meaning Alonso was forced to go for a medical check-up after the race.
After a very public spat with his Lotus team last week at the Indian Grand Prix, continuing on the run-up to Abu Dhabi, Kimi Raikkonen’s weekend in the Middle East was one to forget.
After starting the race from last – following disqualification from qualifying after his Lotus was found to have failed the flexible floor test set out by the FIA (the sport’s governing body) – Raikkonen collided with the rear of Giedo van der Garde’s Caterham.
This left the Finn’s Lotus with suspension damage leading to his retirement, while van der Garde escaped relatively unscathed.
It was all about Red Bull (again…) in Abu Dhabi though, with Vettel and the team’s performance once again showing they’ve been the class of the field throughout 2013.
With new regulations set for next year, maybe McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes et al. can get back on terms with Red Bull. It’s certainly going to be interesting to watch.