Raikkonen wins as Vettel races from pits to podium

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix review

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Kimi Raikkonen returned to the top of an F1 podium for this first time in over three years after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Raikkonen inherited the lead of the race when Lewis Hamilton retired and withstood severe pressure from Fernando Alonso in the final laps of the race.

At the end of a dramatic race saw Sebastian Vettel claimed the final a place on the podium despite having started in the pits.

Fast-starting Alonso claims fourth

With Vettel’s race not starting until the rest of the field had passed through turn one, Alonso had an opportunity to put one over his rival – which he wasn’t about to waste.

He took Jenson Button at the exit of turn one at the start and demoted Mark Webber on lap one as well.

The Red Bull driver had started slowly, allowing Raikkonen to dodge around him and take up second behind Hamilton. Pastor Maldonado held third, keeping Alonso at bay.

The Force India pair tangled at the first corner and further contact with Bruno Senna ended Hulkenberg’s race. Paul di Resta headed for the pits with a puncture, as did Romain Grosjean, who had contact with Nico Rosberg further around the lap.

This handed a few places to Vettel and he gained several more as he picked off Charles Pic, Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov, Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen. That moved him up to 13th place.

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Huge crash for Rosberg and Karthikeyan

Rosberg had also pitted for repairs at the end of lap one and was making his recovery when he caught the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan. Heading into turn 16, Karthikeyan’s steering locked solid and he suddenly came off the power.

Rosberg had no time to react. The result was a shocking crash, the Mercedes vaulting over the HRT, narrowly missing Karthikeyan’s head. With debris all over the racing line the safety car was summoned.

This gave Vettel, who had damaged his front wing racing with Senna, the chance to dicuss the situation with engineer Guillaume Rocquelin. “We’re not worried about the front wing damage,” said Rocquelin. “Keep an eye on it,” replied Vettel, “maybe we can change it on the pit stop.”

That decision changed moments later when Vettel was caught out by Daniel Ricciardo braking in front of him on the straight. “What is he doing, he’s stopping all the time” exclaimed a furious Vettel.

He swerved off the track avoiding the Toro Rosso, damaging his front wing even further. “Right there was the stupid DRS board which I managed to hit straight on,” he said after the race. “Finally had to change the front wing.”

So when the safety car came back in after lap 14 Vettel was back at the rear of the field and potentially facing over 40 laps to go on his new set of soft tyres.

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Hamilton retires from the lead

Hamilton was disappointed to see his lead eradicated by the safety car but he swiftly restored his advantage over the Lotus when the race resumed.

Behind then Alonso made a mistake and came under pressure from Webber but the Red Bull’s straight-line speed wasn’t good enough to make a move stick on the fourth-placed Ferrari.

But Alonso’s fortunes suddenly changed when, on lap 19, Hamilton’s car came to a stop with a loss of fuel pressure. For the second time this year it had failed him while he was leading.

Alonso was up to third and that became second when Maldonado lost KERS, allowing the Ferrari to get by. But Webber’s attempt to do the same on lap 23 went wrong – the pair made contact, tipping Webber into a spin which left him seventh. Maldonado continued to slip back with first Button, then Perez passing the Williams.

Vettel climbs into the points

While all this was going on Vettel was climbing his way back into the points. He picked off a string of cars in the first laps after the restart. Crucially, he did so quickly enough to be able to take advantage of those in front of him who were beginning to pit.

This was despite a hasty move on Grosjean in which Vettel put all four wheels off the track. Anxious to avoid a repeat of his penalty from Germany, Red Bull wisely advised Vettel to surrender the position. He did, and re-passed Grosjean shortly afterwards.

After passing Ricciardo and Michael Schumacher Vettel was up to eighth and had his team mate in sight. Webber was pressuring the Ferrari of Felipe Massa, who had been told twice by race engineer Rob Smedley that the team wanted him to stay out.

Webber attacked Massa at turn 11 and again there was contact. The Red Bull took to the escape road and Massa pirouetted as he rounded the off-camber turn 13. Smedley was quickly on to the stewards but they ruled it had been a racing incident.

Vettel claimed another place from Massa and was now closing on Webber. Ciraon Pilbeam advised Webber not to put up a fight against his team mate: “He’s on fresher tyres and a different strategy.”

The leaders were now well into their pit stops and as they came in Vettel suddenly found himself in second place with Raikkonen not far ahead. But his soft tyres were beginning to wilt and Alonso was closing in behind, despite also having the McLaren of Button on his tail.

Red Bull resigned themselves to the inevitable and brought Vettel in. This proved fortuitous timing when the safety car was deployed minutes later.

This came after a four-way battle for fifth place ended in tears. Grosjean attempted to repel an attack from Di Resta, allowing Perez to make a move around the outside of the pair of them at turn 11. But the Sauber had to take to the run-off on the outside of turn 13 as Di Resta cut the inside of the corner.

Returning to the track, Perez found Grosjean on his inside and the pair collided. Grosjean’s car was mortally wounded, and Webber behind was unable to avoid the Lotus. Scratch two more cars – and Perez’s race was spoiled by a ten-second stop-go penalty from the stewards.

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“You don’t need to remind me all the time”

Lotus were anxious to avoid any late dramas for Raikkonen during the second safety car period and were reminding him of the need to keep his tyres up to temperature when he told them in no uncertain terms that such messages were superfluous: “Leave me alone, I know what to do, ” he said, adding “Yes, yes, yes, you don’t need to remind me all the time” in response to another.

He scorched away from the field when the race resumed, leaving Alonso to fend off Button and – remarkably – Vettel, who had the benefit of a fresh set of soft tyres for the closing laps of the race.

He was also aided by much-improved straight-line speed, as starting from the pit lane allowed him team to make changes to his car to make it more competitive in a straight-line. However these alterations were completely untried before the race began.

At first Button remained in DRS range of Alonso, which gave him the edge he needed to keep clear of Vettel. But as Alonso pulled away from them the advantage swung towards Vettel.

Eventually he got closer to Button by braking daringly late for turn eight, got alongside on the following straight, and passed the McLaren driver on the outside at turn 11. Crucially, he and Button left each other more room than Maldonado and Webber had.

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Alonso pushes Raikkonen to the end

That reduced the gains Alonso had made even further, but as the race drew to a close it looked as though Alonso might go one better than second place. He edged closer and closer to Raikkonen, and was just one second behind on the penultimate lap.

But as they began the final tour Raikkonen found a vital two-tenths to prevent Alonso from attacking him with DRS. That finally clinched the first win for a Lotus in over 25 years.

Vettel had jokingly told Alonso before the race that he’d see him on the podium, and Alonso can’t have been pleased to see the prediction come true. Vettel might have had the run of the green at times, but his final pass on Button was a hard-fought move and third place was a just reward for his indefatigable commitment.

Button was a disappointed fourth, while Maldonado held onto fifth despite a lack of KERS. He was aided by Kamui Kobayashi suffering a similar problem – a downshift problem meant his KERS wasn’t charging fully.

Massa held off Senna and Di Resta for seventh place and Ricciardo claimed the final point after resisting Schumacher in the final laps.

Jean-Eric Vergne was 12th ahead of Heikki Kovalainen. The Caterham driver held the 12th place the team badly need at an earlier stage but also suffered a KERS problem and ended up 13th. Glock, Perez, Petrov and De la Rosa were the remaining finishers.

Like Vettel, de la Rosa also started from the pits. After the race Vettel insisted he believed a podium finish was possible from there, though his team principal had not been so optimistic.

If Vettel retains his title this year, the damage limitation job he did in Abu Dhabi will have played a vital role in it.

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2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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200 comments on “Raikkonen wins as Vettel races from pits to podium”

  1. I´m happy I decided to watch the race… great fun. I can´t believe people are putting all Vettel masterfull race to luck… But I don´t care.. I´m gonna rewatch this one at least two times today…

    1. You can’t say that he didn’t have luck. First corner crash, Grosjean, Perez etc. crash, two time safety car, Toro Rosso lets him pass, Hamliton retires…

      1. At the same time, you can’t say it wasn’t a storming drive.

        Let’s just leave as “a great drive aided by some good fortune”, ok?

        1. A good drive aided by some great fortune :) Fixed.

          No but in all seriousness I am not denying Vettel had a good race, I just think people are overhyping how good it was to try and dispel the notion that he can’t race unless he has the best car. Personally I reckon Vettel has put in more impressive drives on at least 3 or 4 other occasions this season, than today’s performance where he made some mistakes but still got the rub of the green.

        2. And Alonso was less lucky? His wishes that his main rivals should statisticaly!!! have technical problems realized with Vettel in Quallify and Hamilton in the race.
          The 1st place literally handled to him when Hamilton retired!! He failed to pass the inferior Lotus of Raikkonen when at the same time Vettel passed the whole grid TWICE. That is not luck . What did Webber done with the same car starting from P2?
          He didn’t give up when he broke his front wing twice and even risked all passing Button at the end.
          What so special did Alonso in this race?
          He stated once again that the position he finished was the maximum that this car could achieve, implementing that he was perfect and that his car was to blame … well that’s ********. He had a Lotus in front of him not a mclaren nor a Red bull.
          This race showed who is the one that deserves more the WDC and that’s clearly Vettel ,who can win from 1st and from last without whining, without looking for excuses, and doing what he best can inside the car overtaking when he has to.
          I’m waiting for all the excuses people would again find for not voting for Vettel as driver of the weekend.

          1. @cosmas

            “He stated once again that the position he finished was the maximum that this car could achieve, implementing that he was perfect and that his car was to blame”

            Its not rocket science to realize the Ferrari isnt the fastest round many tracks. It was clear that Fernando was pushing extremely hard, he looked absolutely shattered after the race. Lets be fair, neither Lewis nor Seb could have won in that Ferrari yesterday.

            ” He had a Lotus in front of him not a mclaren nor a Red bull.”

            And your point is? Kimi was supreme in clear air. He only slowed toward the end when his tyres started falling off..when which Alonso so came within a tenth of DRS. The Lotus was quick yesterday..so your comment doesnt make sense.

            “This race showed who is the one that deserves more the WDC and that’s clearly Vettel ,who can win from 1st and from last without whining, without looking for excuses, and doing what he best can inside the car overtaking when he has to”

            Your point again? So you are saying that the rest of the drivers on track arent giving their best or overtaking when they have to? Once again, Seb drove a great race, but he didnt actually have to whine did he? His car was going great guns. I recall that earlier in the season, when the Red Bull wasnt setting the tracks ablaze, Seb was making similar comments about his car.

            I find it hard to believe that you reckon Fernando was whining about his car. His lap times on Saturday show he was getting the maximum, his times were very consistent and he was pushing very hard.

            As I’ve said many times (got COTD last week), this is a team sport and the best driver from the best team will win. Seb is one of the best, and RBR are without doubt the best team on the grid right now.

          2. @jaymenon10
            I am not talking about Quallify performance where indeed Alonso took the maximum from his car. In race pace the Ferrari as the timing shows was the second fastest car in the race.
            Yes, maybe he had some trouble warming up his tyres after the restarts but beside that, he gained from the SC too as his gap from the leader zeroed twice. Before the 2nd SC he was 9 sec behind Raikkonen and after the SC this was 2 sec giving him a chance for the win and an extra bonus of +7 points which he failed to take.
            Maybe Lotus were too strong yesterday but what about the williams. Beside the places he gained at the start he was following Maldonado for the 20 first laps only managing to pass him when the former had kers issues. On the other hand he easily passed Webber with the superior RB on the opening lap without DRS and with colder tyres , how you explain that?
            About the comparisons , i am not comparing Vettel with the rest of the field , just with Alonso in this particular race only.
            In your opinion, which of the two, Alonso or Vettel drove better in this race? Which of the two had an easier job to do and he do it? Which of the two materialized a realistic target he could set after Quallify?
            If i asked you to bet before the start of the race on Alonso winning the race and Vettel finishing on the podium which would be your choice?
            All i am trying to say, is that if this race was a normal-predictable-boring race , Alonso should be 10 points ahead of Vettel in the championship. Vettel with a strong car, a stunning driving and some luck manage to lose only 2 points. If Alonso had won this race capitalizing from Hamiltons failure would his fans talk about how lucky he was or about his ability as a driver to be there close behind to take the points?
            What is more annoying is people from the sport, like Whitmarsh and Domenicali not accepting Vettel true value and justify everything to the superiority of the car and luck. This is a joke, and is done only for psychology games. I really dont know what this poor guy have to do to be once accepted as a top driver. I quess this two will change there view when Vettel decides to leave Redbull looking for a new team..

          3. @cosmas

            Take it easy…you seem to be getting very emotional on me here.

            If you ask me, driver of the day was Vettel. That was a superb drive. I never discounted his performance in any form on my comment. He made the most the of the safety car period and finished on the podium. Very well done.

            Who drove the better race? Well, they both were in a race of different sorts for the most part. While Vettel was busy smashing his front wing while picking a DRS marker, yes Fernando was obviously stuck behind the Williams for far too long. I think the Williams was quick on the soft tyres early on, and on this track, its no secret even with the DRS, a quick car can be hard to get by..duly demonstrated by Seb and Jenson late on. Perhaps it was too early in the race for Fernando to take a risk like Seb did on Jenson?

            To be honest I dont know what your argument is here. If you want me to say that Vettel is a better driver and deserves to win the WDC, I will agree on the latter and perhaps disagree on the former. At this point, you cant really separate Seb, Lewis and Fernando, they are all exceptionally good, but they are different types of drivers, strong in different parts of the race weekend.

            As an Alonso fan, of course I am disappointed with him not winning. I dont know why he wasnt asked to push as hard as he did in the final 10 laps after the second SC period. He mentioned they were conserving tyres, perhaps it was a poor call from the pits? Who knows?

            As a parting shot, for all those people who are suggesting Vettel was lucky..so what? As I have said many times before..at this level..you make your own luck! If Seb had not brought himself into a position to benefit the safety car..well..I guess we would be having this argument now would we?

          4. In every single interview with Alonso, the words “never give up” and “maximum” will be uttered. As if it’s acceptable to give up for any F1 driver? I suspect Alonso didn’t really start pushing as early as he could at the end. I think he was afraid of binning it with RAI. He was also lucky that WEB cratered.

            With the attitudes around here I think RAI could get the DOW. Which would be reasonable I guess, faultless drive from him, except for the hypocrisy of praising a guy for winning from the front (after inheriting 1st).

          5. @jaymenon10
            I totally agree with your last comment.
            I am not getting emotional on you, my previous comment was more an answer to Vettel critics and less a straight answer to you. All good.
            About the best driver, a couldn’t write it better than you just did.
            Alonso -Vettel-Hamilton are by far the top three with very small differences but each with his own qualities. I am not saying neither that Vettel is the Best driver in general.
            Alonso in my opinion doesn’t deserve to talk about luck this year, specialy in this race where he saw his two bigger opponents get out of his way by them self(there teams). Vettel was yesterday unlucky – not his fault demoting from 3rd to last – but lucky today because of the safety cars, so its in a way even for him .
            Hamilton is the only one ho can rightly claim he was unlucky in this race but also in general in this season until now.
            You are an Alonso Fan but yet you accept Vettel and Hamilton as top quallity drivers and the same respectively happens with me as a Vettel fan for Alonso and Hamilton. Why is it so hard for other fans to see things this way too? Fan psychology? Why is it so hard for team bosses to speak the truth and not giving answers to excuse their mistakes? psychology games? These are not questions to you jay just rhetorical.

    2. When Alonso won in Valencia, due to Vettel’s and Grosjean’s car failures, everyone was saying that Alonso won on merit and he’s god. Now Vettel finishes 3rd form last and everyone says that it’s just pure luck. People just don’t like Vettel, because he dominated 2011 season, but it was more domination in Schumacher era and he is still the greatest among fans.

      1. Not to mention the six SCs in Canada 2011 for Jenson. But I believe that while Button was lucky that day, he drove a great race as well.

      2. The thing is… Vettel drove a great race… nobody can take that away from him….but then he had a great car and considerable good fortune too( but he made the most of it… well done from an alonso fan ).. i think vettel is gonna win the title.. but still for me Alonso and Hamilton are the stand out drivers of this season… I am so disappointed that F1 has become so much of an aerodynamic sport… and the driver skill is increasingly taking a back seat… It’s more of a competition among A.newey , N. Thombiasiz and whoever Maclaren’s cheif designer is rather than hamilton, alonso and vettel… it’s a pity that we will never know who actually is the fastest among hamilton, alonso and vettel….

        1. driver skill is increasingly taking a back seat

          I disagree very strongly with this.

          They got rid of traction control, they got rid of bespoke tyres for the top drivers. They’ve cut back aero (not enough, but some) and brought in designed-to-degrade tyres. The cars are visibly much harder to drive now than they were ten or even five years ago.

          The very fact that Alonso is still up there, ten points off the championship lead in a sub-standard car, is proof that a quality driver can make much more of a difference now than in the early 2000s.

          1. The very fact that Alonso is still up there, ten points off the championship lead in a sub-standard car, is proof that a quality driver can make much more of a difference now than in the early 2000s.

            Well is nt it proof enough that the car is more important than the driver ???? I think you would agree with me that Alonso has driven the wheels of his car this season(arguably better than any one else on the grid) and the last season for that matter.. but even then he was no were near vettel last season and it looks more likely that Vettel is goona cake walk to his 3rd straight title…. I hope vettel switches to ferrari to partner Alonso.. and atleast we can see the two battling i out in equal cars…

          2. How on earth is the Ferrari a sub-standard car? Are you serious? The Ferrari is more than a match for Red Bull and McLaren over a race distance. And the Ferrari is astonishingly reliable; The Red Bull and McLaren have problems at any race. I know I speak against most opinions the the speed-reliability combination of the Ferrari Is better than the other two good cars on the grid, which makes it the best of them in my opinion.
            The championship is won on points, not on fastest laps or poles, that’s why the Ferrari is such a good car: it can bring home the points.
            Alonso was never that good at qualifying, so it shouldn’t surprise many that he doesn’t start from pole. The car is not as fast as the other two, but is fast enough.
            Other people won the championship in much slower cars than Alonso and they weren’t making such a big deal of it, they were losing and winning together with their team, not trying to show how great they are in such an awful car as Alonso does.

        2. Whether it is aerodynamics, brakes, chassis or engine, there has never been parity between the cars. Some people seem to look back on the past as some kind of driver proving ground- assuming that because the cars were less complicated then they were all equal.
          And that is just rubbish.

    3. He was the luckiest man on track today. He had 2 collisions and 2 safety cars gave him at least 15 seconds. He’s the luckiest driver of the day… not driver of the day.

      1. This from”grosjean”. Lots of frustration about Vettel being the best racer in the world it seems. No luck from my point of view-teams fault he started in the pits, vettel’s merit to finish p3. All the rest really is sour grapes-full stop.

      2. Kimi was lucky that Hamilton retired, but he did do a fantastic job at the start, at the restarts, in the race on the whole, and definitely at the end. Alonso was lucky that Hamilton retired, Maldonado had KERS issues, safety car period and that Webber was at his foolish best, yet he did successfully convert his opportunities, saved his tyres. Vettel was lucky that a ‘demolition derby’ not once but twice paved most of the way for him, made a mistake(front wing) but not punished thanks to safety car, that hamilton retired and a host of others in front had issues, yet he was very fast, and was driving and overtaking as a man possessed.
        The only guy who was at his best, without the help of any visible luck, was hamilton, and strangely was the one that had the worst of luck, yet he has only luck to thank that he could start his F1 career with the best car, almost win WC on his first outing, and did indeed win in his 2nd year. Now most would be willing to give an arm and one of their marbles to be in his place. So, luck evens out at the end, what remains is what you could achieve without luck!

        1. This +1

          IMO, it’s about making the best of the opportunities presented to one. There is never such a simple thing as victory being handed on a silver plate to a driver, he also still needs to make the most of the car’s pace + retirements + SC + other drivers’ misfortunes etc in order to actually make up the places.

          And truth to be told, I think that people are seriously starting to overate Alonso really, it’s not like he has been actually driving the same complete c**p of a dog F2012 that started this season… It has obviously been heavily improved by Ferrari, and is wholly capable of racking up top 6 positions consistently since the big Mugello update, with strong reliability to boot.

          Unlike rivals like Red Bull and Mclaren, who had been suffering from varying fluctuations in pace or various other problems really… Even though they have actually been able to have much stronger pace at times.

    4. Some people are just so ridiculously stubborn! I doubt Vettel will ever manage to silence all his critics, but in all honesty I don’t care about all the people living in denial as Vettel is storming to world championships.

      Alonso is a great driver and I don’t dispute this, so I expect the same to be said of Vettel, but obviously not everyone can be satisfied! I really hope Vettel wraps up this championship in Austin.

      1. + a million
        All this talk about luck ignores the logical fact that there is no such thing, it causality. Unexpected causality might be seen as “luck” but what it really is is a chain of events. Vettle fully deserves to be considered a “great” and this was a great drive, no luck was evident. Like Seve Ballesteros said, the more I practice the luckier I get.

      2. If he wins and Alonso finishes 5th or lower, Vettel is the champion.
        Hope that happens!!!

        1. Hope that happens!!!

          …and lose a possible nail-biting interlagos? I watch F1 for the excitement, not because I consider a driver I have not ven met, my best friend. May the worthy driver win the WC!

      3. @vettel1 Just Google “psychology of fandom”… when you hang your self-esteem on a sports star or team, logic and rationality tend to fly out the window. (I am as guilty as anyone of that.)

        Great race today and Vettel was very impressive. If he doesn’t get voted driver of the weekend, it’ll be a travesty in my opinion.

        1. @dirgegirl – I’m guilty too, but by nowhere near the same extent as many! I agree, if Alonso gets voted DOTW for his Valencia performance (after Vettel dominated so thoroughly) then I think a return of favour would be just. It probably won’t happen though.

          1. @vettel1 – well, at least you have the satisfaction of knowing he’s got a great chance of being WDC this year! Try being a Button fan and see how your self-esteem suffers… :o)

          2. @dirgegirl – true enough! I try to be as impartial as possible whilst still obviously supporting my driver, but sometimes I just have to go defensive!

            You never know, Button might have a shot at the WDC next year with the team perhaps devoting more attention to him with Hamilton’s exit. I wish him luck!

    5. Not sure whats the issue with luck, it’s a common knowledge that people who are very good at what they doing are also extremely lucky at their craft. Alonso was showing this in the first part of the season, today things went Vettel’s way. I’m just so happy, Kimi switched it on how he did after loosing all that advantage after second restart.

      Great drives from all World Champions (did not monitor Schummi), their sector and lap times lap after lap couldn’t be much more different. VERY consistent at theirs relative paces.

  2. When Hamilton retired, I felt so bad for him, he really didn’t deserve that. It was also nice to hear him asking on the radio about Rosberg and Karthikeyan’s health during the safety car, I haven’t heard a driver do that before. Speaking of Rosberg and Karthikeyan, that accident was scary as hell.

    Vettel drove well today, but I don’t think he will have silenced those who say he can’t race. He was very lucky with the safety cars and he made some silly moves early in the race with Senna and Grosjean.

    The accident involving Perez, Grosjean and Di Resta was born out was terrible driving. I don’t like how we’re seeing more GP2 style driving in Formula One.

    1. That multiple car incident was unbelievable. What a silly. I really doubt Perez can deal with top drivers in front. We will know next year but for me he looks more impatient than Grosjean and Maldonado. My F1 colleagues already call him the desteoyer no.3(no.1 is Grosjean and no.2 is Maldonado. Don’t get serious, it’s just nick name for fun)

      1. I think it was Grosjeans fault.

        1. You think wrong.

        2. It was Perez. He pushed Di Resta and he went wide too. When you off the track and come back, you should be careful because there’re cars moving fast and they have priority. Totally Perez’s fault.

          1. And that’s why I was happy with Webber’s retirement. He did the same thing on Massa which cause him a spin and he wasn’t sanctioned.

        3. I think that it was Di Restas fault; had he backed out, Perez probably wouldn’t have run wide, and wouldn’t have been clipped by Grosjean, who then wouldn’t have to have taken avoiding action and hit Webber.

          1. I just know it wasn’t Webbers fault.
            In my opinion Perez ‘gave room’ for the ‘harsch’ move on Di Resta. He went voluntarily wide so Paul Di Resta wouldn’t drive into him immediately when he would rejoin the track. There he lost quite some traction and saw Di Resta come back at him, but was still in front of Grosjean and even on a wider line than Di Resta (so he would be all over Di Resta again after that corner).
            I think Grosjean could have and should have read that so it’s a bit of a shame to see how it all unfolded.
            Clumsy, but I still do point my finger mostly towards Grosjean.
            And poor Mark :(

        4. Here is my two cents on the mega accident:

          First move, Perez is correct, DiResta should have yielded since he lost the position fair and square. In fact, he has to cut the corner through the grass in order to get back in the race. As he joins the race again cutting the width of the track he squeezes Sergio to the run-off area. Then Sergio goes wide and and instead of finishing the corner out and rejoining on the straight he cuts from the farthest away point of the corner straight to the apex (probably trying to retain the position from Grosjean) and this was his biggest sin and the cause of the penalty. I am the biggest Perez fan, but he messed this one up. If he would have rejoined after the curve in the mini straight we would be having a very different discussion

          1. sad to agree. he seems to really lose his cool thinking when +5 laps behind force india colours; then again these guys have 0.3 sec’s to react. Any of them could have avoided the incident by staying more focussed on the checkered flag.

        5. @dzaci214sid

          Look at the thing carefully again.

          It was clearly caused by Perez, who had apparently decided to rejoin the track immediately by divebombing for the apex, leaving no time and space for the other drivers to react. Genius.

      2. @eggry

        Perez… looks more impatient than Grosjean and Maldonado

        ..and I thought I was the only one to feel that way!

        While the mad bull is very aggressive in his defence, and the Napolean like a torpedo, it’s the Mexican chilli that seems to be the spiciest of them all. While his drives to podium are noteworthy, he has destroyed more of his(and others’) races due to his impatience and immaturity. He’s like the child that looks harmless till it delivers that punch to the dad’s groin!

      3. davidnotcoulthard
        9th November 2012, 16:09

        @eggry I think Destroyer no.1 is actually Pastor, no.2 being Romain.

    2. I suspect many probably do inquire about other drivers after a massive crash they just wouldn’t be televised messages.

    3. Terrible track design too. Just like Valencia, those chicanes at the end of long straights seem designed to squeeze cars into each other, making drivers run off the track (with lots of bickering about track limits) or try risky moves round the outside. Only wise old pros like Button and Alonso make it out the other side. And as David Coulthard pointed out, most of the overtaking happened in places where there are no spectators.

      I hope one exciting race isn’t used as an excuse to stick with this crappy layout.

      1. @bullfrog

        I hope one exciting race isn’t used as an excuse to stick with this crappy layout.

        Agreed. This race was great because of the grid, not the track.

        1. To make it better, they should just use the straight line that cuts out T5 and T6 (the chicane; the bit they used under the safety car during the 2010 race when schumi and liuzzi crashed.
          (please correct me if I’ve got my corner numbers wrong)

          1. @xjr15jaaag yeah you’ve got a good point there with the circuit changes, I don’t know why they don’t skip straight past that chicane, it might create a couple of overtakes.

          2. @sid90
            And it’s not like it’s a major remodel that would cost a colossal amount of money either; all they need to do is scrape the paint up, which can be done for probably about £700; it could be done in a couple of hours or so with about 10 people or so, or they could hire a machine that could scrape the paint off and only have 2 people on it.
            It might be a bit more complex than that, but still…

          3. That circuit needs a good hairpin – tracks from Adelaide to Zandvoort have one to encourage overtaking. Turn 7 is a perfectly good one, with fast corners and a decent straight before it – but it looks like they built it too close to the grandstands, so there’s not enough run-off for F1 cars to go piling in at full speed.

            But I wish they’d at least try it without the chicane next year – sometimes it’s about the quality of the barrier, not the amount of run-off before it – as Rosberg’s nasty crash today showed (and Webber’s loop-the-loop at Valencia).

          4. They do it because there’s not enough runoff at the hairpin in case we see a crash. And at the speeds they’re going… it wouldn’t be pretty.

          5. Michael Brown (@)
            5th November 2012, 1:01

            I like the first chicane. You fly into it and you have to take lots of kerb, but the right hand bit is too far away and makes it clumsy. But putting another slow corner after it is ridiculous.

    4. Don’t know about Vettel being lucky in Abu Dhabi or Alonso being lucky in Valencia, but Hamilton is definitely the unluckiest driver in 2012!! He has, at a minimum lost 3 race victories (Spain, Singapore and Abu Dhabi)!

      Well I remember back in 2004, when Ralf had a huge shunt at Indy, Michael was asking about his condition constantly (understandably so).

      Regarding Grosjean, PDR and Perez, I think ever since McLaren announced Perez, he has been trying to be a bit too fancy in every race!

      1. Japan – He tried to go around the outside of Lewis
      2. Japan – Tried the impossible move on Kimi round the outside at turn 1
      3. Korea – Went for a harakiri at the start of the race which nearly ended in tears for him
      4. India – Stupid incident with Ricciardo
      5. Abu Dhabi – Again an avoidable incident

      He is becoming more unimpressive with every race and there are more questions asked as to whether McLaren made the right choice.

      1. Luca Di Montezemolla´s word about him are hunting Mclarean right now…Maybe Perez wasn´t really ready for a top drive…

        1. Looks like LDM has had the last laugh on that issue…for now….

      2. Regarding Grosjean, PDR and Perez, I think ever since McLaren announced Perez, he has been trying to be a bit too fancy in every race!

        1. Japan – He tried to go around the outside of Lewis
        2. Japan – Tried the impossible move on Kimi round the outside at turn 1
        3. Korea – Went for a harakiri at the start of the race which nearly ended in tears for him
        4. India – Stupid incident with Ricciardo
        5. Abu Dhabi – Again an avoidable incident

        He is becoming more unimpressive with every race and there are more questions asked as to whether McLaren made the right choice.

        Reminds me so much of Alesi when he was ironically announced as a Ferrari driver the following season, all due to him impressing at Tyrrell. It never seemed to come to any fruition afterwards.

      3. Oh c’mon PER had to try that was stuck behind them, he will do just fine in a faster car, his mind is on podium snatch mode and rather have him learn the last bits now !

  3. The race was so long but never boring. But it’s not due to pure racing but messy incidents, error and DRS. the grid position also played a part. I’m not sure next year also exciting as well.

    Anyway, brilliant drives from world champions. I knew Vettel’s pace would be great since he changed setup(RB8 can reach 320kph!) but somehow many factors favored him either. I hope the championship battle goes tight until Brazil. If Vettel wins in the US, I’ll be very disappointing.

  4. I really don’t understand some opinions about Vettel and his race.

    Of course he was lucky with the Safety Car, but that’s ok. I mean, starting from the pitlane and finishing third is impossible on pure merit. But it’s not correct to diminish Vettel’s performance. He drove a great race. Sure, he made mistakes, but he delivered.
    And I’m convinced that many expected Vettel to be stuck behind someone and to finish in the lower part of the top 10. Well, he didn’t. While obviously what happened on track played an important role, he was there to take full advantage of it.

    I was disappointed especially by Domenicali and Hamilton. Domenicali was asked about his race, but he couldn’t stop talking about Vettel and all the luck that he had. Hamilton called Seb “the luckiest driver of F1” or something like that. I think it’s not fair, given the weekend that Vettel has had.

    For example, Alonso drove brilliantly in Valencia but he was very lucky as well. It would have been impossible for him to win, if a couple of things hadn’t happened.
    That’s the same for Vettel today and I really don’t think it’s fair to say it was all down to luck.

    1. @yobo01

      I was disappointed especially by Domenicali and Hamilton. Domenicali was asked about his race, but he couldn’t stop talking about Vettel and all the luck that he had. Hamilton called Seb “the luckiest driver of F1″ or something like that. I think it’s not fair, given the weekend that Vettel has had.

      Agreed. I really don’t mind what Hamilton says (although I think it is quite ironic, because he used to have bulletproof and front-running cars for years, while Vettel lost quite about 5 possible victories due to mechanical failures in his career… the tides just turned), but to see Withmarsh and Domenicali jump on the “Vettel just lucky” bandwagon is depressing to say the least. They would do much better to focus on their own teams to iron out their lack of pace (Ferrari) and reliability (McLaren).

    2. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
      4th November 2012, 20:00

      Vettel made several mistakes during race, plus, there were lots of changes on his car (with gearbox, suspension, engine map). Then, second safity-car was deployed perfectly on time. Vettel couldn’t have taken his third place without that help.
      I would say “Vettel drove a fantastic race” if he hasn’t made any mistake. But he made at least three of them.
      Alonso drove brilliantly in Valencia from 11 to 2nd. That was fabulous. And then it was unlucky Vet and lucky Alo.

    3. And I’m convinced that many expected Vettel to be stuck behind someone and to finish in the lower part of the top 10. Well, he didn’t.

      That is because he leaped frogged them with the safety cars.

      On the end of the day, yes Vettel drove great but so did other drivers. However no one can deny that Vettel was extraordinarily lucky. Almost unbelievable.

  5. William Brierty
    4th November 2012, 19:09

    OK, I’m now meant to believe that Vettel is a great racer, and that he doesn’t need to be on pole to get a result. Yeah, pull the other one, because…
    1. If you could pick the two best moments for Vettel to get a safety car, it was when the safety car came out
    2. The Toro Rossos and Webber let him pass
    3. It was a race of high attrition, he had fewer cars to pass
    4. His car was tailored for overtaking, allowing him to breeze past in the extended DRS zones
    5. He had a car that had by far the best race pace; he had low down-force levels and yet he was still fast in the 2nd and 3rd sectors and his tyres lasted
    That’s great team tactics and a whole load of luck, not driving skill. In Canada 2011, Button was the only man able to keep the tyres in the optimum operating window. That’s driving skill. In Valencia 2012, Alonso managed great, aggressive overtakes and still kept his tyres in good condition, all with a car ranking low in the speed-traps. That’s driving skill. Benefiting from a tailored setup, cars letting you past, cars crashing, perfectly timed safety cars and a fundamentally great car isn’t.

    1. 6. Didn’t get a drive through for causing a collision didn’t see it anyway.
      7. Didn’t get a drive through for overtaking off track (Grosjean)

      1. @tvm

        7. Didn’t get a drive through for overtaking off track (Grosjean)

        Ludicrous to point the finger at him for that. He gave the place back and later re-passed Grosjean. We’ve seen many times before this is acceptable. What more do you want?

        1. Did see that sorry :(

          1. It’s also mentioned in the article.

        2. Well didn’t read the article well enough :), but just tried watching again and there were a commercial break right before what I’m talking about… :(

          Anyways it’s this overtake:

          I don’t see him giving the position back from that?

          1. I don’t know what that link to a mobile site is supposed to show – I’m working on a desktop and it looks strange in my browser – but regarding Vettel being told to let Grosjean past see here:



          2. Hahaha, your video even cuts back from that replay and shows Vettel behind him again.

          3. davidnotcoulthard
            9th November 2012, 16:24

            @Keith: delete the “.m” part from the address part. It shows Vettel’s off-track overtake on Romain, but not his 2nd legal one. That, and read@david-a‘s comment:

            Hahaha, your video even cuts back from that replay and shows Vettel behind him again.

          4. davidnotcoulthard
            9th November 2012, 16:25

            Address part bar.

    2. He has a very untidy race, with two accidents. He was gifted around 30 seconds due to the safety car. Take away the second safety car and he would have been around 18 seconds behind Button. By the time he would have caught button, the tyres would have been worse than Buttons.

      I dont see it as amazing at all. I think it fell into his lap.

      1. And then one of the cited “great” drives is the one with 6 safety cars, with the “great” involved in 2 of them…

        1. William Brierty
          4th November 2012, 21:37

          Where do it cite Button as “great”? And at the 2011 Canadian GP the safety cars were to Button’s disadvantage because the secret behind Button’s stunning pace was his tyre temperature, which of course nose-dived after each safety car. For Vettel it conveniently closed up the grid before he pitted or whilst he was on new tyres.

          1. lol, the safety cars benefitted him. After his run-in with Alonso, he was able to get his car fixed without losing significant amounts of time. The leads that Vettel kept building up were reduced to nothing, and assisted Button in closing the gap and winning (along with a mistake from Vettel of course). But you cannot claim they didn’t benefit Button.

          2. @David-A

            They did and they didn’t.

            Don’t forget that each time Button was damaged, he had to limp the ENTIRE circuit before getting back to the pits.

            I would argue that limping the entire track at less than 60mph is somewhat of a disadvantage.

          3. @nick101 – Button only actually got damaged once, unless I’m missing something (the front puncture after the Alonso incident, while only Lewis got damaged in the incident with him), and he certainly didn’t lose as much as he could have, due to SC conditions (everyone had to slow down, including the race leader).

            He also got a drive through for speeding under the SC, so he made errors (like Vettel), but rode his luck and gained a fantastic result from it.

          4. William Brierty
            5th November 2012, 10:44

            Also Vettel was not building big gaps to the 2nd placed man, preferring to build a 3 second gap and simply maintain it. And after his run in with Alonso he didn’t even catch the back of the safety car before it went in.

          5. @Wiiliam – It was only towards the end that he maintained, otherwise he built up margins that were constantly being wiped out, and Button, who made errors on that day, benefitted from those SCs.

    3. The Toro Rosso’s and Webber let him past

      Wrong on both accounts. Webber had to pit for his tyres and so Vettel got past him then, and he legitimately overtook both Toro Rosso’s in the DRS zone. Also, if Toro Rosso were aiding Vettel, then how do you explain the safety car incident?

      1. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
        4th November 2012, 20:30

        That’s not true! Vettel didn’t overtook at least one of Toro Rossos! Ric or Vergne moved out from racing line. That was clearly seen.

        1. William Brierty
          4th November 2012, 21:26

          Off-camera Ricciardo went suspiciously deep in the hairpin, and we all saw Vergne sweep off the racing line as Vettel approached. Worked out well with Webber pitting when he did, didn’t it?

    4. Webber didn’t let him pass , he stayed ahead some laps before the team called him to the pits.
      As for the toro roso’s, wasend one of them’s that forced him in to the DRS sign?

      1. “Vettel legitimately overtook both Toro Rossos” now that was hilarious….

  6. Still waiting for this race to appear on iPlayer. Getting impatient now.

  7. Lewis Hamilton is dismissing Vettel’s drive as “lucky” and again trying to downplay Vettel’s achievements. If I were him I’d be focusing on what is going to be a difficult year next year at Mercedes, given their recent pointless streak.

    1. I don’t think Hamilton’s opinions on Vettel will have any effect on his own career.

      1. @slr – what I am saying is that instead of making comments on Vettel’s driving he should be focusing on what will likely be a difficult year with Mercedes next year. He will need to be 100% focused, which he isn’t now clearly as he is making comments on Vettel’s driving and his team.

        1. @vettel1 He was asked about his thoughts on the race and he said that he thought Vettel was lucky. If he said such a thing in a situation where he just said it for no apparent reason (e.g. on twitter), then I’d question his focus. Also right now, he’s focused on McLaren, he’ll be focused on Mercedes when he officially joins the team.

          1. All I’m saying is he should be concerned about his own driving and his own luck and his own team; not Vettel’s.

          2. And I’m certain that he is concerned about himself and not Vettel. He was just replying to a question when he said “Vettel was lucky”. I’ll end it there now. :)

        2. @vettel1 as if anyone can dispute the claim that Vettel wasn’t lucky today, common. And Lewis is damn well concentrated on his driving, it’s obvious for everyone, he smashed the field and his teammate this weekend.

          1. @andrewf1 – I’m not disputing his luck, what I am disputing is why some are so closed-minded in using luck as the sole factor in him achieving a podium form the pit lane. Alonso has had his fair share of luck, yet his driving is the first thing to be credited. I wish Hamilton would stop siding with Alonso and focus on his own performances and his own team’s mistakes. Sure, if he’s asked a question answer it, but he doesn’t seem to respect Vettel as much as I would like to see from two top drivers.

    2. Didn’t Hamilton win his WDC by just one lucky point? Hamiltons comment is quite revealing of his poor attitude this season.

      1. @thecollaroyboys – precisely! I’m more infuriated at the fact his immediate comment was about Vettel’s luck rather than his brilliant driving this race. He is just as bad as many people on this post.

        1. @vettel1 if you call that a brilliant drive, then you must have quite some low standards. Kimi in Suzuka 2005 or Hamilton in Silverstone 2008, Alonso in Europe 2007 or even Vettel in Spa this year were brilliant and great drives. But no, this wasn’t one of Vettel’s brilliant drives, far from it. He had a good drive and tremendous luck.

          1. @andrewf1 – I call this a brilliant drive just as I call Spa a brilliant drive or Valencia a brilliant drive. Vettel was able to race his way into a position to be capitalise upon others misfortunes. It was manufactured luck, which implies that he had to drive a good race to be able to utilise the safety cars for example. I will group this under the same heading as Monza 2008.

          2. @vettel1 – i’ll post this from another forum, by someone with the username Shrieker, so all credit to him, but i think it describes Vettel’s race quite acurately – and also why his race was far from brilliant.

            “First, he had contact with Bruno Senna in what was a very optimistic overtake attempt. He could’ve easily lost half his front wing. A rookie driver would at least get a slap on the wrist for doing that. Then, he was being careless (like the driver ahead of him, Ricciardo) and barged into the DRS sign. Not to mention he brake checks people whenever there’s a safety car. Don’t like the taste of your own medicine ? Toys out the pram right away, screaming on the radio. After that he went all four wheels out of the track intentionally since it was his only option to overtake at the time. His team probably told him to give the position back after hearing Lotus complain on the radio.

            That’s not a good drive. Even without those 3, it wouldn’t have been anything special. He was very very lucky today, especially with the number of guys tripping over each other. Hulk/Di Resta/ Senna at the start, and then Rosberg slashing Grosjean’s tyre and losing his own front wing in the process… None of which is Vettel’s fault of course. Not to mention the perfectly timed safety cars, he probably couldn’t have placed them better if he was given the chance. But he benefited massively from all those, and he would not have ended up anywhere near the top 5.”

        2. davidnotcoulthard
          9th November 2012, 16:31

          And Vettel almost lost him that title!

    3. Green Streamer
      4th November 2012, 21:06

      I think it’s a little unfair to criticise Hamilton for his comments. People forget that these are sportsmen and one part of competing is the psychological aspect of psyching out your opponent (by belittling his / her achievements and giving yourself a boost in confidence at the same time).

      Top sportsmen and women are the best because they also believe they are better than everyone else. If they didn’t, they would not be as resilient.

      1. Given Hamiltons year so far, can anybody be surprised that he thinks Vettel lucky. Given Hamiltons retirement from this race, can anybody be surprised he thought Vettel was lucky to be on the podium.

        1. I think that is exactly it @hohum. Hamilton dropped out by a car issue from leading the second race now and at the same race Vettel has to start from the pitlane but people drop out and even despite some mistakes made the SCs drop exactly at the right moment for him and he can still get the podium. Can’t blame Hamilton for saying “that lucky *******”, I am sure that with the next press conference he will be nuancing that again into boredom to take away any controversy (as Vettel did by apologizing for bad language on the podium).

        2. I think that is exactly it @hohum. Hamilton dropped out by a car issue from leading the second race now and at the same race Vettel has to start from the pitlane but people drop out and even despite some mistakes made the SCs drop exactly at the right moment for him and he can still get the podium. Can’t blame Hamilton for saying “that lucky “#%§#$”, I am sure that with the next press conference he will be nuancing that again into boredom to take away any controversy (as Vettel did by apologizing for bad language on the podium).

    4. It was Button talking, not hamilton.

    5. @vettel1 F1 is a competitive sport, played by world class athletes, there are bound to be mind games. What do you expect? Lewis being ever so kind to Seb?

      1. @sid90 – I understand this, and Hamilton is perfectly within his rights to play mind games (as Alonso has been doing all season long), but his comment both lacks intelligence and respect. Yes, he was lucky (that is undisputable) but he seems to downplay his drive as purely luck. That I find irritating.

        1. @vettel1 I watched that video in your link, Lewis sounded like he meant Seb was lucky as a joke, I don’t think he downplyaed what Seb did. I mean Lewis also said that what Seb did was “incredible” to me that looks like respect…

    6. Yeah sure Lewis, you aren’t as lucky as Seb, having started off your F1 career with bulletproof, title contending cars for the first 2 years.

      Keep talking Hamilton, go on.

      1. Exactly, as @hexoskel3ton says, he has no right to be talking about luck. Jokingly or not, I still find this disrespectful. I won’t care if he wins the WDC though…

        He exceeded all expectations, and yet still that isn’t good enough for some people.

  8. What annoys me is that Caterham are most likely to finish the season behind Marussia in the standings despite having been clearly better over the season, just like Marussia were undoubtedly better than HRT in 2010 and 2011.

    Caterham now have three 13th places. Marussia have one 12th place and no 13th places, yet it is ahead in the championship. It’s more than just Caterham’s bad luck, it’s an unfair and illogical system that is applied to those teams that have 0 points, in case of a dead heat. I believe that this system should be changed.

    1. @grits I couldn’t agree more, I’ve been saying the same thing since 2010. To me the places of these three teams should be decided by an average finish position (or the lowest sum of finishing positions, if you like), because to it is grossly unfair, Marussia did a better than HRT the last two seasons, yet it got the shaft due to a freak race, why Caterham did better this year, and will miss out on a deserved 10th place.

      1. Now that I failed to tag you properly, I finally realized your username is @girts, not Grits :P

        1. @guilherme Agree. And don’t worry about the username, people often make this mistake. Girts is my real name but for people from other nations ‘Grits’ obviously sounds better :)

    2. @girts – I agree, but in absolute fairness Caterham had aspirations to score their first world championship point, and so far they have failed to deliver. I think they have failed themselves (as sad as it is to see as I was willing them on to do well).

    3. I am a Caterham fan, but the system works, and is effectively the same as the other teams ahead of them; if they’re equal on points, then the one with the most wins gets the higher place, etc…
      and that continues down the finishes.
      I personally want the system for teams who don’t score a point to change so caterham can come 10th, but that’s the way it is, and it sort of works as well, as car performance is subjective; one can’t conclusivel;y say the Ferrari is worse than a McLaren for instance, as it fluctuates over the season.
      I for one think the Ferrari is actually a very good car, and that it was from Spain onwards really.

      1. I’m not talking about the car performance here. But three ninth places are worth more points than one eighth place and I would like to see the same principle applied to the positions outside the top 10.

  9. Brilliant run by Vettel. Alonso deserves credit for maximizing his position. Raikkonen was flawless. Cf. poor showings by Button, Massa, Webber. Talent rises to the occasion; mediocrety makes excuses.

    For McLaren how fitting is it that they were eliminated from the WDC, while leading a race, by another defect or failure. Now 6 races and counting with some kind of failure on Hamilton’s car—the record you expect from some broke backmarker team, not McLaren. Who is going to take account for this? They are patting themselves on the back for some 2.7s stops but it doesn’t cancel out the general operational shambles shown this year. They have plainly thrown away the best chance for a title since 2008 this year. If someone said that they would be out of both titles at 5th and 6th in the WDC at Abu Dhabi back in March it would have been laughable but McLaren got stuck in and made it happen.

    To top it off they have lost Hamilton and are left with the steady but slow Jenson Button and a newcomer with a recent flair for terrible judgment. Things are not looking up.

    1. @dmw To add, the races where they’ve convincingly had the quickest package, races including Spain, Hockenheim, Hungary, Spa, Monza & Singapore with the probable exclusion of Australia, they haven’t had both their drivers finishing at the front with the majority of the time Button performing poorly compared to Hamilton or the latter running into trouble through fault of another driver’s or his machinery.

      To be fair to McLaren, this season has been one of the most incredulous & insecure in recent seasons but there is no disputing that Australia is a distant memory, after all of the elusive points they have thrown out of the window via human & operational errors as well as poor reliability when the car has been in imperious positions.

      It’s moments like Hamilton’s retirement when you become reflective of all that’s happened this season: the points, potential wins & ultimately, both drivers & constructors titles that have eluded & as a fan, Australia just slowly fades away…

  10. Vettel
    4 hopeless causes: China, Monaco, Spa, Abu Dhabi
    4 incredible saves; 5th,4th,2nd,3rd
    55 points when it could well have been only 10-15

    That middle stint was superb- passing cars yet still going quick enough to keep all those ahead of him (bar Kimi) within a pit stop. Then pulling a gap on the midfield to emerge 4th from his final stop.
    The only luck he had was Hamilton DNF, Massa spinning and the 2nd SC helping him take 3rd

    1. Alonso fans value his ability to pull things out of the hat when they look bleak, yet when Vettel does the same it is put down to “luck” or “the car”. Is it just me that is confused by this?

      1. no.
        peoploe were wetting the bed praising Alonso after Valencia, rightly so, it was a remarkable race aided by a couple of things going for him, but he had to be there to pick up the pieces.
        Vettel does the same and its lucky.
        He’s the unpopular one because he has got the job done more than anyone else over the last 4 years

    2. It’s possible to both laud the drive and note the accumulation of fortune. It was really quite a run of luck. Besides the 2 SCs and Massa and Hamilton’s DNF, he had the first corner victims out of the way, Webber getting taken out along with Grosjean ahead of him. He had Rosberg go out, and Perez and Schumacher delayed. Other cars ahead had KERS failure. Attrition has been very low at many races this year and we had in relative terms decimation today. He had phenomenal fortune today, and he put himself in a position to profit from it at every turn.

      1. @dmw – I agree with the last part, which is why I am so confused as to how Alonso fans can justify Valencia being a great drive and this not. Alonso benefited from poor pit stops, making up positions at the start and two car failures. Vettel was in a much lower grid position than him, and had to essentially do two recovery drives (after the safety car incident) but still managed to make up 21 positions. Alonso made up 10, and yet his drive was somehow brilliant and Vettel’s just “pure luck”.

        I fail to see certain people’s logic on occasion; it is really rather discerning how blind with envy and hatred people can become to the extent that they cannot see genuine brilliance when it comes along.

        1. On every page I have read about your love for Vettel, yes he is good but not better than Alonso, who has to constantly race with an underperforming car in comparison to those around him. If you ask any driver on the grid who has raced better this year they will say Alonso, even Hamilton has stated this yet you seem to think Vettel is untouchable, when he wins a championship or comes close to in a car that is far from being the quickest then you can say he is the best

          1. @ferrari123 – I also think Alonso is the best driver on the grid. But Vettel is closer than others, including Hamilton, are letting on to believe to Alonso. As I have said before, in the first half of the season Alonso was undoubtably best. In the second half, Vettel has really come of age. It would take a delusional idiot to not realise this.

          2. @ferrari123 – Nobody here has Vettel is untouchable. Most of Vettel’s fans aren’t even disputing the luck factor in today’s podium. @vettel1 is just disputing why some people are so eager to insist that luck was the only factor in the podium, while others who benefit from good timing, safety cars or retirements get hailed for brilliant performances.

        2. Max, perhaps it is you who is blind, blind with love, you describe every race Vettel does well in as a brilliant drive. Sometimes this gets up peoples nose, especially when you disparage his team mate even when he qualifies ahead of your champion and gives him an easy pass. Tone it down a bit and you might find others more sympathetic to your point of view.

          1. @hohum – well in that case we are all blind. I haven’t disparaged Webber once in this post, in actual fact I haven’t even made any mention of him, so that point is completely irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion.

            I will counter with this; if you look at it through my eyes (as a Vettel fan), when his skill is downplayed it gets on my nerves. The whole “eye for an eye” situation could easily be resolved if both paries show respect for each other’s drivers, which currently is not the case.

            I am trying to get a point across, and one doesn’t get points across by being silent. Mutual respect is all I ask for; I respect Alonso and Hamilton in equal measure to Vettel and Webber.

          2. Also, I just so happens I rather enjoy debates!

      2. Webber getting taken out along with Grosjean ahead of him

        Webber and Grosjean were BEHIND Vettel when that happened. Not ahead. So, that did not benefit him.

        1. That’s true. Forgot about that. But it doesn’t change my mind. You can be both lucky and good at the same time and both sides of the ledger remain full for Vettel. As the saying goes, better to be the former than the latter. And of course both is best. There is another saying—you make your own luck. Which to me has always meant that those who are prepared tend to appear luckier because their fortunes are amplified by great execution. That is Vettel and RBR. McLaren, for a study in contrast, seem vexed by their own good fortunes and committed to reverse them.

    3. @91jb12 , @vettel1 : I feel you. Vettel was the man of the day today and I also hate it how anti-Vettel fans (often from Hamilton and Alonso camps) always calls his achievement simply as pure lucky drives. Vettel did an amazing job today and I’m 100% confident if Alonso or Hamilton was his team mate Vettel would’ve still destroyed them today, that’s how good driver he is.

      Vettel will soon be 3-time world champion, just get ready for party time as that will surely come for you!

      1. He will be in good company…though most people will not consider him of being worthy of holding a candle to the likes of Stewart and Senna,and rightly so. He drove atrociously in 2010,brilliantly in 2011 and has driven very well this year too(maybe not as well as Alonso or Hamilton have,but it will probably be enough for him to retain the championship),but he still hasnt shown that he’s as good as the other triple champions(with the possible exclusion of Nelson Piquet)

        1. I wouldn’t say “atrociously” in 2010. Yes, he made mistakes (i.e. the 2 collisions, and the safety car incident in Hungary), but otherwise he did very well, especially with all the points his (and not his teammate’s) car’s reliability cost him. He was definitely improved in 2011 though.

      2. davidnotcoulthard
        9th November 2012, 16:45

        I agree with everything, @huhhii….except the destroy part.

  11. Sebastian Vettel had both a brilliant, storming drive against all odds to the podium, and at the same time got quite lucky while doing so. The bit of luck he got doesn’t detract at all from the race he put in, however.

    Interesting to hear Alonso had predicted a finish of no higher than 5th for himself today. Ferrari are losing this championship despite Alonso’s best efforts! Such a shame about Hamilton, but if the upside is a Kimi win then so be it!

    1. @dmw @colossal-squid – Thank you, for summing up the way I feel. It was quite a drive, but one where different things fell into place.

      Delighted for the Kimi win too, Colossal Squid! He’s done a quiet but amazing job to be 3rd in the standings.

      1. I think Kimi’s win is probably the most popular win of the season for readers of this site! And he gave us some classic radio messages, and a hilarious podium interview to boot. All in a day’s work for the Iceman!

  12. I don’t think Seb really has anything else to prove.
    When you get really successful people keep trying to find excuses to your success.
    The truth is… as you improve you keep getting luckier and luckier. As Nadal says: The more I train, the more luck I have.

  13. I think the problem is everything is so absolute. It wasn’t the best drive of all time. But it wasn’t all down to luck either.

    You have to give him credit though, begrudgingly. To get 3rd from 24th was always going to rely on fortune falling his way but he took it just like Alonso, Schumi, Hamilton and countless others have done in the past. If you micro analyse every great F1 performances you can always find that luck plays a massive part. But it was a thrilling perfromance.

    1. @brum55

      I think the problem is everything is so absolute. It wasn’t the best drive of all time. But it wasn’t all down to luck either.

      Great point.

    2. Thank you. Some sense has been added to the equation. He performed very well in the circumstances which presented themselves, I think that is a fair enough summary of the performance without any bias.

    3. +10000

      One still needs to make the most of the opportunities presented by ‘luck’ to actually rake up the places.

  14. Something really funny is happening here: Vettel was often accused by the non-Vettel fans that is can only get a good result from the front row. Now the Vettel fans are saying: “he started last, and still finished on the podium”. And the non-Vettels are responding that he had a lot of luck, and they ridicule the Vettel fans for using this as an example that Vettel can get a good result by not starting on the front row.

    People, though I am highly ammused by this nonsense, please stop sparring over this.

    1. @andae23 – I’ll rest my case when some sense comes from the anti-Vettel protesters. That’ll be the day!

    2. the non-Vettels will only go away when human life is wiped out. He will always divide opinion, like most good drivers.
      Todays result was part luck, part car but mostly the belief and skill of the driver.
      Never lift, never stop believing

    3. enigmatic me (@)
      5th November 2012, 2:31

      i’m not anti-vettel, & in fact i’m anti alonso. but with fresher n softer tyre, he should easily pass JB and alonso and even win. i want a proof to show that vettel deserve the WDC, but the fact that he could only passed 1 car (JB) after the 2nd SC, i’m dissaponted. now i’m considering alonso to be my favorit WDC.

      1. i want a proof to show that vettel deserve the WDC

        Fought from 10th to 2nd in Spa, passing quite a few cars in the non-DRS zone, defended from the 2 faster Lotuses in Bahrain to win, while leading all bar 2 laps, led over 200 laps in a row on his way to 4 consecutive wins (with no-one else even managing 2 wins in a row), and beating his experienced teammate by 88 points. I know you said you’re not anti-Vettel, but there are great performances to show that SV would deserve it, just as Alonso would deserve it if he won.

  15. I Love the Pope
    4th November 2012, 20:56

    You know, it is possible to like Vettel and Alonso. I do. I appreciate them both. I love the fact that they are both vying for a third title and going head-to-head. Whoever would think a drinks company relatively new to the sport would have the edge over a team as historically-significant as Ferrari? I think its awesome! Seb and Fernando are both great drivers. Lets just appreciate it. If Seb wins another title, he’s ahead of Alonso. But being at Ferrari, who would count him out next year?

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      5th November 2012, 1:07

      I’m a fan of both. Of course I rank Alonso higher and therefore would like to see him win the title over Vettel (which could still happen), I’d be happy if either wins.

  16. Green Streamer
    4th November 2012, 20:57

    I’d just like to add to the debate about why drivers are seen as “lucky” or skilled.

    Vettel’s biggest problem is that he has the best car, so this will undoubtedly have the effect of undermining his driving ability in the minds of most people. People also don’t want to see luck go his way because that gives him a double advantage. When a driver who does not have the best car has a bit of good luck, it can be viewed as “levelling out the playing field” and so does not detract from the driver’s performance.

    Vettel will not be able to silence his critics until he manages to deliver in a car that is not the best. I think that’s the difference between him and Alonso / Hamilton. Both Alonso / Hamilton have been in a situation where they have overachieved in relation to the performance and expectations of their cars.

    1. Although you explain what some people think rather well, it’s that Hamilton’s only really had an midfield car in the first half of 2009, while Vettel had a midfield car for half of 2007 as well as the 2008 season. Alonso has obviously been in this situation for longer than both of the other two. They all overachieved, in relation to the expectation of their cars in those periods.

  17. I don’t think any of the Vettel fans are denying that Vettel was lucky tonight. But what we are denying is that the drive was not ‘all’ down to luck. Yes, he benefited from incidents and retirements and safety cars. But even without them, Vettel was bound to finish 6th or 7th and that would have been a great drive anyways.

    Without the 2nd safety car, Vettel was going to finish 4th. If the 1st safety car wasn’t there, he would have never have had the incident with Daniel and hence wouldn’t have had to re-pit during that time. Regarding positions gained due to incidents, I am not counting Grosjean or Perez as when those two clashed Vettel was already ahead of them (and not ahead because of not pitting, the incident happened AFTER Vettel’s pit stop). Due to others’ incidents, he gained positions on Massa and Hamilton.

    So, in a hypothetical race where there were no safety cars and no incidents and on a track difficult to overtake, Vettel has climbed from last to 6th! (Hamilton, Button and Massa being the “lucky” overtakes). Name how many drivers have done as well previously.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      4th November 2012, 21:28

      Very plausible. Hamilton this year had a good race from the back in Barcelona in what was probably the best car there. Vettel’s in Abu Dhabi was similar, but I don’t think the Red Bulls were the best, but they were very close to being there.

      What people seem to forget is that when the past drivers have had great drives from the back (like Barrichello in 2000) it was in a very competitive car.

    2. astonished (@)
      5th November 2012, 9:39

      Alonso in Monaco the year he crashed in FP3, 2009. He started on the pit lane after missing Qualifying and I think finished 4th, but I am not sure. Of course he also got his “just on time” SC, but Monaco also gives some value to overtaking most of the field.

      Vettel’s this weekend, is what we have got to call “champions’ luck” and I think that nicely summarizes the whole thing. If you are unlucky it is hard to win, but you have to be ready to capitalize on good luck or even to “attract” it. As Napoleon put it once “I only want lucky generals in my army”

  18. IMO vettel has moved more towards the status of being great. Stunning drive with the help of some luck obviously .

  19. This race proves certain things
    1. Hamilton is so right in moving out of macca .They have let him down yet again .
    2. Vettel is not as bad as many think he is .
    3. Ferrari isnot as slow as alonso claims it to be . Remember jensen radio comment that they are soquick.
    4. Ferrari president was right about sergio.
    5. Webber and button are not a match for their teammates.

    1. That’s a very fair assessment of the race today.
      To add:
      Maldonado is capable of being in an incident where he isn’t to blame
      This race proves experience is incredibly important as well; so many young drivers getting into trouble. , (Di Resta, Perez, Grosjean)

    2. Jenson said Alonso is fast in a straight line. That’s it. Jenson would say a drag racer is fast in a straight line, too. It is around the corners and braking where the Ferrari lacks compared to Red Bull, most likely due to a lack of downforce comparatively.

  20. I remember a similarly incident-packed race last year involving a front-running driver coming back from the very back of the field. He fought through in the latter stages of the race thanks to some good strategy calls and clinical overtaking manoeuvres, but also thanks to some safety car interventions, some of his rivals crashing out of contention and, of course, the odd slice of luck. He had to pull off this comeback drive as he had spent the first part of the race colliding with his team-mate and damaging his car, getting a drive-through for speeding in the pitlane, making a wrong tyre call necessitating an additional stop, then colliding with another rival and further damaging his car. Over the course of the race he visited the pits six times.
    Yet Button’s comeback drive in Canada 2011 will probably go down as one of his greatest performances, if not the best.
    I see no reason why Vettel’s performance today – one that came about after similar driver errors in the early part of the race, one undoubtedly aided by others’ incidents and some luck, but also one when he needed to keep a cool head, overtake a number of cars and make an unorthodox strategy work – cannot be appreciated in the same light: a world champion coping admirably with the circumstances in which he found himself and putting in a performance of which his detractors would not have believed him capable.

    1. Those are two totally different situations. Thing is, Button actually overtook every single driver in Canada. Vettel. like it or not, didn’t. Some just dropped out from ahead of him (ROS, DIR, MAS, WEB) while he overtook a vast majority of the field as they went into the pits. Button did all the dirty work on the track, when conditions were rather more treacherous.

      1. davidnotcoulthard
        9th November 2012, 16:57

        Bu it didn’t rain in Abu Dhabi, so it’s a different matter.

  21. Trenthamfolk (@)
    4th November 2012, 22:28

    Anyway, my opinion is that Vettel’s performance was excellent, but he is still a sodding crybaby, and a bad loser. Button came from the back in Canada and beat Vettel (I forget when, see previous post), pushing the ‘Crash Kid’ into an error, and won. Vettel came ‘third’ today. All credit to him, but I’ve seen better.

    Vettel inferred team problems at the qualifying press conference, refusing to concede that it might have been his fault. Vettel is lucky he has the car he has… he was unshaven, tired and looked like a skinny tramp. And qualified third. Anyone see a correlation? I know, I know, correlation does not equal causation, but… Even with his unfair low fuel advantage.

    I don’t hate Vettel, I just think he protests too loud, and blamed his team too easily. Newey is brilliant, and a million times the person Vettel will ever be, but has to take it on the chin when the cry-baby gets onto the mic. If I were Newey I’d have him sacked (or similar, involving lots of punching). Drive of the day from Kimi. Alonso a close second. Lucky git award to Helut’s BFF after the safety cars…

    1. And Button had 6 Safety Cars to help him. He also similarly crashed into two drivers back then – Alonso and Hamilton.
      “He was unshaven” – Yes, his facial hear also have aerodynamic qualities and help increase downforce. How lucky!

    2. Newey is brilliant, and a million times the person Vettel will ever be

      If I were Newey I’d have him sacked (or similar, involving lots of punching).

      I don’t hate Vettel


      1. Trenthamfolk (@)
        4th November 2012, 22:45

        Have you noticed Newey works for RB?

        You love Vettel, and that’s OK… he’s still a cry baby… and a blamer. I have no time for whingers… He calls his car Luscious Liz! When he wins…

        1. According to his profile he supports 9 drivers, and Vettel isn’t one of them. And you jump to the idea that he “loves” Vettel lol.

          1. Nah not a Vettel fan myself!

    3. @trenthamfolk
      I don’t remember Vettel blaming the team. I think he respects the team a lot. He always uses “we”, never “I”. The fuel issue was probably a mistake, but he didn’t blame the team, he was ok with that.
      In the press conference he said that he was not happy with his last lap, so he took the blame for his 3rd place.

    4. Michael Brown (@)
      5th November 2012, 1:04

      Did you see the overtake he put on Vettel at the end? It was better than Vettel’s move on Button at Abu Dhabi!

      I kid, of course.

  22. Two epic team-radio moments from Kimi in one race!!! Thank you!!

    That lap after second restart was monstrous. Was glued to sector times, Kimi at it best. This is what happens if you start on the first two rows, you are more open to such opportunities.

    1. Class drive and superb pace from Kimi.

  23. http://t.co/47hDlLRI
    (about the podium event)

  24. I think Jenson deserves real credit for his clean driving when Seb overtook him. That was real class to race hard but still avoid a collision. It would not have ended so well with certain other drivers. Perhaps sometimes JB’s lack of aggression costs him in races, but he gets my respect.

  25. It’s been too long… Had to wait Kimi’s victory since Belgian GP in 2009… Over 3 years! Today it’s the day of celebration, a day of joy. I had already forgotten how great it feels to see your favorite driver winning a race, that’s how long time it has been since his last victory.

    In all honesty Hamilton would’ve deserved to win today, but how many technical problems Kimi had especially in his McLaren days? There were many, I can guarantee that, so I’ll enjoy this 100% now when I can!

    1. When Hamilton retired, I had flashbacks of Hakkinen and Raikkonen loosing Championships while driving for McLaren for very same reason.

  26. Just thought i’d add this:
    Since their partnership began in Bahrain 2010, Jenson Button has
    outscored Lewis by 5 points
    Hamilton-2010 Spain, 2010 Italy, 2010 Singapore, 2011 Canada,
    2011 Belgium, 2011 Brazil, 2012 Germany, 2012 Belgium, 2012 Singapore,
    2012 Abu Dhabi = 10 retirements
    Button-2010 Monaco, 2010 Belgium, 2011 Britain, 2011 Germany,
    2012 Bahrain, 2012 Italy, 2012 Korea = 7 retirements

  27. Ok, is it just me that is tired of Jenson Buttons excuses all the time? He always comes with something like “I don’t know why I did not have the pace as Lewis had” or “In Free practice 3 the car felt really good but in the race it was unstable and under steered” and a couple of more excuses..

    Why can’t people just understand that he is always 0.3s off Hamiltons pace and not a Class A driver like Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel

    1. Cudnt agree more

    2. +1….and yet some people consider him to be a “true champion” whereas Alonso and Vettel are supposedly “whiners”!!!!!

      1. Exactly. And people talk about anything Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton do, while Button gets no grief from people for calling Kobayashi an “idiot”.

    3. Button is not always 3 tenths off the pace of Hamilton in Qualifying, but on average across 3 seasons yes he is, regrettably. I don’t think his qualifying pace defecit to Hamilton alone rules him out of being considered a “Class A driver like Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel”. If Button had the qualifying pace of Hamilton I think he would be considered as a superior driver than Hamilton for his strengths in other areas.

      Hamilton is widely considered to be the fastest driver in F1 over a single lap, or perhaps by modest estimations, matched with Vettel for that honour so being on average 3 tenths slower over a single lap in qualifying doesn’t lead me to consider Button as slow by any stretch of the imagination.

      I think Hamilton is just truly incredible in qualifying, especially this season as he has had matched his speed with amazing consistency where previously he would fail to deliver the maximum in qualifying a few times per season due to mistakes whilst pushing the limits. Keep in mind that the margins we are talking about are miniscule despite how important they are in F1. 3 tenths of a second is less time than it takes to blink.

      There is no avoiding the fact that a 3 tenths defecit to any teammate is significant and especially this season it has a big impact on qualifying position considering how closely matched the field is for pace but the way I see it, if Mclaren can give Button a car that compliments his driving style and enables him to consistently qualify on the front two rows of the grid, he will be nigh on unbeatable. Perhaps Mclaren should invest the difference between the salaries of Hamilton and Perez into car development to make this a reality:)

    4. Forgot to add that I don’t find it annoying in the slightest when Button is mentioning car issues to his engineers over team radio during practice sessions and working towards improving them. It does annoy me when people whine that Button is whineing for providing feedback.

      I have to admit though, it does irk me when Button continually uses the same excuse “I didn’t have the balance” after qualifying behind Hamilton. I can understand this being said occasionally, especially considering the sensitivity of this years Pirelli tyres but now it has become a common theme and I just feel like shouting profanities at him.

      From an outsiders perspective, it often seems like Button is too keen to work his way around problems extracting pace and balance from the car using setup changes in isolation where by contrast, his teammate appears to care much more about actually driving the car and extracting pace from himself instead of the machine.

      I feel like he needs to just knuckle down and make the tyres and car work for him the same way other top drivers do. I think this years Pirelli’s have been particularly tough to handle for Button and Senna as Webber and Massa notably appeared to struggle with the tyres/EBD last season but ultimately, these drivers should be capable of adapting their driving style, setup and tyre warm up procedures to make the car work for them.

  28. Despite the win by Raikonnen, he had it at the wrong time. Now he could not compete for the Driver’s Championship,because he is already more than 50 points away from Vettel, so I hope the Iceman can be more competitive next year, maybe fighting with Vettel next year.

  29. A word for Schumacher…unfortunate with the puncture, fortunate with the race attrition rate. Actually, in the end, probably put the Merc where it deserves to be. (Actually Rosberg put the W03 where it needs to be….smashed up somewhere never to be seen again)

  30. Ι really want to ask you (friendly): What special did Vettel do yesterday? He did 20 overtakes. 2 overtakes on KAR, GLO, PIC, KOV, PET, 1 overtake on DLR, SEN, DIR, GRO, BUT, MSC, ROS and his teammates RIC and VER.
    What’s the special about it?

    1. Well, BUT was pretty fast. And so was Lotus. But why wasn’t it special? If you give us some example of Alonso being special I’m sure we can break it down with a jaundiced eye and explain how it was really nothing. In fact we should all be off doing something useful than watching these silly plastic cars driving around.

      1. In order to tell something special, it must be something difficult. What was the difficulty of the race yesterday for Vettel? That he overtook the HRTs, the Marussias, the Caterhams twice and the Toro Rossos let him through?
        That is just my opinion. If you disagree just refer to the points that make you think that yesterday’s race was special about Vettel.

  31. The picture with this article shows that Vettel was ahead of Hamilton before they even got to the first corner.

  32. …and breathe!

    Yet again this just further reinforces my opinion that the configuration of tarmac these guys race on only plays a small part in an entertaining race; it’s largely just how it goes on the day. Vettel was scrappy, hitting the DRS board, that dubious move on Grosjean but it was a perfect display of his tenacity to do the best he could do under bad circumstances.

  33. I don’t understand why almost everyone seem to judge Vettel’s performance just phenomenal or a pure lucky events sequence.
    In my opinion he both did a very good race and had luck on his side.
    The way he has raced yesterday has been the exact mirror of what he did during this year in the WDC…he started “slow” lacking of mental focus and making a few errors, but after taking the rhythm his comeback was strong and furious. I believe he is still very young and, for this reason, he doensn’t have same mental strength and coolness as Alonso, who has now became a 1000 battles veteran, capable to take out every single cent of his tremendous skills.
    Red Bull growth during the year helped him to get back at top, as well as yesterday lucky episodes contributed to his comeback to podium, while his consistency improved during the race.
    On the other hand I also believe that one of the factors that helped Vettel the most yesterday was the unanimous single stop strategy that all the teams have selected.
    Usually mid-range teams (williams/sauber/mercedes) or sometimes second drivers (Webber/Massa/…) try a risky strategy variation to overtake a few cars and attempt a jump to the podium while accidents/safety car happen.
    This time nobody had a shot on that, so Vettel was the only one forced to run on 2 stops and nobody was in his way with same strategy to really stop his comeback (2 stops mid lever car can be faster than 1 stop top level car).
    I guess if Ferrari had to “cover” Vettel’s early stop with Massa to better secure Alonso’s position…

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