Sunday, 3 November 2013

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: More doughnuts in Abu Dhabi...

Sebastian Vettel was at it again, both doing doughnuts and winning. He was utterly dominant in this his seventh consecutive victory, matching the record set by Micheal Schumacher. Even teammate, often at loggerheads with the young German, Mark Webber, was full of shining praise, admitting that Sebastian is 'on another planet'. It is becoming more and more difficult for the critics and general haters of Vettel to dispute his awesome ability. Mark Webber also pointed out that his closest rival was able to out pace everyone whilst, at the same time, preserving his tyres.

Mark Webber sympathisers, which is pretty much everyone that watches Formula One, will have
been disappointed to see him fall at the first hurdle again. After achieving a great pole position, he had one of his characteristic sluggish starts, resulting in him dropping back to third. He dug his heels in and managed to salvage second, which was clearly a result that he was happy with, since he copied Seb in doing doughnuts. It might be fair to claim that Webber has all but wound down in this his final season in Formula One and so is able to provide us with an honest opinion of Vettel's performance, unclouded by rivalry or competitiveness.

Two teams, that have been waning in recent grands prix, were looking strong again today. Ferrari, and specifically Massa, looked very strong, and on a couple of occasions were involved in some very exciting mid field battles. The Force India team, that I have supported from the start of the season, were also looking competitive and achieved good results. Alonso had an especially hairy moment, when he came out of the pits right next to Jean Eric-Vergne. Fernando had to drive off the track, almost damaging his car and causing an accident. The incident was investigated and no action was taken. I think that it is clear that Alonso was reckless and dangerous, and should have received some sort of reprimand. When leaving the pit lane, drivers are meant to yield to opponents on the track, if there is any risk of collision, and it is clear that this incident was far from safe.

Kimi Raikonnen was quite unlucky. After being put to the back of the grid he made contact with one of the usual back-of-the-field runners and damaged his car terminally. In much the same way as top football teams find it difficult to play against a minnow, top drivers find it hard to compete and avoid trouble around the back of the grid. Sometimes driving a Formula One car at that kind of level is very different to driving one right at the front. I'm so glad that what I suggested in my last blog is true; despite the World Championship being done and dusted, the racing in the middle of the pack is still superb.

The result:
DriverCarTeamGridFastest LapRace TimePoints
1 Sebastian Vettel 1 Red Bull 2 1:43.893 1:38:06.106 25
2 Mark Webber 2 Red Bull 1 1:44.364 +00:30.829 18
3 Nico Rosberg 9 Mercedes 3 1:44.458 +00:33.650 15
4 Romain Grosjean 8 Lotus 6 1:44.301 +00:34.802 12
5 Fernando Alonso 3 Ferrari 10 1:43.434 +01:07.181 10
6 Paul Di Resta 14 Force India 11 1:45.786 +01:18.174 8
7 Lewis Hamilton 10 Mercedes 4 1:45.463 +01:19.267 6
8 Felipe Massa 4 Ferrari 7 1:45.447 +01:22.886 4
9 Sergio Perez 6 McLaren 8 1:45.435 +01:31.198 2
10 Adrian Sutil 15 Force India 17 1:45.609 +01:33.257 1
11 Pastor Maldonado 16 Williams 14 1:45.530 +01:35.989 0
12 Jenson Button 5 McLaren 12 1:46.336 +01:43.767 0
13 Esteban Gutierrez 12 Sauber 16 1:45.974 +01:44.295 0
14 Nico Hulkenberg 11 Sauber 5 1:45.570 lapped 0
15 Valtteri Bottas 17 Williams 15 1:44.351 lapped 0
16 Daniel Ricciardo 19 Toro Rosso 9 1:46.042 lapped 0
17 Jean-Eric Vergne 18 Toro Rosso 13 1:44.517 lapped 0
18 Giedo van der Garde 21 Caterham 18 1:46.592 lapped 0
19 Charles Pic 20 Caterham 19 1:46.432 lapped 0
20 Jules Bianchi 22 Marussia 21 1:47.619 lapped 0
21 Max Chilton 23 Marussia 20 1:47.707 lapped 0
22 Kimi Raikkonen 7 Lotus 22 No time retired, 0 laps 0