Team-by-team look at the 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Newly crowned 2013 champion Sebastian Vettel took his 11th win of the season as he beat his teammate to the top spot of the podium. Nico Rosberg was the best of the rest with third place whilst Kimi Raikkonen started last after being disqualified from qualifying and was out on the first lap after a collision with Giedo van der Garde. There were impressive performances from Grosjean and Perez and Force India secured a double points finish for the second weekend running.

Red Bull
IMG_28752013 driver champion Sebastian Vettel passed pole sitter and teammate Mark Webber after the Australian made a slow getaway. From then on the German was challenged very little and finished the day with a thirty second gap over his teammate. He celebrated with some donuts but got his car back to parc ferme as he attempted to avoid a penalty. Team principal Christian Horner told Vettel he would be paying the fine for his celebrations. Webber had been passed by both Vettel and Nico Rosberg at the start but made it passed the Mercedes on the 20th lap to complete a 1-2 for Red Bull. A good day for the team who walked away with another 43 points.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg was the best of the rest in his Mercedes as he finished third. He had passed a slow starting Mark Webber at the start to get up to second but this did not last. Webber managed to pass Rosberg on the 20th lap to demote the German to the bottom spot on the podium. However this was 15 well deserved points for the German. Lewis Hamilton ended the day seventh after a poor start and early pit stop, he then found himself stuck behind Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber, Jean-Eric Vergne’s Toro Rosso and Adrian Sutil’s Force India as they were on different strategies. He had also had some brake problems on the grid but still managed to come away with six points. Altogether 21 points for the team as they battle with Ferrari for second in the constructors title.

Lotus
Romain Grosjean missed out on a podium despite chasing Nico Rosberg to the line. The Frenchman had got a good start getting passed Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg at the start to be up to fourth at the end of the first lap. In the end that was where he stayed to pick up 12 points despite keeping Rosberg honest until the end of the race. Kimi Raikkonen had a bad day which added to his woes. Disqualified from qualifying after failing a floor test. Lotus chose to start him from the back of the grid rather than the pit lane. He hit the back of Giedo van der Garde’s Caterham on the opening lap and damaged his Lotus’s right-front suspension. Despite a mixed day for the team it has been reported their investment deal with Quantum is set to be finalised bring some stability for next year.

Ferrari
Qualifying on Saturday was less than impressive from Ferrari. Fernando Alonso failed to make Q3 for the first time this season qualifying 11th for it to become 10th after Raikkonen was disqualified while Massa was seventh. However in the race it was Alonso who shined. He had been behind his teammate for much of the race but after switching to the soft Pirellis on lap 44 he made his way through the field passing both Lewis Hamilton and Paul di Resta to end the day fifth. He had looked as if he had exceeded the track limits when passing Jean-Eric Vergne however the stewards investigated but did not take action. Massa ended the day in eighth.

Force India
Paul di Resta finished an impressive sixth for Force India as they completed another double points finish. The Scot completed a long first stint which saw him run as high as second before he pitted on lap 20. IMG_3069Alonso passed Di Resta late in the race but he managed to hold of Lewis Hamilton to claim the eight points. It will be a boost for his confidence amid worries he could be left without a drive next season. Adrian Sutil came from 17th on the grid to finish in tenth. The German tried a reverse strategy to many on the grid starting on the medium tyre. He had looked on course for ninth but was passed by Sergio Perez who had pursued the German for a number of laps.

McLaren
Sergio Perez was awarded for his pursuit of the Force India of Adrian Sutil as he snatched ninth place from the German on the final lap. He had started eighth so would have hoped for better but will be happy with two points which were hard fought for. Jenson Button had a contrasting day with front wing damage forcing an early stop. He ended the day in 12th behind the Williams of Pastor Maldonado.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado was Williams highest finisher as the team once again failed to finish in the points. The Venezuelan was 11th despite a mixed race although he never looked in contention for points. His teammate Valtteri Bottas completed a long first stint pitting on the 24th lap. He ended the day in 15th.

Sauber
Once again Sauber had looked on course for points before it all went wrong. Nico Hulkenberg had started fifth and had been running in the points before an unsafe release meant a drive through penalty. This put his right down the field and he ended the day behind his teammate in 14th. The German had overtaken both Toro Rosso as he tried to make his way back through the field. Esteban Gutierrez had some interesting battles and at one point was holding up Lewis Hamilton who could not find a way passed. In the end he finished the day in 13th just ahead of his teammate.

Toro Rosso
Toro Rosso were almost invisible in the race. Daniel Ricciardo finished 16th while teammate Jean-Eric Vergne finished 17th on a day to forget for the team. Vergne had attempted a one stop race but was losing lots of time in the final laps going from in the top ten to 17th. Both drivers were overtaken by Nico Hulkenberg in the closing laps. Toro Rosso haven’t scored points in the last two races.

Caterham
Both Caterhams finished ahead of the Marussias in Abu Dhabi. Giedo van der Garde avoided damage when Kimi Raikkonen drove into the back of him at the start. Van der Garde and Charles Pic finished where they started in 18th and 19th.

Marussia
Both Marussias lost out to the two Caterhams. Jules Bianchi finished ahead of teammate Max Chilton. Bianchi was 20th while Chilton was 21.

Raikkonen wins as Vettel finishes third

Kimi Raikkonen won a chaotic Abu Dhabi Grand Prix beating Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.

Raikkonen’s victory is the first for the Lotus team and his first since 2009. The Lotus driver inherited the lead from pole sitter Lewis Hamilton who retired on lap 20 after losing drive.

Alonso took second ahead of Vettel who recovered from starting in the pit lane to finish an impressive third.

Vettel was helped to third by some first lap chaos that saw the two Force Indias collide with Bruno Senna, leaving Nico Hulkenberg to retire and the incident is still to be investigated by the stewards. Nico Rosberg and Romain Grosjean also collided on lap one to allow Vettel to move up the field.

Rosberg then caused the first safety car of the race after his Mercedes launched over the top of Narian Karthikeyan’s HRT on lap nine.

Vettel had moved up to 13th position but had picked up damage from avoiding Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso and having contact with Senna and was forced to pit. Hamilton led from the restart but retired with a mechanical problem once again to the benefit of Vettel.

Another safety car was deployed after Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean collided after a battle between them and Paul di Resta. Grosjean’s damaged car was hit by Webber and both were forced to retire.

Perez received a stop/go penalty for his contribution to the accident and would only manage to finish 15th.

The safety car allowed a fourth placed Vettel to catch Jenson Button and overtake him for third. Button had no answer and went on to finish fourth ahead of Pastor Maldonado in fifth.

Kobayashi finished a strong sixth for Sauber ahead of Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari. Senna and di Resta recovered to eighth and ninth respectively whilst Ricciardo finished tenth.

Michael Schumacher finished outside the points in 11th ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne in 12th. Behind them Heikki Kovalinen finished 13th for Caterham ahead of Timo Glock in 14th. Vitaly Petrov finished 16th in the second Caterham ahead of the last finisher Pedro de la Rosa.

Vettel to start from pit lane after disqualification

Sebastian Vettel will start tomorrows Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the pit lane after Red Bull decided to withdraw his car from Parc Ferme following him being disqualified from qualifying.

Vettel was demoted to last place by the stewards after he stopped his car on track and it was found to not have enough fuel left to have an FIA sample taken.

Under F1 regulations drivers must return to the pits with enough fuel for a sample to be taken for analysis.

The stewards accepted the team’s explanation for the car being stopped on track but a later inspection of the car found it have insufficient fuel for a sample to be taken.

Vettel was relegated from qualifying by the stewards but will start from the pit lane which may allow the team to make changes to the car.

At the Spanish Grand Prix this year Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from qualifying and forced to start last for the same reasons. Hamilton only managed to finish eighth after starting from the back of the grid.

The stewards decision will provide Fernando Alonso with a chance to close the gap to Vettel in the drivers championship. Vettel currently leads Alonso by 13 points.

Hamilton on pole as Red Bull begin to falter

Lewis Hamilton took his 25th pole for McLaren in Abu Dhabi beating both Red Bulls to set the fastest time.

Both Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel failed to better Hamilton’s time, with Webber starting tomorrows race second ahead of Vettel in third. Vettel stopped on track at turn 18 as he came back into the pits as requested by the team, he is currently under stewards investigation for the incident.

Pastor Maldonado surprised in the Williams by setting the fourth fastest time ahead of Kimi Raikkonen who will start tomorrows race from fifth. Jenson Button will start from the third row alongside Raikkonen after setting the sixth fastest time.

Fernando Alonso could only manage to set the seventh fastest time ahead of Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg in eighth. Behind them Felipe Massa will start from ninth and Romain Grosjean will start from tenth.

Force India couldn’t make Q3 despite a strong performance from Nico Hulkenberg who will start tomorrows race from 11th. Sergio Perez will start from 12th ahead of the second Force India of Paul di Resta in 13th.

Behind them Michael Schumacher could only set the 14th fastest time ahead of Bruno Senna in 15th. Senna was impeded by Perez in Q1 and a stewards investigation after the session left Perez with a reprimand.

Kamui Kobayashi will start tomorrows race from 16th ahead of the two Toro Rossos of Daniel Ricciardo in 17th and Jean-Eric Vergne in 18th.

At the back Heikki Kovalainen starts from 19th ahead of Charles Pic, Vitaly Petrov, Timo Glock and the two HRTs.

Hamilton will hope that he will be able to replicate his Abu Dhabi win from 2011 after Red Bull have failed to convincingly challenge McLaren this weekend.

Vettel leads the way in Abu Dhabi but McLaren are closing in

Sebastian Vettel finished Friday practice two at the top of the time sheets beating FP1 pacesetter Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton’s McLaren teammate Jenson Button finished the session in third ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber. McLaren appear to be stronger in Abu Dhabi and more capable of challenging the Red Bulls.

Romain Grosjean finished FP2 fourth ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen, with Lotus beginning to show some late season pace.

Behind the Lotus’ the two Ferrari’s of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa set the seventh and eighth fastest times respectively. Ferrari will be hoping for some better qualifying and race pace in order to challenge Red Bull and Vettel for the drivers championship.

Pastor Maldonado finished FP2 in ninth place ahead of Sergio Perez in tenth in the Sauber with both hoping to have better weekends than in India. Bruno Senna set the 11th fastest time ahead of Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes and Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India.

Michael Schumacher set the 14th fastest time ahead of Paul di Resta in the second Force India. Kamui Kobayashi could only manage to set the 16th fastest time ahead of then two Toro Rossos in 17th and 18th.

Vitaly Petrov spun his car but still set the 19th fastest time ahead of his teammate Heikki Kovalainen. Behind then finished the two Marussias and two HRTs.

Vettel will hope that he can maintain this form for the rest of the weekend as he looks to further extend his lead in the drivers championship with just three races left to run.