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Grand Prix from Abu Dhabi - Formula 1 World Championship 2012

Published by Christine

It was looking set to be a vaguely fascinating battle between the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton and championship leader Sebastian Vettel, with Lewis on pole. Now it has turned into an even more interesting fight for Vettel as he has to fight his way through from the back of the grid. How far can he get? Where will he be in relation to Alonso? All this and more will be answered very soon.

As it happened: 2012 Abu Dhabi - The Race

  • 12:30

    Hello, welcome, has anyone ever looked forward to the Abu Dhabi GP as much as this weekend?

  • 12:31

    Where we thought it might be another Vettel walkover, or at least a battle between McLaren and Red Bull that excluded Fernando Alonso, we know have a real fight on our hands.

  • 12:32

    In case you missed the news, Vettel qualified third but was later excluded from the results and will start from the pitlane.

  • 12:33
    Grid Position
    1L HamiltonMcLaren
    2M WebberRed Bull
    3P MaldonadoWilliams
    4K RäikkönenLotus
    5J ButtonMcLaren
    6F AlonsoFerrari
    7N RosbergMercedes
    8F Massa
    9R GrosjeanLotus
    10N HülkenbergForce India
  • 12:34

    And a quick word from Christian Horner earlier, on their game plan for Vettel: "Go flat out. Pass as many cars as we can and see where we end up at the end. It’s probably going to be a one stop race, but we’ve got both ends to look at - Mark on the front row hopefully going to give Lewis a hard time, and Sebastian looking remarkably relaxed and he’s just going to go for it. If we can salvage something, one point or two, that would be remarkable."

  • 12:35
    Circuit Data
    Yas Marina
    Local timezone+04:00 GMT
    First race2009
    Number of laps55
    Circuit length5.554km
    Race distance305.355km
    Start offset0.115km
  • 12:37

    Medium and softsPirelli have opted for the medium and soft compounds this weekend, and there's plenty of talk of one-stop strategies being the top choice.

  • 12:38

    It's not all about Vettel, this weekend, although it is quite a lot about him. There's also other intriguing battles going on. Pastor Maldonado is right up there on the grid, particularly compared to his teammate Senna who starts 14th.

  • 12:39

    Charles Pic has managed to squeeze himself between two Caterham drivers, and outqualified the more experienced Glock.

  • 12:44
    Lap Data
    (data from Williams F1)
    Fuel consumption2.8kg
    Fuel lap time penalty0.4s/10kg
    Full throttle59%
    Top speed310kph
    Average speed197kph
    Longest straight1233m
    Pit lane loss21.4s
    Pit lane length357m
  • 12:44

    If you're following the action today, do join in the comments

  • 12:45

    You might also want to have live timing to hand, it just refreshed from the qualifying results to the race

  • 12:45



    Wind speed3.9mps
  • 12:47

    Pat Fry of Ferrari and Alan Permane of Lotus are having a good ol' chat on the grid, interrupted by the BBC gridwalk. They're all much friendlier than you would imagine.

  • 12:48

    The gridA view of the grid from Nick in the crowd, @Twiger.

  • 12:49

    Interview with Felipe Massa: "Normally our car is a problem in qualifying, it's always better in the race. We'll try to use that and gain positions, overtaking and have a good race. The pace Friday was good so I hope we can do that again."

  • 12:51

    Jessica EnnisGuest of McLaren, Jessica Ennis got to sit in Button's car and everything. Hopefully she has given it back now.

  • 12:53

    TweetTweet from @InsideFerrari: Seven minutes to the start of what will be a crucial race for the 2012 Championship

  • 12:57

    The drivers are all taking a last minute sip of fluid, and making their final preparations before the formation lap begins in just a few minutes.

  • 12:58

    Tyres are still nestling in their blankets, but we believe the top twelve drivers will all be on the soft compound. In fact, just Schumacher, Senna and Vettel look to be on the medium.

  • 13:00

    Vettel is in the Red Bull, lined up at the end of the pitlane. There's been a few tweaks made to the car.

  • 13:01

    Hamilton leads the pack away for the formation lap, but De la Rosa is left on the grid with a tyre blanket hanging off. He's now being pushed out the way.

  • 13:02

    The thing to keep in mind is the thirteen points between Vettel and Alonso in the championship.

  • 13:03

    The cars return to the grid, Hamilton pulling to a stop in his P1 grid slot. Pedro de la Rosa has been pushed to the pit lane, where the mechanics are making adjustments.

  • 13:03

    Green flagRace started.

  • 13:03 Lap 1

    Hamilton scampered away at the start, as Webber got bogged down with yet another bad start.

  • 13:04 Lap 1

    A Force India and a Williams, presumably Senna, came together. We think it's Di Resta.

  • 13:04 Lap 1

    Yellow flagYellow flags.

  • 13:04 Lap 1

    So Webber went down to fourth from second, and he's now facing pressure from Alonso.

  • 13:05 Lap 1

    DRS isn't even enabled and Alonso pushed him all the way down the straight to take the position, a slight lockup on the corner but he made the position stick.

  • 13:05 Lap 1

    Right front puncture for Grosjean, as Hülkenberg has officially retired.

  • 13:06 Lap 2

    If Hulk has retired, it must be him involved in that first lap collision rather than Di Resta. Sorry about that. Di Resta is going slowly though, a rear puncture.

  • 13:06 Lap 2

    Meanwhile, Nico Rosberg has also been into the pitlane as well.

  • 13:06 Lap 2

    Kimi Räikkönen is incredibly close to Lewis, trying to make a similar move to Alonso on Webber, but the Lotus can't get past for now. Lewis is on the radio complaining about cold tyres.

  • 13:07 Lap 2

    RadioTeam radio from Vettel: "Damage front wing."

  • 13:07 Lap 3

    The Red Bull mechanics made a brief appearance in the garage, but have gone back in again.

  • 13:08 Lap 3

    Race Control: DRS enabled.

  • 13:08 Lap 3

    Radio suggests they've given the choice to come in to Vettel, but he's opting not to for now.

  • 13:10 Lap 4
    Driver Positions
    10L Hamilton
    22K Räikkönen
    30P Maldonado
    42F Alonso
    5-3M Webber
    6-1J Button
    71F Massa
    87K Kobayashi
    92S Pérez
    103M Schumacher
  • 13:11 Lap 4

    First lap replays, then. Di Resta squeezed Hulk, his rear wing clipping Hulk's front wing. That pushed Hulk into Senna. So both Force India's were involved.

  • 13:12 Lap 5

    Rosberg lost his front wing on Grosjean's right front tyres. Presumably Romain's puncture was also from that incident.

  • 13:13 Lap 6

    Vettel's damage came from contact with Senna, it's just a flap on the right side of his front wing that is missing.

  • 13:14 Lap 6

    Kovalainen is up to 13th, with Sebastian Vettel behind him - up to 14th place already!

  • 13:14 Lap 7

    Rosberg, Grosjean and Di Resta are 21st, 22nd and 23rd respectively. Lots of work for them to do now.

  • 13:15 Lap 7

    Alonso is closing up on Maldonado now, the Ferrari driver hunting for third place.

  • 13:15 Lap 7
    One to Watch
  • 13:16 Lap 8

    Race Control: Turn 1 incident involving Hülkenberg will be investigated after the race.

  • 13:18 Lap 8

    Vettel has overtaken Kovalainen now, he's up to thirteenth.

  • 13:18 Lap 9

    CrashNico Rosberg into the wall, an HRT also involved.

  • 13:19 Lap 9

    SC BoardSafety car deployed.

  • 13:19 Lap 9

    It looks like a massive smash, the Mercedes into the barrier, and a wheel hanging off. Both drivers are out of the car and walking away.

  • 13:20 Lap 9

    Replays show Rosberg closes up behind Karthikeyan, too far, mounts the side of the car and goes flying up into the air, lucky not to tip over.

  • 13:20 Lap 9

    The Mercedes hit the barrier at great speed, the HRT coming to rest at the edge of the track.

  • 13:21 Lap 9

    The two drivers are chatting away, no one too angry with the other.

  • 13:21 Lap 10

    Nico flyingNico goes flying!

  • 13:21 Lap 10

    Grosjean has pitted again, the second time already this race.

  • 13:22 Lap 10

    Vettel is now sitting in 12th place, with just Ricciardo and Schumacher standing between him and the points.

  • 13:24 Lap 11

    The Safety Car leads Hamilton round again, as the Brit gets on the radio complaining about the amount of debris that is still on track.

  • 13:25 Lap 11

    Meanwhile, the sun is gradually setting, casting shadows across the circuit. The floodlighting will soon come into full effect.

  • 13:25 Lap 11

    Race Control: Turn 16 incident involving Rosberg and Karthikeyan will be investigated after the race.

  • 13:27 Lap 12

    Adrian Newey is busy studying a spare front wing in the garage, examining what effect it might have on Vettel's race.

  • 13:27 Lap 12

    QuoteComment from Will: Now it looks like Newey was doing CFD in his head!

  • 13:28 Lap 12

    They are still sweeping the track, so we might have a couple more laps behind the safety car. No backmarkers to unlap though.

  • 13:29 Lap 13

    Ricciardo braked ahead of Vettel, who took avoiding action and flew into a DRS marker, which is caught up behind his car.

  • 13:29 Lap 13

    Once again, the mechanics got a new nose ready, but they are standing down... for now.

  • 13:30 Lap 13

    Hamilton radio shows the driver asking "is whoever crashed okay?" That's his future teammate, of course.

  • 13:30 Lap 13

    The mechanics are back on duty, they've instructed Vettel to pit this lap.

  • 13:32 Lap 14

    The stop takes 9.1 seconds, and the German is off on his way again. He's got the soft tyres on after starting on the medium compound.

  • 13:32 Lap 14

    Race Control: Safety Car in this lap.

  • 13:33 Lap 15

    Green flagTrack is clear.

  • 13:34 Lap 15

    Webber is right up alongside Alonso, desperate to get that place back.

  • 13:34 Lap 15

    Hamilton managed to get away cleanly, but Kimi is keeping with him for now.

  • 13:34 Lap 15

    Vettel was at the very rear of the field and has made up two places already. He's now 19th with Grosjean in his sights.

  • 13:36 Lap 16

    Race Control message says there was a waved blue flag for Di Resta, which would explain why Vettel got past him so quickly!

  • 13:37 Lap 17

    Vettel pulled up alongside Grosjean as they were both passing Pic. They scrabbled for position around the next couple of corners, Grosjean not making it easy - but Vettel took the position after dipping off track and around.

  • 13:40 Lap 18

    Vettel off trackVettel overtook with all four wheels off track, wisely decided to give the position back. But then overtook Grosjean legitimately again anyway.

  • 13:40 Lap 18

    Race Control: DRS enabled.

  • 13:41 Lap 19
    Gap Analysis
  • 13:42 Lap 19

    It's moooon o'clock!



    Wind speed2.9mps
  • 13:43 Lap 20

    We're having a moment of calm, although Senna has easily overtaken Kovalainen for 12th place.

  • 13:43 Lap 20

    The Caterham is still up in 13th position, which is not too bad at all. Petrov is way back in 19th.

  • 13:44 Lap 20

    Lewis has slowed down, he's pulling off track slowly. No engine sounds from the car.

  • 13:44 Lap 21

    RadioTeam radio to Hamilton: "Okay Lewis, we've lost all power. We're having a look at what's going on."

  • 13:44 Lap 21

    Yellow flagYellow flags.

  • 13:45 Lap 21

    Kimi Räikkönen is now leading the race, with Pastor Maldonado almost five seconds behind him. Kimi in the lead, eh?

  • 13:45 Lap 21

    Hamilton in the grassHamilton in the grass.

  • 13:46 Lap 21

    Fernando Alonso has passed Maldonado, moved up to second place! Vettel imitates the move, taking Senna for 11th.

  • 13:47 Lap 22

    Hamilton jogs across the track, he looks disappointed but philosophical. Helmet off, radio earplugs coming out.

  • 13:47 Lap 22

    Maldonado looks like he's about to lose another place to Webber - his tyres may be giving up on him.

  • 13:48 Lap 22

    RadioTeam radio to Kimi: "Okay, Kimi, the next car behind you is Alonso. Five seconds behind you. I'll keep you updated on the gap."

    "Leave me alone!"

  • 13:49 Lap 23

    Webber makes a move on Maldonado, but the Williams isn't having any of it and tips Webber into a spin. Mark keeps the car moving though.

  • 13:50 Lap 23

    Webber is now down in seventh place. To be fair, if you're overtaking Pastor, you need to leave at least ten car widths.

  • 13:50 Lap 24

    Replays show contact between the two but no significant damage. Webber didn't leave too much room for the other car at all.

  • 13:51 Lap 24

    Vettel is now up into the points, as Button manages to make the move on Maldonado safely and jumps up to third.

  • 13:52 Lap 25

    Race Control: Turn 11 incident involving Webber and Maldonado under investigation.

  • 13:52 Lap 25

    Pérez has made it past Massa into fifth place. Replays show Sergio just took the inside of the corner and made the position stick.

  • 13:53 Lap 26

    Massa is falling into the clutches of Webber now, but is instructed over the radio that they need to stay out. No new tyres yet.

  • 13:54 Lap 26

    Kobayashi pits which moves Vettel up to eighth place.

  • 13:55 Lap 26

    Massa and Webber went into the corner at the same time, they touched and Webber went off track and rejoins. Then for no reason at all, Massa went into his own spin kicking up tons of tyre smoke.

  • 13:56 Lap 27

    Massa has come in for a stop now, along with Daniel Ricciardo.

  • 13:57 Lap 27

    Race Control: Turn 11 incident involving Webber and Maldonado - no further action.

  • 13:57 Lap 28

    Race Control: Turn 12 incident involving Webber and Massa under investigation.

  • 13:57 Lap 28

    Webber is under investigation quite a lot today!

  • 13:58 Lap 28

    Schumacher pits, Glock and Petrov also come in for their first stops.

  • 13:59 Lap 29

    The Ferrari mechanics head into the pitlane, and it's Fernando Alonso coming in.

  • 13:59 Lap 29

    Race Control: Turn 12 incident involving Webber and Massa - no further action.

  • 13:59 Lap 29
    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverF Alonso
    Pit lane19.368s
  • 14:00 Lap 29

    Alonso has rejoined behind Vettel. Technically, Seb doesn't have to stop again, but if he gets to the end of the race on these tyres, it'd be impressive.

  • 14:00 Lap 29

    Pérez just overtook Maldonado, showing Webber how it should be done!

  • 14:00 Lap 30

    Button pits, and Maldonado also heads in for a stop.

  • 14:02 Lap 30

    Webber sits in front of Vettel, but the radio message comes through and it won't be long before they switch round.

  • 14:02 Lap 31

    Webber comes in for a pit stop instead. Pérez also pits.

  • 14:04 Lap 32

    Kimi comes into the pitlane now. Can he keep the lead?

  • 14:05 Lap 32

    Kimi retains the lead, but Vettel is now right behind him. From 24th on the grid, can the Red Bull driver get into the lead?

  • 14:06 Lap 33

    Interview with Paul Hembery: "Estimated life of 36. Red Bull are better than the rest, so it's going to be on the limit for them. It's going to be a very interesting race."

  • 14:06 Lap 33

    Senna comes in from fifth place for his first stop of the day.

  • 14:08 Lap 34
    Driver Analysis
    DriverJ Button
    Last lap1:46.784
    Best lap1:46.495
  • 14:09 Lap 34
    Gap Analysis
  • 14:10 Lap 35

    TweetTweet from @Marussia_F1Team: Purple! 277 k's through the trap for Charles. Go Charles! Catch that Green car

  • 14:11 Lap 35

    Button looks fast through the first two sectors, a fastest lap could be on the way.

  • 14:11 Lap 35

    Behind him, Romain Grosjean is holding up a train of cars, with Di Resta, Pérez and then Webber all looking to move up the order.

  • 14:12 Lap 36

    Button doesn't manage the fastest lap, losing time in the final sector. He goes on for another fastest sector one though. Fastest lap sits with Räikkönen - 1:46.055.

  • 14:14 Lap 37

    Button is closing in on Alonso now. The gap is under a second between the two.

  • 14:14 Lap 37

    Vettel is instructed to pit.

  • 14:15 Lap 38

    It wasn't a super quick stop for Vettel, but he gets going again. He comes out on track in fourth place.

  • 14:15 Lap 38
    Pit Stop Analysis
    DriverS Vettel
    TeamRed Bull
    Pit lane19.918s
  • 14:16 Lap 38

    Di Resta is making a move on Grosjean now, the Force India flies through with DRS. Pérez follows him through and moves side by side with Di Resta!

  • 14:17 Lap 39

    Yellow flagYellow flags.

  • 14:17 Lap 39

    Pérez was pushed off track, but came back on at an aggressive angle. Grosjean's front wing clipped Pérez. Webber hit the slowed Grosjean up the rear and is out of the race!

  • 14:17 Lap 39

    SC BoardSafety car deployed.

  • 14:18 Lap 39

    Pérez is still going, he pits. Webber and Grosjean are out of the race.

  • 14:19 Lap 39

    Di Resta has also pitted now.

  • 14:20 Lap 40

    The marshals dash on track to rescue stray bits of wing, as the Lotus is winched away.

  • 14:22 Lap 41

    Kimi had about a nine second lead over Alonso, which has now been reduced to almost nothing. Button behind is being advised on how best to get past Alonso.

  • 14:23 Lap 41

    Kimi getting even more annoyed on the radio with his team. "Yes, yes, yes, I'm doing all of that!"

  • 14:24 Lap 42

    Schumacher pits from seventh place.

  • 14:25 Lap 42

    Race Control: Turn 14 incident involving Pérez, Webber, Di Resta and Grosjean under investigation.

  • 14:25 Lap 42

    Charles Pic is being pushed back into the Marussia garage, another retirement.

  • 14:26 Lap 42

    QuoteComment from Journeyer: Heikki now in the magical 12th place.

  • 14:26 Lap 42

    Race Control: Safety Car in this lap.

  • 14:26 Lap 42

    Green flagTrack is clear.

  • 14:27 Lap 43

    Team radio suggests it was a puncture for Schumacher, hence why he pitted under the safety car.

  • 14:27 Lap 43

    Kimi leads the pack away. Alonso isn't managed to get away from Button.

  • 14:28 Lap 43

    Vettel is in fourth, he's tucked up behind Jenson Button hoping for an opportunity.

  • 14:28 Lap 44

    Race Control: 10 seconds stop/go penalty for Pérez - causing a collision and forcing another driver off track.

  • 14:30 Lap 44

    Race Control: DRS enabled.

  • 14:31 Lap 45

    Pérez pits for his stop/go penalty. He comes in from 12th place. He sits in the box, painfully slow, and then he's off.

  • 14:32 Lap 45

    Alonso, Button and Vettel are so close together, it's tense!

  • 14:35 Lap 47
    Driver Positions
    13K Räikkönen1
    24F Alonso1
    32J Button1
    420S Vettel2
    5-2P Maldonado1
    69K Kobayashi1
    71F Massa1
    86B Senna1
    93P Di Resta3
    106D Ricciardo2
  • 14:36 Lap 48
    Gap Analysis
  • 14:36 Lap 48

    Alonso sets the fastest lap of the race so far - 1:44.816.

  • 14:37 Lap 49

    Vettel is so close behind (sometimes alongside) Button now. It can only be a matter of time.

  • 14:38 Lap 49

    Schumacher passes Vergne for 11th place, splitting the Toro Rosso drivers and creeping closer to the points.

  • 14:39 Lap 50

    Alonso sets another fastest lap, he's broken away from the battle between Button and Vettel.

  • 14:41 Lap 51

    Five laps to go, and everyone at the front has something to lose. Kimi wants the win, Alonso can't risk anything, Vettel needs the points. Button is the only one who can risk it.

  • 14:42 Lap 51

    Two seconds between Kimi and Alonso, as the Spaniard sets another fastest lap.

  • 14:42 Lap 51

    Meanwhile, the gap between Vettel and Button is hovering on a second now. Button's done a great defensive driving job.

  • 14:43 Lap 52

    QuoteComment from Noelinho: Heikki is 13th :-(

  • 14:44 Lap 52

    Vettel sweeps past Button to take third position.

  • 14:45 Lap 53

    It shows some great driving that they both managed to escape from the move unscathed, unlike many others who have gone before them.

  • 14:46 Lap 54

    The focus of attention turns to Alonso, who has got the gap to Kimi down to one second and within DRS range.

  • 14:47 Lap 54

    It's so tense, I can't type and watch at the same time!

  • 14:48 Lap 55

    Final lap now, the gap is up to 1.2. The chance is slipping away. Meanwhile, Vettel sets the fastest lap of the race so far.

  • 14:49

    Chequered flagKimi Räikkönen wins the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!!

  • 14:50

    RadioTeam radio from Kimi: "Nice job, great race."

    That's the nicest he's been all day!

  • 14:51
    Race Winner
    DriverKimi Räikkönen
    Race time1:45:58.667
    Race distance305.355km
    Average speed172.878km/h
  • 14:52
    Driver Positions
    13K Räikkönen1
    24F Alonso1
    321S Vettel2
    41J Button1
    5-2P Maldonado1
    69K Kobayashi1
    71F Massa1
    86B Senna1
    93P Di Resta3
    106D Ricciardo2
  • 14:53

    Kimi went to the wrong weighing area - he's grabbed by an FIA bod who directs him to the right place.

  • 14:54
    HamiltonLost power20
  • 14:55

    Vettel and Räikkönen are smiley and happy in the green room. Alonso keeps himself to himself again.

  • 14:55

    Kimi almost looks like he can't believe it.

  • 14:57

    Alonso looks pretty hot and bothered, drinking the bottled water and also pouring it over his head.

  • 14:58

    The drivers take to the podium and the national anthems ring out. Nice to hear a different anthem for a change. It's been a while!

  • 14:59

    Kimi winnerKimi takes in a surprising victory on the podium.

  • 15:00

    Alonso looks properly pumped, as he thrusts his trophy in the air. The championship is still on!

  • 15:01
    Championship Prediction
    1S Vettel255
    2F Alonso245
    3K Räikkönen
    4M Webber167
    5L Hamilton165
  • 15:02
    Championship Standings
    1Red Bull422
  • 15:02

    Interview with Kimi Räikkönen: "I'm very happy for myself, and for the team. Mainly for the team. It's been a hard season for the team. Hopefully this gives a lot more belief for the team, I hope this can turn around the tables and we can win many races, if not this year then next year again."

  • 15:03

    Interview with Fernando Alonso: "I'm very happy, I think we were not super competitive this weekend. We started sixth, we had to fight through the race, the first lap, a very good strategy that gave us the possibility to fight to the end for the victory. Second was the maximum today, perfect Sunday for us and we keep fighting until the end."

  • 15:05

    Interview with Sebastian Vettel: "After the first couple of laps, the target was drifting away. I had a messy start to the race, it's quite difficult at the back. Damaged my front wing, and then the safety car. Had a big mistake with Daniel, I think. He was stopping his car on the straights, and I was very surprised. After that, I said to myself, either we go full attack or nothing. That's what we did, and I had a fantastic race. It was a nice fight with Jenson, he was difficult to pass... Thrilling Grand Prix, up and down all the time, it's very nice to stand here with a trophy and drink some champagne."

  • 15:06

    It was crazy close at the end!

    Gap Analysis
  • 15:08

    That was an incredible race in Abu Dhabi - something we've not come to expect at Yas Marina. A new winner, the championship battle even closer than ever, and too many retirements and safety cars to mention!

  • 15:09

    There are just two races left now, all the unknowns that Austin will bring, and then the super party atmosphere of Brazil. Should be some good action, no matter which way the title fight goes.

  • 15:10

    As ever, stick with and for the news and views throughout the week, and take care until F1 arrives at the brand new Austin track!

All content in the series Abu Dhabi 2012

It was looking set to be a vaguely fascinating battle between the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton and championship leader Sebastian Vettel, with Lewis on pole. Now it has turned into an even more interesting fight for Vettel as he has to fight his way through from the back of the grid. How far can he get? Where will he be in relation to Alonso? All this and more will be answered very soon.

Event start

13:00GMT +00:00

4 November 2012