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."
|Local timezone||+04:00 GMT|
|Number of laps||55|
Pirelli have opted for the medium and soft compounds this weekend, and there's plenty of talk of one-stop strategies being the top choice.
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.
Charles Pic has managed to squeeze himself between two Caterham drivers, and outqualified the more experienced Glock.
|(data from Williams F1)|
|Fuel lap time penalty||0.4s/10kg|
|Pit lane loss||21.4s|
|Pit lane length||357m|
If you're following the action today, do join in the comments https://sidepodcast.com/dashboard
You might also want to have live timing to hand, it just refreshed from the qualifying results to the race http://www.formula1.com/live_timing/live_timing.html
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.
A view of the grid from Nick in the crowd, @Twiger.
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."
Guest of McLaren, Jessica Ennis got to sit in Button's car and everything. Hopefully she has given it back now.
Tweet from @InsideFerrari: Seven minutes to the start of what will be a crucial race for the 2012 Championship
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.
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.
Vettel is in the Red Bull, lined up at the end of the pitlane. There's been a few tweaks made to the car.
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.
The thing to keep in mind is the thirteen points between Vettel and Alonso in the championship.
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.
Hamilton scampered away at the start, as Webber got bogged down with yet another bad start.
A Force India and a Williams, presumably Senna, came together. We think it's Di Resta.
So Webber went down to fourth from second, and he's now facing pressure from Alonso.
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.
Right front puncture for Grosjean, as Hülkenberg has officially retired.
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.
Meanwhile, Nico Rosberg has also been into the pitlane as well.
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.
Team radio from Vettel: "Damage front wing."
The Red Bull mechanics made a brief appearance in the garage, but have gone back in again.
Race Control: DRS enabled.
Radio suggests they've given the choice to come in to Vettel, but he's opting not to for now.
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.
Rosberg lost his front wing on Grosjean's right front tyres. Presumably Romain's puncture was also from that incident.
Vettel's damage came from contact with Senna, it's just a flap on the right side of his front wing that is missing.
Kovalainen is up to 13th, with Sebastian Vettel behind him - up to 14th place already!
Rosberg, Grosjean and Di Resta are 21st, 22nd and 23rd respectively. Lots of work for them to do now.
Alonso is closing up on Maldonado now, the Ferrari driver hunting for third place.
Race Control: Turn 1 incident involving Hülkenberg will be investigated after the race.
Vettel has overtaken Kovalainen now, he's up to thirteenth.
Nico Rosberg into the wall, an HRT also involved.
Safety car deployed.
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.
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.
The Mercedes hit the barrier at great speed, the HRT coming to rest at the edge of the track.
The two drivers are chatting away, no one too angry with the other.
Nico goes flying!
Grosjean has pitted again, the second time already this race.
Vettel is now sitting in 12th place, with just Ricciardo and Schumacher standing between him and the points.
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.
Meanwhile, the sun is gradually setting, casting shadows across the circuit. The floodlighting will soon come into full effect.
Race Control: Turn 16 incident involving Rosberg and Karthikeyan will be investigated after the race.
Adrian Newey is busy studying a spare front wing in the garage, examining what effect it might have on Vettel's race.
Comment from Will: Now it looks like Newey was doing CFD in his head!
They are still sweeping the track, so we might have a couple more laps behind the safety car. No backmarkers to unlap though.
Ricciardo braked ahead of Vettel, who took avoiding action and flew into a DRS marker, which is caught up behind his car.
Once again, the mechanics got a new nose ready, but they are standing down... for now.
Hamilton radio shows the driver asking "is whoever crashed okay?" That's his future teammate, of course.
The mechanics are back on duty, they've instructed Vettel to pit this lap.
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.
Race Control: Safety Car in this lap.
Track is clear.
Webber is right up alongside Alonso, desperate to get that place back.
Hamilton managed to get away cleanly, but Kimi is keeping with him for now.
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.
Race Control message says there was a waved blue flag for Di Resta, which would explain why Vettel got past him so quickly!
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.
Vettel overtook with all four wheels off track, wisely decided to give the position back. But then overtook Grosjean legitimately again anyway.
Race Control: DRS enabled.
It's moooon o'clock!
We're having a moment of calm, although Senna has easily overtaken Kovalainen for 12th place.
The Caterham is still up in 13th position, which is not too bad at all. Petrov is way back in 19th.
Lewis has slowed down, he's pulling off track slowly. No engine sounds from the car.
Team radio to Hamilton: "Okay Lewis, we've lost all power. We're having a look at what's going on."
Kimi Räikkönen is now leading the race, with Pastor Maldonado almost five seconds behind him. Kimi in the lead, eh?
Hamilton in the grass.
Fernando Alonso has passed Maldonado, moved up to second place! Vettel imitates the move, taking Senna for 11th.
Hamilton jogs across the track, he looks disappointed but philosophical. Helmet off, radio earplugs coming out.
Maldonado looks like he's about to lose another place to Webber - his tyres may be giving up on him.
Team 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!"
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.
Webber is now down in seventh place. To be fair, if you're overtaking Pastor, you need to leave at least ten car widths.
Replays show contact between the two but no significant damage. Webber didn't leave too much room for the other car at all.
Vettel is now up into the points, as Button manages to make the move on Maldonado safely and jumps up to third.
Race Control: Turn 11 incident involving Webber and Maldonado under investigation.
Pérez has made it past Massa into fifth place. Replays show Sergio just took the inside of the corner and made the position stick.
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.
Kobayashi pits which moves Vettel up to eighth place.
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.
Massa has come in for a stop now, along with Daniel Ricciardo.
Race Control: Turn 11 incident involving Webber and Maldonado - no further action.
Race Control: Turn 12 incident involving Webber and Massa under investigation.
Webber is under investigation quite a lot today!
Schumacher pits, Glock and Petrov also come in for their first stops.
The Ferrari mechanics head into the pitlane, and it's Fernando Alonso coming in.
Race Control: Turn 12 incident involving Webber and Massa - no further action.
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.
Pérez just overtook Maldonado, showing Webber how it should be done!
Button pits, and Maldonado also heads in for a stop.
Webber sits in front of Vettel, but the radio message comes through and it won't be long before they switch round.
Webber comes in for a pit stop instead. Pérez also pits.
Kimi comes into the pitlane now. Can he keep the lead?
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?
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."
Senna comes in from fifth place for his first stop of the day.
Tweet from @Marussia_F1Team: Purple! 277 k's through the trap for Charles. Go Charles! Catch that Green car
Button looks fast through the first two sectors, a fastest lap could be on the way.
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.
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.
Button is closing in on Alonso now. The gap is under a second between the two.
Vettel is instructed to pit.
It wasn't a super quick stop for Vettel, but he gets going again. He comes out on track in fourth place.
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!
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!
Safety car deployed.
Pérez is still going, he pits. Webber and Grosjean are out of the race.
Di Resta has also pitted now.
The marshals dash on track to rescue stray bits of wing, as the Lotus is winched away.
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.
Kimi getting even more annoyed on the radio with his team. "Yes, yes, yes, I'm doing all of that!"
Schumacher pits from seventh place.
Race Control: Turn 14 incident involving Pérez, Webber, Di Resta and Grosjean under investigation.
Charles Pic is being pushed back into the Marussia garage, another retirement.
Comment from Journeyer: Heikki now in the magical 12th place.
Race Control: Safety Car in this lap.
Track is clear.
Team radio suggests it was a puncture for Schumacher, hence why he pitted under the safety car.
Kimi leads the pack away. Alonso isn't managed to get away from Button.
Vettel is in fourth, he's tucked up behind Jenson Button hoping for an opportunity.
Race Control: 10 seconds stop/go penalty for Pérez - causing a collision and forcing another driver off track.
Race Control: DRS enabled.
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.
Alonso, Button and Vettel are so close together, it's tense!
|9||3||P Di Resta||3|
Alonso sets the fastest lap of the race so far - 1:44.816.
Vettel is so close behind (sometimes alongside) Button now. It can only be a matter of time.
Schumacher passes Vergne for 11th place, splitting the Toro Rosso drivers and creeping closer to the points.
Alonso sets another fastest lap, he's broken away from the battle between Button and Vettel.
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.
Two seconds between Kimi and Alonso, as the Spaniard sets another fastest lap.
Meanwhile, the gap between Vettel and Button is hovering on a second now. Button's done a great defensive driving job.
Comment from Noelinho: Heikki is 13th :-(
Vettel sweeps past Button to take third position.
It shows some great driving that they both managed to escape from the move unscathed, unlike many others who have gone before them.
The focus of attention turns to Alonso, who has got the gap to Kimi down to one second and within DRS range.
It's so tense, I can't type and watch at the same time!
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.
Kimi Räikkönen wins the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!!
Team radio from Kimi: "Nice job, great race."
That's the nicest he's been all day!
|9||3||P Di Resta||3|
Kimi went to the wrong weighing area - he's grabbed by an FIA bod who directs him to the right place.
Vettel and Räikkönen are smiley and happy in the green room. Alonso keeps himself to himself again.
Kimi almost looks like he can't believe it.
Alonso looks pretty hot and bothered, drinking the bottled water and also pouring it over his head.
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!
Kimi takes in a surprising victory on the podium.
Alonso looks properly pumped, as he thrusts his trophy in the air. The championship is still on!
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."
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."
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."
It was crazy close at the end!
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!
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.
As ever, stick with http://f1minute.com and https://sidepodcast.com 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
Filed under F1 live sessions
Previous event Qualifying from Abu Dhabi
Next event Sidepodcast Hangout - Thirteenth time lucky
4 November 2012
365 F1 stories