There was no shortage of action or controversy at the 2012 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Etihad Airways Grand Prix. There were disqualifications, crashes, great racing, and incredible comebacks. This weekend’s race comes from the spectacular Yas Marina race circuit. The sculpted and color changing architecture of the Yas Marina Hotel provides plenty of eye-candy.
Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren was the quickest car of the weekend. He ruled most of the practice sessions and took pole position in relative comfort. The picture in Sebastian Vettel’s garage was a grim one. Vettel complained about a long brake pedal and struggled to find competitive pace. He finally managed to qualify third, behind his teammate Mark Webber. However, Vettel’s RedBull ran out of fuel on the cool down lap, and he was penalized for not being able to produce enough fuel for FIA race official to inspect. He had to start from dead last 24th position.
Kimi Raikkonen had a great launch off the line and slotted into second place after the first corner, passing Mark Webber and Pastor Maldonado in the process. Lewis Hamilton was leading the way and pulling away from Kimi and the rest of the field. Fernando Alonso, who was happy to see Vettel’s penalty, was trying to make up as many championship points as possible and regain championship lead. He was able to pass Mark Webber for forth place on the second lap. Sebastian Vettel was working his way up through the field, and did some light damage to his front wing.
Lap 7 saw a huge crash, when a suddenly crippled HRT car of Narain Karthikeyan surprised Nico Rosberg, and Nico’s Mercedes literally ran over Narain’s HRT. Both cars were destroyed, fortunately – neither driver was injured and walked away. Vettel came in to the pits at the end of the Safety Car period to change tires and his front wing. This again sent him to the back of the field.
Once race resumed, the order did not change until Hamilton’s McLaren quit on lap 19 causing him to relinquish his commanding lead. This was painfully reminiscent of Singapore GP earlier this year. Kimi Raikkonen happily assumed the lead, while Fernando Alonso was finally able to get past Maldonado. Kimi’s race engineer sent a transmission to his driver “You are in the lead, and Alonso is now behind you with five second gap. I will let you know about the gap.” Kimi responded: “Leave me alone, I know what to do.” Kimi’s brutal honesty once again showing through.
In the end, Kimi actually did know what to do. He fended off the charging Alonso and crossed the finish less than a second ahead of the Ferrari. This is Kimi’s first win after his return to the sport after a two year absence. To Alonso’s dismay, Vettel displayed a great drive and finished in third (just 4 seconds behind Alonso). Thus, Alonso narrowed the championship gap by just three points. He is now ten points behind.
Check out TFLcar video coverage of 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb:
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, and software engineer. On the weekends – you may find him at a car show, an auction, watching a race, or tinkering with a car in the garage. When not working or spending time with the family – he often scours the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.