Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Vettel dominates again and celebrates with donuts once more

Sebastian Vettel leads into Turn 1 at the start of the Abu Dhabi GP

Sebastian Vettel leads into Turn 1 at the start of the Abu Dhabi GP

Sebastian Vettel snubbed his nose at officialdom after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, his eleventh triumph of the season thus far, and celebrating with a series of donuts on the slowdown lap – much to the delight of the packed stands – in defiance of the reprimand he received after doing the same thing in India a week earlier.

Vettel, recently crowned F1 World Champion for the fourth time in a row, was simply in a league of his own around the sparkling Yas Marina Circuit as he powered into the lead, from second place on the grid, into Turn 1 thereafter building a gap which he was to maintain and control until the chequered flag. Never challenged, never threatened, another cruise.

He won by a whopping 30.8 seconds, which would have been much more had he been going flat out in the final stages of the race. Pretty much the usual the story of his remarkable run of seven wins on the trot.

Sebastian Vettel celebrates after winning the Abu Dhabi GP

Sebastian Vettel celebrates after winning the Abu Dhabi GP

As the Red Bull driver crossed the line in triumph his engineer Guillaume ‘Rocky’ Rocquelin said on the radio: “Just bring the car home. Into the garage.”

To which Vettel replied tongue in cheek before doing a series of donuts in celebration, “Let me quote: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what I am doing.”

To which team principal Christian Horner quipped to his winning driver, “You can pay the fine on that one.”

In India, last time out, stewards gave Vettel a reprimand for his actions and fined the team €25,000.

The World Champion said afterwards, “It’s incredible, thanks to all the fans – the atmosphere was fantastic. To get so much support and so much for Red Bull. The car was absolutely brilliant so thanks for the team and thanks to Renault too, as so much of our success is down to them too.”

Yas Marina podium (L to R) Gavin Ward (Red Bull Racing Performance Engineer), Mark Webber (second) race winner Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg (third)

Yas Marina podium (L to R) Gavin Ward (Red Bull Racing Performance Engineer), Mark Webber (second) race winner Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg (third)

Of his parents, who he hugged after he climbed out of his car in parc ferme, the 26 year old said, “I have spent most of my life racing in front of them as a kid. The cars are a bit bigger now but I am so pleased they are here to see me today. They taught me lots of good things and one day I want to pass that on to my children if I have them.”

Behind him his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber – starting from pole position – again duffed the start, but recovered to take second place ahead of Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg who finished third and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean in fourth.

Webber summed up his evening, “The start wasn’t great and Nico got an unbelievable start. I had to battle with Nico for second. I would have liked the win but I matched my best result here. There are plenty of Aussie fans here so thank you and on to Austin now.”

Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso battled it out during the early stages of the race

Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso battled it out during the early stages of the race

Rosberg reflected, “I am happy, third place was good. The plan for the weekend was to be the best of the rest behind Red Bull and we achieved that. It could have been second on another day but it didn’t quite work out.

“The most important thing is to finish second in the Constructor’s Championship not only financially but also motivationally for the team to see that we have the second best car.”

Grosjean’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen who nearly gave Abu Dhabi a miss due to unpaid wages, parked his Lotus within a couple of hundred meters of the start after contact with a Caterham going into Turn 1 on the opening lap. The Finn had been relegated to the back of the grid when his Lotus was found to be illegal after qualifying.

If it was somewhat of a bore for the quartet up front, behind them it was riveting stuff with plenty overtaking and even some controversy to spice up proceedings.

Lewis Hamilton leads the pack early on in the race

Lewis Hamilton leads the pack early on in the race

Fernando Alonso carved his way from 10th on the grid to fifth, towards the end the Ferrari driver was faster than anyone else. His strategy allowed him to run the yellow band softer (and faster) Pirelli tyres for the last dozen laps, in which he dispensed of Paul di Resta in the Force India and Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes – the latter two finishing sixth and seventh respectively.

Alonso was under investigation at the end of the race after an incident following his pitstop when he rejoined the track side-by-side with Jean-Eric Vergne and took to the run-off area rather than conceding the position. The stewards deemed the move to be legitimate and no action was taken.

Felipe Massa was eighth for Ferrari, with McLaren‘s Sergio Perez ninth and Adrian Sutil taking the final point for Force India despite starting from 17th and stopping only once.

With two races remaining it is quite clear that Red Bull and Vettel in particular are going to be hard to beat, with records likely to continue tumbling. The German is on target to equal both Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 13 grand prix victories in one season and the nine straight F1 wins scored by Alberto Ascari, which has stood for 60 years.

Sebastian Vettel celebrates with his Red Bull team in Abu Dhabi

Sebastian Vettel celebrates with his Red Bull team in Abu Dhabi

Also one to watch, a sideshow perhaps, is the battle for second place in the Constructors’ Championship – and the bags of extra cash that go to the runner up as opposed to third place – where Mercedes leads Ferrari by four points.

Final word to the World Champion, “I think today was incredible, the pace we had was scary at some points. I felt very good on the Softs and I was able to pull a massive gap from the start. I think it is hard to put these things into perspective but it’s incredible to have such a strong bunch of people who believe so strongly in what they are doing. The car was flawless, it doesn’t happen that often that the car responds to everything you want and I am looking forward to tonight, where there will be a few drinks.”

Subbed by AJN.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Result, Yas Marina Circuit – 3 November 2013

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time Grid Pts
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 55 Winner 2 25
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 55 +30.8 secs 1 18
3 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 55 +33.6 secs 3 15
4 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 55 +34.8 secs 6 12
5 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 55 +67.1 secs 10 10
6 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 55 +78.1 secs 11 8
7 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 55 +79.2 secs 4 6
8 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 55 +82.8 secs 7 4
9 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 55 +91.1 secs 8 2
10 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 55 +93.2 secs 17 1
11 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 55 +95.9 secs 14
12 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes + secs 12
13 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari + secs 16
14 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari +1 Lap 5
15 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault +1 Lap 15
16 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari +1 Lap 9
17 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari +1 Lap 13
18 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault +1 Lap 18
19 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault +1 Lap 19
20 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth +2 Lap 21
21 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth +2 Lap 20
Ret 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault + secs 22

Note – Bianchi qualified 20th, but penalised 5 grid places for an unscheduled gearbox change. Raikkonen qualified fifth, but dropped to back of grid after car failed floor deflection test.

  • Hawk

    Good race for Vettel, Rosberg, Grosjean, Alonso (could still be penalized) and Di Resta. Di Resta drive of the day.

  • Ukwhite

    After Perez Lewis fight in India, another one between Gutierez and Lewis. Not wrong saying those two poor guys need better cars to see Lewis and his beloved ‘brother’ true colours.

    Michael was equaled, two more for Ascari’s records. Well done Seb.

  • lawl

    Sutil’s cutting 2 fking corners and getting away with it. Good thing that Perez guy took him down on last lap.

    Alonso’s illegal overtaking on Vergne.

    I remember all those tifosis asking Vettel’s head after that overtake on Jenson a season ago with 4 wheels out of the track. I wonder what retarded excuse they will write about that cheater this time.

    This race used to be cool but after today’s stewards…

  • Tomas

    Alonso overtook both Massa and Vergne illegally. Waiting for the paenaly.. Shuould have been a drive thru!

  • Ukwhite

    Teams’ results: 1. Red Bull, 2. IVettel, 3. Mercedes, 4. Ferrari…

  • McLarenfan

    Alonso cleared what BullSh!t FIA is corrupt

  • Empee

    @McLarenfan

    More like the FIA was derelict if your name wasn’t Kimi Raikkonen. Lots of non-call accusations this time around.

  • Tomas

    F1:s becoming more of a silly showbusiness than racing. First of all, Kimi’s lotus being dq:d from quali because of a small broken front floor fixing bracket, broken upon contact with a kerb. Did not gain any advantage. Then Alonso cuts off and overtakes 2 cars while running more than 1 meter outside of the track while exiting the pit -well surprise surprise, no penalty for that! Now we are just awaiting what they will come up with because of Vettel’s donuts…

  • Taskmaster

    30s lead at the end, and dounts for desert? Cool. Note the finger has been retired? Appears Vettel has responded to fan critique in several areas over the last couple events, might calm the hater volume down from 11 to 9 – in time. No boos for three races is nice. Great to see Weber have a solid race as well. It’s also excellent to see the continuing growth of Rosberg and Grosjean as stand outs on their respective teams. Bodes well for next season being a tight battle. Massa was undone by a slow stop and a questionable tire choice, sorry to see – but Alonso’s move up from a bad starting position to 5th was great – even if the pass on Vergne was a bit strange – he’d have done it soon enough anyway, so no harm no foul. Raikkonnen driving away in an SUV immediately after the retirement looked pretty bad…

  • Bob Wheeler

    Raikkonnen’s leaving when he did was more than appropriate. There’s no point in hanging around the track while he’s not being paid.

  • Barlow

    Does the first letter in FIA stand for Ferrari or what??

  • Ukwhite

    Glad to see a happy Mark, it seems the tension between two is melting down a bit. Lately, Mark has spoken nicely about Vettel, includind today when Mark said Seb was from another planet with his driving and tire management performance.

  • Thijs

    I am no Ferrari fan or Alonso fan but i think Vergne should have left some room for Alonso! Forcing another driver of track! So no illegal overtake in my opinion!

  • prashant arora

    nice to see u in india ……

  • Waqas

    @Thijs
    Vergne was on the racing line in the speeding turn coming with that much velocity its hard to turn and give room thats what alonso has to realize he was at fault but FIA didnt do a thing about it.

  • manila

    Fernando is shown the blue flag exiting the pit(like any other driver). Its quite simple.