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Abu Dhabi Report


Abu Dhabi was the first race were Vettel didn't really have to focus on a target-he has one the title and some of the pressure must be off of him. Webber was looking to recover from a very unlucky weekend last time ou in India, he may not have been able to beat Vettel but he could almost certainly have challenged for a podium spot.

Grosjean has been our man of the hour for the last few races and it began to look like he may finally be in a position to really challenge and push the Red Bull drivers for a possible win. He made sue he started the weekend well as he topped the FP1 time sheets. Maybe the security of his seat is helping keep him calm and foscused as it looks like Lotus are just waiting to put the pen on the paper for Grosjean's 2014 season with them.

Hamilton has blown hot and cold over this weekend, he looked good during parts of FP1 and looked quick during qualifying but he hasn't looked 100% comfortable in the car-his usual cool headed, blistering pace is lacking slightly. Rosberg on the other hand is looking much more comfortable again and seems to have found a balance within the car to be able to consistently sit near the top of the time sheets whether it be a practice session or the race itself.

Another team to look out for over the course of the weekend was Force India, after a run of poor races, India looked like the turning point for them, with both drivers having much stronger races and managing to take some points away for the team.

 

 

Qualifying

Qualifying gave us a fairly normal state of affairs in our opinion, Red Bull had looked quick all weekend after topping FP2 and FP3 and they continued to flex their muscles as they both eased to the front row by just under 4 tenths of a second. Webber put together a brilliant lap to take pole position away from Vettel for the second time in a row, while Rosberg managed to pip Hamilton to 3rd on the grid.

There was some talk of Hamilton having some minor damage to his car which could well be the reason behind his 4th place qualifying, would he have been able to challenge for pole otherwise? We like to think so because Yas Marina is a circuit that Hamilton seems to be a bit of a specialist around if you look back at past outings.

The only other news from qualifying came from the Ferrari team, they seem to hae lost or been struggling for form recently, with India being a tough race for them and qualifying here no different as Alonso didn't make it to Q3. 11th was all he could manage, it seems a shame that a driver of his level can't find a consistent flow throughout the whole season to maintain his challenge for Vettel's crown but maybe next year the reulation changes will help him close the gap. In one of our previous articles we spoke about runaway leaders-in 2012 it looked like Alonso may have run away with the title until Vettel found his form and turned the tables around, so will Alonso be able to do the same next year?

 

 

 

Race

I think that there are really two main events that everyone was talking about just after the race, Raikkonen retiring and Alonso hitting the kerb.

It has been no secret that Lotus and Raikkonen haven't been the best of friends over the last week, he hasn't been paid allegedly and it is understandable that is a concern of his. Rumours were swirling that he wasn't going to race and then he wasn't going to finish the season so it was looking interesting to see what happened going into this weekend.

After being put to the back of the grid, Raikkonen made a slower than usual start but managed to make a dive into Turn 1 on Van der Garde. Some people are saying that he had no concern as such for the outcome and in some way it was an easy way not to race as he technically wasn't breaking his contract because he had started the race, but I think that it was simply a racing incident that happens to have been badly timed with regards to Raikkonen current situation at Lotus. Hopefully the Finn will be back to his steely, silent self for the last two races.

The second talking point was the huge impact Alonso suffered after running around the outside and over the kerbing to pass Vergne after a pit stop. I think the decision not to penalise him for it was the correct one, as otherwise there was going to be one huge accident. I also can't believe the commitment he showed in keeping his foot down and pulling the move off, the impact has been quoted from Ferrari at 25G. 25G is a phenomenal amount of force and one that I can't believe he has walked away from with no injuries. To get some sort of idea of the force he would have felt those of you that have driven our simulators experience around 1.5G of force, now imagine that just over 16 times stronger. In my opinion Alonso has added another claim to his impressive career and he is surely in the running for another World Title if the car suits him in the next couple of years.

The rest of the racing was good to watch with a few good battles going on further down the field, Di Resta put on a great display to hold off some of the big names to come home 6th. Perez scored another vital point for McLaren and is doing a good job at proving why he deserves another season with the team.

Vettel grabbed the lead into Turn 1 and from then on it was plain sailing, he pulled out enough of a lead to pit and still rejoin in the lead, eventually leading team mate Webber home by just over 30 seconds. His second biggest margin behind Singapore. A true champions display and the doughnuts were a nice touch. It is a shame the FIA don't see them in the same way the fans do but I hope he doesn't stop them as it shows a bit of his character and gives him a fun edge. It is nice to see a driver showing some passion on the circuit and celebrating a win in what I believe is the best way. A real spectacle for the fans.

 

All in all Abu Dhabi gave us a good race to watch, Austin is next and Hamilton is surely not going to let Vettel walk off into the distance there as he has a good track record of racingin the states.

Again we will give you all of the action and our views straight after the weekend.