An eighth different driver winning a race and this time it was the ever out spoken Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus.  The Lotus team (formally Renault of course) hadn’t won a race since 2008, and it was Raikkonen’s first win since 2009 when he left to try his hand at rallying.  He had mixed results in rallying so it is good to see the “Ice Man” back on top in F1.

 

In Other News…

The FIA have warned all the drivers about bad language during live interviews for the media.  This comes about after both Raikkonen and Vettel swore in their post podium interview with David Coulthard.  A spokesman for the FIA said there could be disciplinary actions in the future if another instance of bad language occurs during a live broadcast.
Caterham have a new Team Principal.  Cyril Abiteboul has become the youngest team boss at just 35 years old.  He’s younger than Michael Schumacher!  Good luck to him making Caterham a points challenging team for the future

 

Qualifying

The same old story for Q3 saw HRT, Marussia and Caterham evicted early on, and were this time joined by Toro Rosso’s Jean Eric Vergne getting 18th.  Q2 had the sister Toro Rosso of Ricciardo in 17th and the Sauber of Kobayashi 16th.  Sergio Perez fared better getting 12th in between the two Force Indias of Hulkenberg in 11th, and Di Resta in 13th.  Another poor qualifying result for Schumacher left him only managing to scrape 14th ahead of Bruno Senna who gained 15th.  Q1 was always going to see Hamilton on pole.  He was fastest throughout the practice sessions, fastest of anyone in all three qualifying rounds and easily earned pole half a second clear of Webber in 2nd.  Vettel could only manage 3rd but because his car didn’t have enough fuel to be tested by the stewards he would start from the back of the grid.  He eventually chose to start from the pit lane however.  Pastor Maldonado always seems to do well in qualifying and earned a respectable 4th place in his Williams compared to the 15th of Bruno Senna.  A strangely large gap if you ask me.  Raikkonen managed 5th, with his teammate Grosjean earning 10th behind Massa in 9th.  Alonso could only get 7th behind Button in 6th, and Hamilton’s future teammate Rosberg split the Ferraris and qualified 8th.  Bearing in mind Vettel’s penalty everyone behind him moved up one place putting Alonso in a better position to gain maximum points in his championship fight.

The Race

Well, where do I start?  The beginning saw more first corner collisions with the two Force Indias touching wheels and then Hulkenberg colliding with Bruno Senna.  Mark Webber having yet another appalling start.  He seriously has to work on those for next season.  Alonso then provided more brilliant overtaking, easily dispatching Webber through the two ‘straights’ around the back of the circuit.  Great stuff from the Spaniard.  Lap 9 saw a huge crash between Rosberg and Karthikeyan with the Mercedes using the HRT as a flight ramp.  It was seen on the various replays that the HRT had light smoke coming from the rear of the car and on a part of the circuit usually taken at full throttle, Karthikeyan braked leaving Rosberg no time to avoid a collision.  Thankfully neither driver was injured.  This of course caused a safety car period because of the huge amount of carbon fibre scattered everywhere.  The safety car period wasn’t without incident seeing the charging Vettel swerving violently to avoid colliding with the Toro Rosso.  Vettel bombed into the DRS marker board causing more damage to his front wing and a necessary pit stop.  After the safety car period ended disaster struck for Hamilton as yet again his McLaren stopped functioning.  They blamed a fuel pump for the lack of drive but after looking so dominant all race weekend you can’t help but feel sorry for him.  Alonso managed yet another good pass this time on Maldonado, but when Webber tried to follow suit, he ended up spinning and in fact losing places not gaining them.  By this point Vettel was in 10th, and after everyone else had done their pit stop, he leapt into second behind Kimi Raikkonen.  As Sebastian started from the pit lane he was able to jump onto the harder tyre allowing him to do a huge first stint and have the softer tyre in the later stages of the race.  Clever move by Red Bull.  After finally pitting on lap 37 he had climbed to fourth place overall.  Some good luck flowing his way after his disqualification from qualifying.

Then when you thought the race would calm down for the remaining laps Perez tries an outlandish pass on Di Resta which forces the Force India off the track, and his Sauber to go wide.  As Sergio cut back on the track he caught the front wheel of Grosjean who was then hit from behind by Webber.  Perez was given a 10 second stop and go penalty for causing an easily avoidable collision.  This second safety car period allowed Vettel to catch up with Button, and after many laps of trying finally got past the lone McLaren to earn third place.  Alonso tried his hardest to catch up with the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen but it was to no avail.  So in Abu Dhabi we crowned the 8th different winner of 2012, Kimi Raikkonen.

The Awards!
What have the drivers been up to…

Driver of the Day
Kimi Raikkonen

Incredibly solid drive and finally managed to earn the top spot on the podium.

Master Overtaker
Fernando Alonso

Still managed to pull off some great moves yet again.  If there were a few more laps he would have caught Kimi.

The Pilot’s License
Nico Rosberg

He used the HRT as a ramp to get more air than Raikkonen did during his rallying days.  Although F1 cars definitely don’t land as well…

Not So Overtake of the Day
Sergio Perez Vs. Romain Grosjean & Paul Di Resta

All credit for trying, but Perez was trying to do an impossible move given the space.  Let’s hope McLaren calm the young Mexican down and make him into the racer we all know he can be.

Driver Quote of the Day
Kimi Raikkonen

“Just leave me alone, I know what I am doing.” and
“Yes, yes, yes, yes. I’m doing it all the time. You don’t have to remind me every second.”
Kimi comes out with the greatest lines sometimes…  He deserves a Magnum after the race he had.  Kimi bought 500 T-shirts with his new catchphrase on for the Lotus team.  What a nice early Christmas present.

The Swear Jar Award
Sebastian Vettel

We all know Raikkonen is very honest and occasionally swears here and there, but Vettel had to almost one up Kimi by swearing twice and using cruder words.  Naughty Sebastian.

 

The next race will be happening at the brand new Circuit of The Americas in Texas USA.  A new track means a new challenge for everyone.  Will Vettel mess up and allow Alonso to capitalise on the 10 point lead Sebastian currently holds?  Tune in to your nearest TV on Sunday November 18th.

 

Full Race Results

Full Championship Results

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This article was first posted on November 12, 2012