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Abu GP - Race weekend recap - Vettel

If Sebastian Vettel goes on to take the 2012 Formula One World Championship by a margin of less than 15 points, everyone will point to this result as the race that won him the title.

After finishing on the podium in Abu Dhabi, Vettel held on to his lead in the title picture, staying ten points ahead of Alonso, who closed the gap by three points.

If you simply had looked at the results of practice, qualifying and the race, you wouldn't have thought much had gone on, but the German had a dramatic weekend in the desert.

He had of course initially qualified in third place and held an almost half a second a lap advantage over main title rival Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

The Red Bull couldn't match the pace of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton who had been quicker than anyone all weekend, but crucially in chase for the championship he was ahead of Alonso.

“Third in Q3 was a good effort, but I should have done a bit better on the final lap. I had a little mistake in the final sector of my last flying lap, but it was still good to be third. I’m not sure what the issue was at the end, I was just told to switch off the car. One of the best ski jumpers of all times once said ‘Every chance is an opportunity and as far as we are concerned there are still plenty of chances tomorrow’.” Vettel told after qualifying.

The issue that Vettel referred too, was where all his drama started. Having been told to stop his car out on track by Renault engineers, Red Bull were then dragged into the race stewards room where arguments over fuel regulations played out.

Eventually the ruling came that due to the Red Bull having 150ml of fuel less than the required full litre needed to produce a fuel sample, Vettel's qualification times were struck from the records and Vettel would be forced to start from the back of the grid.

The team then decided to make changes to the car to improve the cars performance for a race through the field which meant that the reigning champ was forced to start from the pit-lane.

With lady luck apparently on the side of Alonso, it looked likely that this latest twist in the title race would see the Ferrari re-take the lead.

But during the race, lady luck showed herself to be a fickle woman, and Vettel was handed two safety car periods at critical times of the race to close the field up and enable him to battle his way up to third.

This despite damaging his front wing during two separate incidents, the first with the Williams of Senna, the second with the Toro Rosso of Ricciardo.

With a close field in front of him his Red Bull's general speed was enough to see him slice his way through the field with his best manoeuvre coming against the McLaren of Jenson Button.

“It was a good race for us today, a big chance for Ferrari and Fernando, but we didn’t allow it. I enjoyed it a lot today, more than anything. I damaged the front wing pretty early with Bruno [Senna], which was not ideal, but we were able to carry on and not lose too much. Then, during the safety car, maybe I didn’t pay enough attention. Daniel [Ricciardo] was slowing down, just as I was warming the tyres and I got surprised. I had to move to the right and hit the DRS board, which damaged the front wing. It was the worst time to have to pit from P13 and start again at the back of the field, then I had to do it all over again, passing everyone from the back. In the end, to finish third on the podium is just fantastic.”

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday November 6 2012

Time: 11:00AM


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