Phew! The 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was expected to be a bore after it was reported that like the 2012 Indian Grand Prix teams could possibly run through the entire race on a one-stop. I could visualize myself dozing off mid-way through the race. However and thankfully, that wasn’t the case to be.
Kimi Raikkonen finally managed to win a race in the 2012 Formula1 season and did so after Lewis Hamilton, the man who was most dominant this weekend, had to retire yet again due to Mclaren’s recurring mechanical gremlins! Retirements, crashes due to immature driving also created an entertaining race for Formula1 fans.
Here’s how the race unfolded for me:
- Raikkonen’s win was the 19th of his career and first in his comeback season. He has been on the cusp of victory in many races this season but had been unable to pull off a race win yet! And in Abu Dhabi, it took a cruel retirement for Hamilton to have the race victory fall in Raikkonen’s lap. Having said that, Raikkonen drove very well to survive two Safety Car periods and a late race attack from Alonso.
- As interesting as his drive were his radio messages with his race engineer. ‘Leave me alone, I know what to do’ was probably the best of them all! (Read: Massa Renews With Ferrari, Raikkonen With Lotus F1 Team)
- His win makes him the 8th driver to win a race this season and Lotus is the 6th team. The 2012 Formula1 season will go down in history as one of the best.
- The man who never gives up, Fernando Alonso, drove a strong race to finish 2nd. His hopes to eat a sizeable chunk of Vettel’s championship lead were dashed after a splendid drive from the German which was aided by two Safety Car periods, sound tyre strategy and heavy attrition saw him finish 3rd after starting the race from the pit lane!
- As for Vettel, he almost saw his World Championship slip away after a kiss with the barriers in Q1 yesterday, followed by exclusion from the session due to technical reasons. In the race, he damaged his front wing early in the race with separate incidents including Senna and Ricciardo.
- He must be one pleased man to leave Abu Dhabi with 10 points in the lead. Had it not been for some massive luck to aid his gritty drive, the situation could have well been the exact opposite!
- Maldonado, who eventually finished 5th, was involved in an incident for which he is not to blame! He held the inside line to Webber at the apex that saw the Aussie drive make contact and spin. Webber ultimately got knocked out during a collision caused by some immature driving by Perez.
- In the top 10, Ferrari and Williams were the only cars to have both cars finish. With 7 retirements overall, this was a race with high attrition levels. This also meant that Vettel had fewer drivers to overtake enroute to his podium.
- This was Hamilton’s second retirement at a race meet where he was the class of the field in all sessions. The previous one being the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix. Unfortunate for the Brit!
- Karthikeyan and Rosberg were involved in a massive shunt where the Mercedes went flying millimetres over the Indian’s helmet. The incident was caused due to hydraulics failure on the F112 leading to steering issues and forcing Karthikeyan to go off throttle. While Rosberg horribly misjudged the situation here, he can’t be blamed for the shunt.
- The HRT F112’s unreliability is becoming an increasing danger to both its drivers. Will the FIA step in here?
- And the Sahara Force India team managed a 9th place with Paul Di Resta adding two points to their points tally. Hulkenberg retired in a first lap incident where he was sandwiched between his team-mate and Senna. This was his second retirement of the year and both of them have been on the first lap itself!
- Kovalainen had a chance to bring glory back to Caterham when he ran as high as 12th in the race. He ultimately finished 13th and 12.8 seconds behind Vergne. Caterham need to finish 12th or higher in the next two races to beat Marussia to 10th place in the Constructors’ Championship. Will they be able to do so?
- And there was tough competition at the rear of the grid as well. Glock finished only 8 seconds behind Kovalainen! If only these teams could further challenge the mid-field runners!
If Perez’s drive was the most immature out there, Vettel’s was the most inspiring. He isn’t known to make such comeback drives and hopefully with this one he has silenced his critics. Hamilton labeled Vettel as the ‘luckiest’ driver in Formula1 post-race, do you think so too?
Hear ‘Mclaren Change Five Wheels In A Pitstop‘ by RJ Rishi Kapoor and me.