2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
In a close poll, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen was chosen the top driver of the weekend.
Sebastian Vettel was the runner-up in the poll after fighting his way from the back of the field to stand on the podium. Third spot in the poll went to Lewis Hamilton, who looked on course for victory until his car failed.
Driver of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Weekend poll – top three
1. Kimi Raikkonen – 37.1%
2. Sebastian Vettel – 27.3%
3. Lewis Hamilton – 20.6%
Took fourth place in qualifying – his second-best Saturday result this season. He had a perfect start overtaking Pastor Maldonado and Mark Webber to take second place, which later translated into lead when Hamilton retired.
He managed to keep sufficient advantage over Fernando Alonso in the DRS zone in last laps and won for the first time since his return to Formula One.
Hamilton was pretty much flawless, claiming pole position, retaining his lead at the start – even after making a small mistake – and then building up a considerable lead before being forced into retirement. Normally I would vote for a driver in that situation, as I voted for him in Singapore and Vettel in Valencia.
But I have to give it to Raikkonen this time. He deserves it after a fantastic comeback season in which he has been the very definition of consistency, including in Abu Dhabi, where he never put a foot wrong, even after his lead was wiped out by the safety car.
That’s not to mention his classic radio messages and podium interview. Welcome back!
There were plenty of drivers who applied for this title, Vettel for coming from back of the field to the podium, Hamilton because he had the race perfectly and easily dominated, Alonso for another great race, but this time my heart won and I gave it to Raikkonen, who with some luck inherited the lead but made a perfect control of the race and made me laugh like no one else in F1 does, he truly has an unique character.
Vettel was quick in practice but missed the third session because of brake problems and had speed for only third place in qualifying. That changed into a pit-lane start when the stewards concluded there was not enough fuel left in his car. The team made use of the rules allowing him to change his set-up before the race.
He damaged his front wing right at the beginning after a contact with Bruno Senna and again later when trying to avoid Daniel Ricciardo behind the safety car. This forced him to make an early pit stop and later switch to a two-stop strategy.
Vettel made crucial passes on many drivers including di Resta, Senna, Schumacher and Grosjean (at first he overtook the Lotus driver off the track and had to give the position back). He used the second safety car period to close the gap to Jenson Button in third and overtook the British driver five laps from the end to get to the podium for the fifth race in a row.
I went for Vettel. OK, so he had some lucky breaks, but he still had to have the speed and presence of mind to benefit from the luck. The fact that he had a couple of little incidents on the way actually made it somehow even more amazing that he kept it together and got to third.
Voted Vettel; he didn’t have the most polished of races, but he got the job done.
I say that it wasn’t down to luck; he was presented opportunities, and he grasped them with both hands.
I think it has to go to Vettel for me. He was on fine form throughout the weekend and this track is not meant to be suited to the Red Bull.
He put it third on the grid after a set back in third and then put in an amazing drive to take back that third from the pits. A lot of people have said there was a lot of luck involved but then that is often the case in many stellar drives.
He really proved his doubters wrong on Sunday and put in some amazingly daring overtakes. It was almost like watching a computer game the way he made moves from so far back and pulled them off.
Honourable mention must go to Hamilton who was the class of the field I just can’t vote for him not knowing what might have happened if he hadn’t retired.
Vettel is definitely driver of the weekend, due to the following factors: Red Bull had one of its messiest weekend in recent memory; After missing third practice, he still manages to get third on the grid, just 0.05 off Webber; After being disqualified from qualifying, he started his race with a completely different car set-up, yet he still managed to be very quick from the go; After damaging his wing he kept his cool and confidence to overtake half the field again; As far as the “lucky” talk goes, I think it’s complete rubbish, the second safety car only helped him gain one position.
Secured his sixth pole position of the season and had a clean start to retain the lead. Despite making a mistake on the second lap he built a gap over second-placed Raikkonen and seemed to be cruising for his fourth win of the season only to retire on lap 20 because of fuel pressure problems.
I had no doubts over this one. Hamilton for me. He beat two Red Bulls to pole, whilst Button was further behind, and led comfortably before and after the first safety car. He was favourite to win and was very unlucky to have a failure, but although Raikkonen took advantage of the other drivers’ problems Hamilton was perfect all weekend.
Has to be Hamilton for me. I’m not a big fan of him to be honest, but you have to admit what he did on Saturday and the first laps on Sunday (especially on the restart) was amazing, such a shame that he broke down, I felt gutted for him.
2012 Driver of the Weekend results so far
|Australia||Jenson Button (43.6%)||Fernando Alonso (21.1%)||Sergio Perez (8.2%)|
|Malaysia||Sergio Perez (61.4%)||Fernando Alonso (28.1%)||Bruno Senna (3.7%)|
|China||Nico Rosberg (69.1%)||Lewis Hamilton (10.0%)||Jenson Button (6.4%)|
|Bahrain||Kimi Raikkonen (56.3%)||Sebastian Vettel (19.3%)||Paul di Resta (10.6%)|
|Spain||Pastor Maldonado (56.8%)||Lewis Hamilton (27.5%)||Fernando Alonso (6.4%)|
|Monaco||Mark Webber (32.6%)||Heikki Kovalainen (20.2%)||Fernando Alonso (14.2%)|
|Canada||Lewis Hamilton (58.7%)||Sergio Perez (19.1%)||Romain Grosjean (15.3%)|
|Europe||Fernando Alonso (51.7%)||Sebastian Vettel (18.4%)||Michael Schumacher (8.9%)|
|Great Britain||Mark Webber (50.1%)||Fernando Alonso (18.7%)||Romain Grosjean (17.3%)|
|Germany||Fernando Alonso (62.4%)||Jenson Button (12.5%)||Kamui Kobayashi (8.7%)|
|Hungary||Lewis Hamilton (55.2%)||Kimi Raikkonen (30.1%)||Bruno Senna (5.5%)|
|Belgium||Jenson Button (52.7%)||Sebastian Vettel (20.5%)||Nico Hulkenberg (8.9%)|
|Italy||Sergio Perez (50.6%)||Lewis Hamilton (30.0%)||Fernando Alonso (10.9%)|
|Singapore||Lewis Hamilton (26.2%)||Paul di Resta (25.6%)||Sebastian Vettel (18.6%)|
|Japan||Kamui Kobayashi (39.2%)||Sebastian Vettel (33.1%)||Felipe Massa (16.8%)|
|Korea||Sebastian Vettel (33.5%)||Felipe Massa (20.3%)||Nico Hulkenberg (16.6%)|
|India||Fernando Alonso (58.6%)||Sebastian Vettel (28.6%)||Bruno Senna (4.1%)|
|Abu Dhabi||Kimi Raikkonen (37.1%)||Sebastian Vettel (27.3%)||Lewis Hamilton (20.6%)|
Hamilton appeared in the top three despite not finishing the race – this previously happened in Singapore where he also led until retiring. Vettel appeared among the top three drivers of the weekend for the fifth race in a row.
2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
- Raikkonen voted top Abu Dhabi driver in close poll
- F1 fans’ videos from the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
- Abu Dhabi voted best race of the year so far
- Top ten pictures from the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
- Podium possible before KERS failure – Williams
Image © Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Red Bull/Getty images, McLaren/Hoch Zwei