Formula 1 News

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Driver by driver review

Sebastian Vettel extended his winning streak to seven wins in a row after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Sunday, November 3, 2013

November 3rd, 2013 (F1Plus / Rosie Baillie) - Though there wasn’t a whole lot of action going on at the front of the grid, there was plenty of action to be seen in the midfield. Let’s review how each driver's race went.

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1. Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull Racing - 25 Points

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The four time world champion led the race from the from the first corner onwards. Vettel’s win was never in doubt and he extended his winning streak to seven consecutive wins.

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Vettel was able to pull out a 2 second gap to Nico Rosberg on the opening lap of the race.

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“I think today was incredible; the pace we had was scary at some stages, I felt very, very good on the soft tyres and was able to pull out a good gap in the first couple of laps.” Vettel said.

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The German said his race win in Abu Dhabi made up for not getting the ‘maximum’ out of himself on Saturday where he qualified second.

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“I didn’t get the maximum out of myself yesterday, but we made up for it today.”

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2. Mark Webber - Red Bull Racing - 18 Points

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The Australian started the race on pole but strong starts from teammate Vettel and Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg meant he was in third place after the first corner.

Webber drove a strong race to take his third second place finish of the year. He praised Vettel and said he would try to do more in Austin in two weeks time.

“Seb was on another planet today and was very, very strong in the first stint. He was super quick and his tyres didn’t wear out, which is a recipe for disaster for the rest of the opposition, me included.” Webber said.

“It would have been good to win, but we got second and I’ll go to Austin and try and do better.”

3. Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - 15 Points

A good start from the German saw him make up one position going into the first corner after getting the jump on Webber.

“I had a great start to the race and was able to catch Mark off the line. I thought there might be a chance to get Seb but it wasn’t quite possible.” he said.

Rosberg spent most of the race towards the front of the field but was unable to really challenge either of the Red Bull drivers.

“We didn’t quite manage to take the challenge to the Red Bulls today but we were closer at least to one of them and hopefully we can make it happen in the last two races.”

4. Romain Grosjean - Lotus - 12 Points

At one point the Lotus driver looked as if he may be on for another podium finish, unfortunately it wasn’t to be for Grosjean as he crossed the line just over a second behind third placed Rosberg.

Grosjean felt a fourth place finish was ‘decent’ after a difficult weekend.

It’s a shame we couldn’t make it four podiums in a row, but to come away with fourth place after a difficult couple of days is a decent result.” Grosjean said.

5. Fernando Alonso - Ferrari - 10 Points

The Spaniard started in 10th place and was able to finish fifth picking up 10 points for the team but believed that he couldn’t possibly have finished any higher up.

“Given the gap to the top four, I certainly couldn’t have done more.” Alonso said.

On lap 45 after pitting Alonso ran wide across the curbs in an attempt to rejoin the circuit ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne. The incident was investigated after the race by the stewards who decided to take no further action.

“The rule states that if you have an equal amount of car to the other one on the track then you can use all the space.” he said.

Alonso said the team will continue to fight Mercedes for second place in the Constructors Championship.

“If we don’t want to give up our fight in the Constructors’ Championship, we absolutely must do better and finish the last two races on the podium”

6. Paul di Resta - Force India - 8 Points

The Scot put in his best performance of the year since Bahrain around the Yas Marina Circuit after finishing in sixth place.

“It’s a great feeling to finish sixth and make the one stop strategy work. I said yesterday that we had opted to set the car up more for the race and it really paid off today,” he said.

Di Resta was battling with Alonso and Lewis Hamilton towards the end of the race but was unable to hold Alonso off who was on fresher tyres.

The Force India driver is hoping the team can put in a repeat performance at the United States Grand Prix in two weeks time.

“That’s two strong weekends in a row and we will move to Austin determined to keep up the momentum.”

7. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 6 Points

In a repeat of what happened at last weekend’s Indian Grand Prix, Hamilton spent much of his race stuck behind other cars and also suffered with grip issues.

“My race just didn’t quite come together and I’m not really sure why as I gave it my all out there. I had some problems with grip and, of course, it’s so difficult to overtake here when you are in traffic but we also need to figure out why I’m not getting the maximum performance from the car at the moment,” Hamilton said.

The Brit is now looking forward to the final two races of the year and is hoping they’ll be much better.

“Hopefully the last two races will be stronger for me and I look forward to that challenge.”

8. Felipe Massa - Ferrari - 4 Points

The Brazilian spent the majority of the race ahead of teammate Alonso, only releasing him when he pitted on lap 39.

Massa made a great pass on Hamilton on lap 25 where he caught the Brit sleeping and passed him on the inside.

“Today I was competitive from start to finish and pulled off a lot of passing moves with a car that handled well. It was a great race.’ Massa said.

The Brazilian said the team should have opted to fit the soft tyres rather than the mediums and felt he could have finished ‘at least fifth’.

“Fitting the Mediums rather than the Softs was not the best decision, because the softer compound was quicker by at least a second per lap: I’d managed to do 19 laps on them in the first stint and it would not have been a problem to do the same in the final part of the race. It’s a real shame, because we could have finished at least fifth,”

9. Sergio Perez - McLaren - 2 Points

The Mexican didn’t have an easy race after struggling with tyres, traction and getting caught in traffic, but he was still able to finish in the points.

“I struggled a little on my first set of Prime tyres, and I’m not too sure why. We had bad rear tyre degradation and poor traction overall,” Perez said.

On the last lap Perez was able to pass Force India’s Adrian Sutil to finish the race in ninth pace picking up two points for the team.

“Still, it was a positive to be able to take ninth position from Adrian [Sutil] on the very last lap – one more point for the team may not sound much but it’s always helpful.”

10. Adrian Sutil - Force India - 1 Point

The German started the race in 17th and had a good start working his way up to 13th place in the opening lap.

“Considering that I started in P17 I have to be quite satisfied about scoring a point and I’m happy about the team result today,” Sutil said.

Sutil was on for a 9th place finish until the last lap when Perez was able to pass him as he was struggling for traction on worn tyres.

“By that time I had done 27 laps on the soft tyres and it was very hard to defend because I had no traction out of the slow speed corners.”

11. Pastor Maldonado - Williams

The Venezuelan had a fairly quiet point and commented that they had struggled with the tyres but felt that the car had improved.

“Today was a very tough race from the perspective of trying to manage the tyres, but we managed to cope with it pretty well. I certainly feel that the pace and consistency of the car has improved with the new aero package we ran this weekend and I could feel that the car was improving as the race went on,” Maldonado said.

A few laps before the end he overtook Jean-Eric Vergne for 11th place but was unable to catch Sutil to pick up a point.

12. Jenson Button - McLaren

An incident on the opening lap forced the Brit to pit early on lap three for new tyres and a new front wing. From then on he had his work cut out for him as he was forced to try and make his way up from the back of the grid.

“I duly locked-up both my front tyres, couldn’t slow the car down sufficiently, and drove into the back of Paul [di Resta], which broke my front wing end-plate,” Button said.

Button was able to work his way up through the field to finish in 12th place and managed 44 laps on the prime tyres and felt that he hadn’t done that badly given his fight back from the back of the grid.

“Given how far behind we were after lap two [when he made his unscheduled early pit-stop], to finish so close to 10th by the chequer wasn’t so bad.”

13. Esteban Gutierrez - Sauber

The Mexican made up three places on the opening lap after starting from 16th.

At one point Gutierrez was in the points but was unable to finish any higher than 13th and said qualifying in 16th had limited what he could do.

“Obviously we were looking for a better result this weekend, so we can not be happy. The pace is there, but qualifying yesterday affected the race today,” said Gutierrez.

14. Nico Hulkenberg - Sauber

After qualifying in fifth place and feeling happy in the car all weekend, Sunday told a very different story for Hulkenberg.

“I’m not quite sure what happened today. I had felt comfortable with the car all weekend, but from lap one I was struggling with it. All the balance and the confidence I had was gone today, and I don’t know why,” the German said.

To make matters worse the Sauber driver was given a drive through penalty on lap 34 for an unsafe release following his pit stop a few laps earlier.

15. Valtteri Bottas - Williams

The Finn had a poor start, due to struggling to get heat into his tyres, which allowed the Caterham drivers to pass him as the lights went out.

“My race was compromised by the first lap when I was jumped by the Caterhams who started on the option tyres and so had more grip and were able to overtake me,” Bottas said.

When on the prime tyres his pace started to improve and he agreed with teammate Maldonado that the car had improved but felt his finishing position didn’t reflect that.

“I don’t think P15 was really reflective of the pace we had today.”

16. Daniel Ricciardo - Toro Rosso

The Red Bull bound Australian had a poor start which saw him drop from 9th place to 16th by the end of the opening lap.

“This was not at all the race I was hoping for. In this sport, if the start doesn’t go well, it’s hard to recover,” Ricciardo said.

Ricciardo went on to say that the team need to see what they can do to improve their starts as they currently lack the pace to fight their way back into the points should they have a bad start.

“At the moment, our pace is not sufficient to fight back into the top ten if something like this happens. We must see what we can do to have better starts, because when we get good ones, we have generally gone on to score points.”

17. Jean-Eric Vergne - Toro Rosso

The Frenchman was on a one-stop strategy but was forced to change to a two-stop strategy a few laps before the end as there was no life left in his tyres.

“Going for a one stop strategy was the right decision, but we made the change from Soft to Medium a little bit too early, so there was no life in the tyres towards the end, just as all that group of cars came up behind me,” said Vergne.

On lap 45 Alonso rejoined the track in front of Vergne though did so while off track. The Frenchman stated that he should have received a penalty but commented that he would have overtaken him later on in the lap later anyway.

“For a while now, if a driver puts a wheel outside the track when overtaking he gets a penalty and he had four wheels outside the line.

“In any case, he would have passed me down the next straight as I was struggling with my tyres by then.”

18. Giedo van der Garde - Caterham

Yet again the Dutchman found himself caught up in another first lap incident after Kimi Raikkonen tried to force his way between van der Garde and teammate Pic, though this time he was unable to continue with his race.

Van der Garde felt the race was one of the best he’d ever had.

“I have to say that’s one of my best ever races. The car was great today and the work the boys did in the stops, they were really on it and that helped a lot in the race.”

He was happy to have finished so far ahead of Caterham’s main rivals Marussia but says they need more luck to secure 10th in the constructors championship.

“We know we need more luck and things to happen to the cars ahead to be able to get back tenth place in the championship, but it’s still good to have finished so far ahead of our nearest rivals,” van der Garde said.

19. Charles Pic - Caterham

Roughly half way through the race the Frenchman was heard arguing with his team over the radio after being asked to move aside to let his teammate through. In the end he complied and let van der Garde past.

Pic wasn’t as happy with the car as van der Garde was and said the car had been understeering all weekend.

“The car’s been understeering all weekend and it just carried on the same today in the race,” Pic said.

“In the final stint it felt a bit better but still nowhere near enough what I’d wanted.”

20. Jules Bianchi - Marussia

The Marussia driver had a tough evening at the Yas Marina Circuit and struggled with balance and to keep up with rivals Caterham.

“The car balance was not as we expected and I had to really push very hard to keep pace with the Caterhams, which is not ideal for managing the tyres,” Bianchi said.

The Frenchman is hoping the final two races of the season will improve but says the team need review the car before the next race.

“I think we will have to have a good look at everything before we go to Austin as, in theory, our new developments had seemed positive. It has been a tough weekend so we hope for better things in the final two races.”

21. Max Chilton

The Brit had a great start and managed to pass both Caterhams going into the first corner though by the end of the lap they’d managed to take the position back.

Chilton agreed with Bianchi that the team's new developments didn’t seem to have improved the car on race day.

“Into the race the car balance was difficult and we were just battling for pace. It’s a shame, because our new developments seemed positive, but they haven’t translated into the race today,” Chilton said.

Despite this, he was happy to have finished another race and kept hold of 10th place in the constructors championship.

“On the plus side, I finished yet another race - so that’s 17 out of 17 now - and of course we still hold position in the Constructors’ Championship.”

DNF - Kimi Raikkonen - Lotus

The Finn's race was over before it had really started after making contact with Giedo van der Garde on the opening lap.

“There was some contact in front of me through the first corner so I stuck to the inside, but unfortunately one of the Caterhams touched my front wheel and it broke the track rod. It wasn’t a heavy impact, but the angle made it worse,” Raikkonen said.

Raikkonen originally qualified in fifth place but was disqualified from qualifying after his car failed a front-floor deflection test, which resulted in him starting from the back of the grid.

“After a difficult start to the weekend we did well yesterday so it was a shame we couldn’t start where we qualified, but these things happen sometimes; it’s just back luck.”

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