Abu Dhabi analysis - dont call it a comeback 14 Nov 2011
Lewis Hamiltons recent troubles have been well documented. Perhaps no surprise then that he described his superb Yas Marina win as good for the soul. And with team mate Jenson Button joining him on the podium, it was good for McLaren too. Sebastian Vettel may have gone out on lap one, but Hamilton had been quickest all weekend - he even set the fastest qualifying lap, albeit not when it really counted - and always looked a good bet to take his third victory of 2011. We review Sundays Grand Prix team by team
Lewis Hamilton, P1
Jenson Button, P3
From the moment that fast-starting Vettel spun off, Hamilton owned the Abu Dhabi race. Alonso kept him honest, but Hamilton always had the pace to open up a gap whenever the Spaniard reduced it, and his and McLarens victory was richly deserved after all his recent troubles. It also brought him level with Button, three 2011 wins each, though he cannot now beat the latter to second place overall. Buttons race was marred by intermittent functioning of his KERS. He could reset it, but then it would stop working again without warning, necessitating further juggling of the system and the brake balance. A podium finish was thus a big bonus in such tricky circumstances.
Mark Webber, P4
Sebastian Vettel, retired lap 1, suspension/tyre
The sensation of the race was Vettels early retirement, which may have been caused by a simple puncture, or perhaps by car components fouling the wheel/tyre. The team went to great lengths to disguise whatever the cause was. Thereafter Webber flew the flag, and had good early pace against Button and Massa until a sticky rear wheel nut lost him time in his first stop. With little to lose the team switched him to a three-stop strategy, two more sets of soft tyres enabling him to set fastest lap and to snatch third from Button until he had to stop on the penultimate lap to make the mandatory switch to mediums. His resultant fourth place thus made this the first time that Red Bull have failed to finish on the podium this season.
Fernando Alonso, P2
Felipe Massa, P5
Alonso had a superb opening lap which set him up to keep Hamilton honest for the rest of the afternoon. The Spaniard got held up by Ricciardo entering the pits on lap 43, having run two laps longer than Hamilton, and that hampered the potential to get out still in the lead. Such was his pace on mediums thereafter, however, that he admitted he could not have kept the McLaren at bay anyway. Massa had a strong race until he ran over debris from a Williams, and then spun briefly as he struggled for grip on the medium tyres. Nevertheless, it was a good day for the Scuderia, with second and fifth places.
Nico Rosberg, P6
Michael Schumacher, P7
The two Mercedes had a real dust-up in the opening laps before Rosberg established superiority over Schumacher, whose car suffered damage which hurt its balance in a clash with Massa. Later the older German was also slowed by a slow puncture.
Adrian Sutil, P8
Paul di Resta, P9
Force India switched Sutil to a two-stop strategy after considering a single stopper, and were rewarded by a smooth and strong drive to eighth. They kept Di Resta on a one-stop, and though that wasnt the answer the Scot drove well to bring his car home ninth for two more valuable points which have virtually ensured the team of its sixth place overall in the constructors table.
Kamui Kobayashi, P10
Sergio Perez, P11
Perez was in the pits on lap two with a front wing damaged on Sutils Force India, necessitating a climb back to the lower points positions before his tyres went off and his KERS malfunctioned. Kobayashis gamble to start on mediums lasted five laps before they were finished, but thereafter he battled back on softs to score the final point.
Rubens Barrichello, P12
Pastor Maldonado, P14
Barrichello drove a strong race to climb from 24th to 12th, within a second of Perez, but Maldonado got one drive-through for ignoring blue flags and, post-race, a 30-second time penalty for his fight with Alguersuari which saw both badly impede Webber and Massa.
Vitaly Petrov, P13
Bruno Senna, P16
Renault had a brutal race, with Petrovs DRS not working and Senna suffering without KERS.
Jaime Alguersuari, P15
Sebastien Buemi, retired lap 20, hydraulics
Buemi was the teams star this day, harrying Di Resta until his hydraulics malfunctioned, but Alguersuari drew criticism, and a post-race 20-second drive-through penalty, for getting badly in the way of Webber and Massa as they battled for fourth place.
Heikki Kovalainen, P17
Jarno Trulli, P18
Kovalainen had yet another feisty race for Lotus, at one stage running as high as 13th before he was gradually overhauled, to finish a lap ahead of team mate Trulli.
Timo Glock, P19
Jerome d'Ambrosio, retired lap 19, brakes
Glock had an uneventful run to 19th, but DAmbrosios fight with the HRTs was brought to a premature end by brake problems.
Tonio Liuzzi, P20
Daniel Ricciardo, retired lap 49, electrics
Liuzzi made a tremendous start, after opting to do a one-stop strategy, but he was soon hauled in as his F111 suffered from the same wayward handling that had affected it in practice. He was able to soldier home last, but team mate Ricciardo, whose two-stop strategy was much better, dropped out with electrical failure.
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