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Abu Dhabi analysis - the coolest of comeback kings 05 Nov 2012

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20 celebrates with the Lotus F1 team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Podium and results:
1st Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1, centre.
2nd Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari, left.
3rd Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing, right.
Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Principal, far left.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 (L to R): Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing (3rd) on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Marshals push away the car of Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams FW34 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C31 and Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05 at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03 crashed out of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham CT01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8 passes Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT Formula One Team HRT F112.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday, 4 November 2012

Kimi Raikkonen finally made the breakthrough to victory that Lotus have been promising all season on Sunday, with a splendid win - the first of his F1 comeback - in Abu Dhabi under intense pressure from Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. The result brings Alonso within 10 points of Vettel - who staged his own remarkable comeback from the rear of the grid - as they now become the two sole contenders for the 2012 world championship title over the remaining two races. We take a team-by-team look back at a frenetic Yas Marina race…

Lotus
Kimi Raikkonen, P1
Romain Grosjean, Retired lap 38, accident

Raikkonen won the race at the start when he beat Webber and Maldonado into the first corner, and then took over when Hamilton’s McLaren stopped. Thereafter he controlled the situation superbly even when Alonso was on a late-race charge, and finally took the team’s long overdue first 2012 victory. It completely validated his comeback and was hugely popular in the paddock. Grosjean was unlucky, after a first-lap brush with Rosberg obliged him to stop for new tyre, and later his battle for fifth fell apart when Di Resta overtook him, and then Perez’s attempt to pass both of them triggered mayhem on the 38th lap.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, P2
Felipe Massa, P7

Second place after starting sixth was, as Alonso pointed out, the maximum that Ferrari could have expected. But that didn’t stop him pushing as hard after Raikkonen as he could in the closing laps when he set a string of fastest laps. His gritty drive reduced the points deficit to Vettel from 13 to 10, and keeps him firmly in play for the world title with two races left. Massa had a tough race, with big tyre degradation which gave him understeer in high-speed corners and oversteer elsewhere. The incident with Webber on the 26th lap also cost him time and places.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P3
Mark Webber, Retired lap 38, accident

Vettel started from the pit lane with a modified car, survived two lots of front wing damage sustained in the early laps, dropped back to the tail of the field after an early stop for a new nose, and then stormed up to second before making a second stop. He then benefited hugely from the second safety car, which turned a 30s deficit into one of only 3.3s. He charged after Button, finally overtook him with three laps to go, and took the final podium position after running out of time to challenge Alonso or Raikkonen. Webber battled for fourth place initially, after a poor start, but lost time in incidents with Maldonado and Massa, and was then taken out in the accident that Perez triggered on the 38th lap.

McLaren
Jenson Button, P4
Lewis Hamilton, Retired lap 20, fuel pressure

Hamilton had the race in his hand after recovering from a small brake locking problem which ran him wide on the second lap, but lack of fuel pressure brought him to a cruel halt on the 20th lap. Button fought Alonso hard for second for a while, after boldly overtaking Maldonado, but lacked the race pace to keep Vettel at bay for the final podium position.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, P5
Bruno Senna, P8

A KERS problem cost Maldonado what he believed was a podium chance, and a tap with Webber half spun the Australian but elicited no further action from the stewards. Senna, meanwhile, was very fortunate to escape a first-lap assault by Hulkenberg and fought back well to take eighth, thus giving Williams a much-needed haul of 14 points.

Sauber
Kamui Kobayashi, P6
Sergio Perez, P15

Kobayashi had a quiet race and took sixth despite a downshift problem that prevented him from charging his KERS fully, but after running very strongly early on Perez lost ground under the safety cars and later spun while triggering the lap 38 incident which took out Grosjean and Webber. He was given a 10s stop and go penalty as a result, which dropped him to 15th, three-tenths behind Glock.

Force India
Paul di Resta, P9
Nico Hulkenberg, Retired lap 1, accident

Hulkenberg got squeezed into Senna at the first corner and was the first retirement. Di Resta, who tapped him, had made a good start but sustained a puncture after somebody else hit him. He recovered strongly from the resultant first-lap pit stop to take two points for ninth.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, P10
Jean-Eric Vergne, P12

An early stop looked likely to pay a dividend for Vergne after the first safety car, but the second lost him all that advantage. Ricciardo, meanwhile, ran harder on fresher tyres and passed him near the end to take the final point.

Mercedes
Michael Schumacher, P11
Nico Rosberg, Retired lap 8, accident

Mercedes had another brutal race, with Rosberg the innocent victim of Karthikeyan’s problems as he fought back from a first-lap pit stop to replace his car’s nose after an early brush with Grosjean. Schumacher was a contender for lower-end points, until a right rear puncture dropped him back. He failed to dislodge Ricciardo for the final point by six-tenths of a second.

Caterham
Heikki Kovalainen, P13
Vitaly Petrov, P16

Kovalainen made the most of the early melee to run as high as 13th early on, but after faster cars passed and then ran into trouble he ended up in that position by the end. Petrov challenged him early on before having to concede, but struggled for grip all through the race.

Marussia
Timo Glock, P14
Charles Pic, Retired lap 41, engine

Glock managed to fend off the penalty-delayed Perez by three-tenths of a second to take a useful 14th place, but Pic subsequently retired after a brief early battle with his team mate, due to engine failure.

HRT
Pedro de la Rosa, P17
Narain Karthikeyan, Retired lap 8, hydraulics/accident

Karthikeyan made a spectacular exit on the eighth lap when his hydraulics failed, making his steering super-heavy, obliging him to back off and triggering an accident in which a close-following Rosberg went over the top of his car. Fortunately neither was hurt. De la Rosa plodded on to finish a lonely race in 17th.

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