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Classic onboard - Vettel and Grosjean spar under the lights

23 Nov 2016

After three front row starts in three races in Abu Dhabi, Sebastian Vettel found himself facing a very different challenge in 2012. Starting from the pit lane, the championship leader had a fight on his hands - but that just made for even more compelling viewing, especially when the likes of Romain Grosjean fought back...

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In the midst of a tense title fight, the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix threatened to turn the standings on their head. Vettel it was who led, but by just 15 points from Fernando Alonso - a margin that looked at distinct risk when the German was dropped to the back of the field for running too low on fuel in qualifying. The three-time world champion's critics were in good voice - Vettel couldn't pass, they said; he could only win from the front. Fifty-five scintillating laps later, all such talk was scotched. The pick of his battles came against Romain Grosjean, who had suffered his own share of setbacks in the race - ninth on the grid, he had been on the wrong end of a first lap melee and had dropped to the back of the field after pitting with damage. When Vettel suffered his own prang fighting with future team mate Daniel Ricciardo, suddenly he and Grosjean were fighting for the same spot on the track. They may have been 18th and 19th, but neither was about to give way - leading to this brilliant three-abreast fight down the back straight. It didn't all go exactly to plan for Vettel - in putting all four wheels over the white line he had to cede position to Grosjean, but he was soon back past the Frenchman and charging to an emphatic, and highly unlikely, Yas Marina podium...