Hamilton dominates the Abu Dhabi GP as Sebastian Vettel retires

Lewis Hamilton, McLarenMcLaren's Lewis Hamilton ended a victory drought stretching back to July by winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - after world champion Sebastian Vettel retired on the very first lap due to damage from a puncture.
Fernando Alonso was a close second for Ferrari, with Jenson Button completing the podium despite KERS issues on his McLaren.
Vettel had surged into a clear lead from pole at the first corner, but just one bend later his Red Bull was slewing into a wild spin as its right rear tyre deflated. The champion tried to nurse his car back to the pits, but the flailing rubber had already done too much damage, so Vettel posted his first retirement since last year's Korean GP.

That put Hamilton into the lead, with Alonso in second having passed Mark Webber (Red Bull) at the start and then gone around the outside of Button at the end of the back straight to secure second.
There was little to choose between the McLaren and Ferrari for most of the rest of the race - with the gap sometimes barely more than a second. Ferrari tried to gain an advantage by running longer before Alonso's second stop, but to no avail, and in the final stint Hamilton's lead grew to more comfortable levels as he headed towards his third win of an often-troubled 2011 season.
After losing time with a stubborn wheel at his first stop, Webber tried to regain ground with a three-stop strategy that saw him only change to the harder Pirellis on the very last lap. That did not allow him to beat Button - with whom he had battled fiercely for much of the race - but he did take fourth, helped by Felipe Massa's challenge fading when the Ferrari had a quick spin with six laps to go. The Brazilian quickly rejoined to take fifth.
Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher had a spectacular early battle, won by the younger German, who went on to take sixth. Schumacher narrowly beat Force India's Adrian Sutil to seventh. Sutil's team-mate Paul di Resta and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi completed the points scorers, the former pulling off a one-stop strategy.
Just outside the top 10, Rubens Barrichello ended Williams's awful weekend on a slightly brighter note by charging from the back of the grid to 12th, right on 11th-placed Sauber driver Sergio Perez's tail.


The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Yas Marina, United Arab Emirates;
55 laps; 305.355km;
Weather: Clear.


Pos Driver Team Time

1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1h37:11.886
2. Alonso Ferrari + 8.457
3. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 25.881
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 35.784
5. Massa Ferrari + 50.578
6. Rosberg Mercedes + 52.317
7. Schumacher Mercedes + 1:15.900
8. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1:17.100
9. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1:40.000
10. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap
12. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
13. Petrov Renault + 1 lap
14. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
16. Senna Renault + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
18. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
19. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
20. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps

Fastest lap: Webber, 1:42.612

Not classified/retirements:

Driver Team On lap

Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 49
Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 19
D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 18
Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1

World Championship standings, round 18:

Drivers: Constructors:

1. Vettel 374 1. Red Bull-Renault 607
2. Button 255 2. McLaren-Mercedes 482
3. Alonso 245 3. Ferrari 353
4. Webber 233 4. Mercedes 159
5. Hamilton 227 5. Renault 72
6. Massa 108 6. Force India-Mercedes 57
7. Rosberg 83 7. Sauber-Ferrari 42
8. Schumacher 76 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 41
9. Petrov 36 9. Williams-Cosworth 5
10. Sutil 34
11. Heidfeld 34
12. Kobayashi 28
13. Alguersuari 26
14. Di Resta 23
15. Buemi 15
16. Perez 14
17. Barrichello 4
18. Senna 2
19. Maldonado 1

All timing unofficial


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