With a perfect lighting start, Kimi Raikkonen was victorious in a thrilling race in Abu Dhabi. Lotus have been on the verge of a win for most of the season and the Finn’s first win since his comeback has finally revealed the potential of the car. Taking second position from the start, he was then gifted the lead when Lewis Hamilton retired from the race with electrical failiure.
Raikkonen has been steadily amassing points all season and has been nestled just under Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in the Championship points. Second places achieved in Bahrain, Valencia and Hungary, together with thirds in Spain, Germany and Belgium have meant that he has been loitering slightly under the radar but has now steadily climbed to third place with 198 points.
After starting from the pit lane so the team could make adjustments to the car making it more conducive to overtaking, Vettel showed his mettle by demonstrating some great moves, slicing his way through the field into eighth place by lap 26. Having had a near collision with Daniel Riccardio, he had contact with the barriers which left him needing a replacement nose. With a tyre change completed also, all under the safety car, it meant that he was able to get himself up to second place when the other drivers made their pit stops. Another safety car on lap 39 due to the tussle between Sergio Perez and Paul Di Resta which collected Romain Grosjean and Mark Webber closed the pack, giving Vettle the chance to overtake Button for the final podium place.
Fernando Alonso took advantage of a slight mistake by Button giving him fifth place, which was then followed by a move on Webber for fourth. On lap 20, he benefited from Lewis’ retirement and Maldonado‘s old tyres to move up to second. Although pushing hard and clocking up purple laps towards the end of the race, he wasn’t quite able to snatch the victory from Kimi, instead taking the second step on the podium.
Although not able to take the Championship himself now, this win by the ice man has certainly spiced things up regarding the driver’s title. With the difference in points between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso now down to ten points, it increases the chances of an electrifying title decider in the final race of the season in Brazil. Up to this point, Fernando Alonso has seemed more deserving of the driver’s title due to his ability to do impressive things with an inferior car. While I still carry this belief, fighting his way from the pit lane to third place has inched Sebastian Vettel a little closer.