Abu Dhabi GP as it happened

Text and video highlights of a thrilling Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit, where Kimi Raikkonen takes victory.

4 November 2012 Last updated at 16:49 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 1650: 

    I'll be back at 1430 GMT on Friday 16 November to bring you live text coverage of United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. The track looks awesome - made up of a series of corners from the best race tracks in the world - so I can't wait to find out if it delivers. Thanks for your company and contributions as always and see you in a couple of weeks. Until then, it's good evening from me.

  2. 1645: 

    There's just time for one final word from our very worthy race winner: "I always said that we had the speed to fight at the front but if we don't put ourselves in that position we can't use it.

    "The start will either make or break our race and I made a good start and it decided the win. We don't have the speed of McLaren but if you can't finish the race you have a problem."

  3. 1642: 
  4. 1638: 

    As Jake, EJ and DC are wrapping things up on BBC One, I'll join them in taking my leave after what has been a thrilling (for a change) Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Somehow, our editors will need to chop all that action down into a snazzy one-hour highlights programme for you to enjoy on BBC Three at 1900 GMT.

  5. 1634: 

    It's picture time over at Lotus. The entire staff have essembled outside their garage waiting for the man of the moment to take centre stage. He doesn't keep the waiting, strolling in, beer in hand, before squatting down at the front and pulling out a rare smile. Is this the start of something special over at Lotus?

  6. 1631: 

    When asked whether he can still win the title, Alonso said: "We were thinking to exit Abu Dhabi with a 20-point deficit and now it's 10 so it's a good weekend for us. They [Red Bull] have the best car, we have the best team, we will see who will win."


    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who finished second: "I'm very proud of the team and myself. It was the perfect race. We started sixth and maybe didn't have the pace to fight for the podium but we were fighting in second at the end. It was the perfect car and the perfect strategy.

    "Sebastian Vettel drove very well and a couple of safety cars closed the gap maybe but it was a good drive. We suffered some warm-up issues or something but we were a little bit quicker at the end. It was a trade-off but we're happy with the day."


    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel on leading the championship with two races to go: "We have a very good car at the moment. The team is sharp, we're enjoying the moment. We haven't always had the best car but we've scored points which is why we're here. We have a fantastic chance so it's up to us."

  9. 1628: 

    Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard are arguing over whether Fernando Alonso and Ferrari still have a shot at the title. Jordan believe their hopes are over and blames the fact they've failed to deliver a good car and have relied too much on Alonso carrying the team. Coulthard says that while that may be the case, they are only 10 points behind Vettel with 50 remaining, a situation the team would have taken back in Melbourne at the start of the season, and everything is still to play for.

  10. 1625: 

    Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali says that he will not stop believing until it is not longer mathematically possible to win the drivers' title. You can't fault his determination, but he and the rest of the team face a battle to turn that belief into reality in the final two races of the season.

  11. 1622: 

    And if you didn't see the pre-race build up show, you missed a cracking feature where Red Bull design chief Adrian Newey headed to Silverstone to drive two cars he had previous designed - the Leyton House March from 1988 that was driven by Ivan Capelli and the 2009 RB5. Luckily for you, we have clipped up the video so you can watch it again.


    Sebastian Vettel, who came from the pit lane to finish third: "It was a crazy race. It's hard enough to get through the field once but we did it twice. We were in quite a good position but I was surprised by Daniel's move and I was caught out and should have been more aware and I had no choice but to avoid him and run to right and I hit a DRS board flat on and had to pit which wasn't good at that moment because we came out dead last.

    "It was everything or nothing and we were pushing but the pace was there and it was a very good race for us. The second safety car helped and the target was to win the race because there were only three cars to go but unfortunately I didn't get through Jenson as quickly as the other cars before. I finally made it and it was very close but I saw the gap and he behaved fair you can't do that kind of move with all the drivers so it was a lot of fun and a great result."

  13. 1618: 

    Narain Karthikeyan has confirmed that he had a problem with hydraulic pressure which meant the "steering of the car went rock solid". As a result, he decided to lift his foot off the accelerator. Unfortunately, Rosberg was right behind him and didn't anticipate the sudden drop of speed at that point of the circuit. The result was a spectacular crash which you can watch again on the Formula 1 pages. Both drivers were unhurt.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Red Bull were spot on. The call about the fuel quantity was a mistake by someone and you have to cover yourself as best as possible and they did that well. They're coming from behind but they've got the quickest car. They're doing everything and they're making decisions along the way."


    McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh on Jenson Button: "Jenson wasn't happy with his form in qualifying but he raced reasonably well. He was pushing Fernando and at the end Sebastian was fortuitous to have had that number of safety cars. Jenson did a pretty good job of holding him off for quite a period but ultimately he got by."

  16. 1611: 

    While Lewis Hamilton failed to score, Jenson Button salavaged fourth place to ensure McLaren set a new record as the first team to score points in 56 consecutive races.


    McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh on Lewis Hamilton's fuel pump problem: "It's more bitter than sweet but Lewis did a great job, did everything right and it should have been in the bag for us so gutting but that sometimes happens. We now know it was a mechanical fuel pump and when you don't want it to go wrong it does.

    "Mercedes have always given us good reliable systems so it looks like one of those things that happen. If it's parts that we don't make there's not a lot we can do on those but we've got to pay attention to our things just like Mercedes will. When something like this happens I'm sure they'll have deep forensics on it.

    "We've had a quick car and haven't got all the points we should have and this is one of those hard work years for us. We're obviously a little bit disappointed right now but we'll look forward with a quick car and two motivated drivers and go out and try to win those two races."

  18. 1607: 

    The drivers' championship is very much alive with Fernando Alonso cutting Sebastian Vettel's lead to 10 points with 50 remaining in two grands prix.

    We've got a two-week break before the United States Grand Prix takes place at the brand new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on the weekend of 17/18 November. We'll have shiny highlights packages for you over the weekend.

    The season then concludes in Brazil at Interlagos a week later with coverage of practice, qualifying and the race live across the BBC on television, radio and online.


    Pastor Maldonado, who finished fifth: "It's disappointing because we missed the podium. The car was strong but after the safety car I did all of the race defending everything and trying to get back past the other drivers. It's difficult when you have problems with the car on this track.

    "I think Mark Webber was unlucky because he tried to get a place on me on the outside and he touched my front right wheel and he span. It was disappointing for him but it was a risky manoeuvre. They're good points. We saved the day and I hope to be competitive in the next two races."

  20. 1600: 

    Eddie Jordan makes the bold claim that the big teams will be monitoring Pastor Maldonado and that he will be commanding a big salary in the coming years because he believes he is a big talent. The Venezuelan drove a great race, especially as he was without Kers for much of the race, to finish fifth.


    Paul di Resta, who finished ninth: "At the end I managed to get a few places and had a fight with Senna. You'll take a couple of points after a couple of difficult races but it could have been more.

    "I don't know what (Perez) was trying to do. He was trying to make a mad move around the outside and I had to bail out. He was on fresher tyres but I'll need to see it again."

  22. 1552: 

    Force India's Paul di Resta had a decent race after picking up a puncture at the first corner, which forced him to pit and rejoin the race almost dead last, before battling with Sergio Perez and fighting his way back into the points.


    Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, who retired: "On one side I'm very happy for Kimi. It's the win we were waiting for. I started well and was doing my best and was running pretty well.

    "[On the incident with Sergio Perez] It was a tight battle and I had no room to go anywhere else and there was a big shunt. There was contact with Nico [Rosberg] at the start. I kept my line and did a safe start but there was no room for me to go. It was an unlucky day."

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "Romain Grosjean is still desperate. He's trying to keep his drive but he will have impressed a few people today. Lotus will probably keep both of these drivers, it seems to work. It will be a concern that he's in incidents and crashes although he was pretty blameless today.

  25. 1545: 

    The boys are discussing Romain Grosjean's performance in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where he was involved in a couple of incidents. The Frenchman picked up a puncture when he came together with Nico Rosberg and was then taken by Sergio Perez later in the race.


    Niko Rosberg, who retired after crashing into the back of Narain Karthikeyan: "I'm ok. His steering broke and so he wasn't able to steer and went right on the brakes. I didn't expect him to get on the brakes there so didn't see it coming and there was no way for me to react in time."


    Tasha on Twitter: "Perez is not a worthy replacement for Lewis... However, he may just work as a number 2 driver to JB."

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Sergio Perez is young and he's still building experience. If he was running out front in a faster car you can't run into anything. If anyone can get behind him and start ironing out those little mistakes McLaren can. Sergio has got his chance and he has to deliver."

  29. 1538: 

    A couple of interest stats for you.

    Since Lewis Hamilton signed his contract with Mercedes - four races ago - the German team have failed to score a single point.

    McLaren signed Sergio Perez as Hamilton's replacement, but the Mexican has failed to score a single point since he signed on the dotted line. Today, he was in wars, picking up a 10-second stop-go penalty for causing a collision that put Mark Webber and Romain Grosjean out of the race.


    Matt in Tonbridge, via text: "The Iceman is back! Couldn't have driven a better race, just a shame he's out of the title race."


    Red Bull boss Christian Horner: "You can see Fernando is pretty pumped up at the moment. He went from sixth to second and looked like he'd won the race on the podium. We need to eliminate the mistakes, like the one we made yesterday. We've got to go to Austin, which looks a great track, and make the most of it."


    Jenson Button, who finished fourth: "It was a fun race, but we struggled. The car was very different to my runs on Friday - I couldn't get any grip. It was fun and there were some good battles out there. Hopefully I'll find more pace [for Austin], my race pace is something that's normally very good, so we'll go and find out why that it wasn't here."

  33. 1528: 

    We're all done and dusted on BBC One, but there's plenty to more to come. Jake, EJ and DC will be grabbing all the top performers from that race - and there were a fair few. Flick over to the red button or keep an eye on the video player at the top of this page.


    Infostrada Sports on Twitter: "Vettel improved 21 places from starting grid. Biggest improvement since Christian Danner in 1989 (started 26th finished 4th in USA).


    And a bit more from Horner: "There were some fairly choice words from the car [after the incident with Ricciardo] and the pit wall and it finished that wing off so we had to adjust our strategy, think quickly and react and Sebastian, having gone to the back, had to make it work. All day we saw cars getting into trouble and I was nervous when he started having a look at Jenson but he made it stick and it was an unbelievable day for Sebastian today."


    Red Bull team principal Christian Horner on Sebastian Vettel's third place: "It was unbelievable to start not from the back but from the pit lane and have to come in for the nose. Sebastian's recovery was exceptional. He drove flat out on every lap and produced some great racing."


    Danni on Twitter: "Well, a race that is supposed to be boring turned out to be very action packed. A lot of silly overtakes. What is going on?!"


    McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who retired: "I hadn't been faultless in this race because I did have a very wide moment at one stage but after that it was going really well and the car was a dream to drive. I was cruising and pulling away so it was a shame the engine just died. It was some kind of fuel problem but it was an incredible race, good to watch.

    "We hadn't brought any upgrades and hopefully we'll have some for the next race. I hope the car performs over the next two races to finish up the front for the last time. I'm happy with the job I did, I couldn't have done any more."

  39. 1523: 

    Lewis Hamilton suffered the misery of having victory snatched away by a car failure, but the 2008 world champion, who leaving McLaren for Mercedes next season, refused to be downbeat...

  40. 1520: 

    Red Bull must wait until the United States Grand Prix at the earliest to claim the constructors' championship. They lead Ferrari by 82 points with 86 remaining.

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "Lewis Hamilton's car failure is unacceptable really for a team as powerful and as mighty as McLaren, they need to sort this out quickly."

  42. 1515: 

    Despite Kimi Raikkonen taking his first win of the season, other results mean he is now out of contention for this year's drivers' title. We're now down to a two-horse race between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. Here's how they stand:

    1) Vettel 255

    2) Alonso 245

    3) Raikkonen 198

    4) Webber 167

    5) Hamilton 165

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "It reminded me of my inner fan, watching these races growing up in Scotland. Kimi showed he doesn't need the cajoling of other others, Sebastian Vettel's comeback, Alonso pushing at the end and it being so disappointing for Hamilton. This race had everything."


    Joshua Wright on Twitter: "Best race in a while, great to see Lotus back where they belong."

    Steve Parsley on Twitter: "He may not say much but, when it comes to classic moments, Kimi just keeps on giving, doesn't he?"

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "Lotus deserved better results earlier this season and you can see what victory means to them. Even this week there have been rumours about their financial situation and this is the icing on the cake for them."


    Marussia on Twitter: "Timo drove a stonking race today. Suffered contact on the opening lap - could have been much worse. More on that later."


    One final word from Kimi Raikkonen: "I was really hoping to win before. I'm happy but there's nothing to jump around about. We'll try to do the same again. We'll have a good party and tomorrow when we're feeling bad after a long night we'll remember why we feel like that but I'm just happy for everyone in the team."


    Heikki Kovalainen on Twitter: "Very happy for Kimi returning to winning ways, what a comeback season he's had! Well done! My race was good, every lap qualifying, max attack."


    Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who finished third: "I believed I could get the podium. After a couple of laps that changed a little and I had a messy start to the race but I damaged my front wing and I had a big mistake with Daniel (Ricciardo) who was stopping his car on the straight and I was surprised.

    "If it was 50m earlier or later I wouldn't have damaged my wing. It was full attack or nothing and that's what we did. It was a fantastic race and in the end it was a nice fight with Jenson and I just squeezed my way past. It was a thrilling race - up and down all the time.

    "There are still two races to go and we've seen how quickly it can change. If we'd started third it would have been a different race. We can be proud and we only lost a little but the car is quick and so we're looking forward to the next two race and we believe."


    Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who finished second: "I'm very happy as I think we were not super competitive this weekend. We had to fight throughout the race but we had a very good strategy and wanted victory. But we think it was a perfect Sunday as we kept fighting right until the end."


    Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen, who took victory: "Last time you guys were giving me grief because I didn't smile enough but I'm happy for the team. It's been a hard season and not easy times lately. Hopefully this will give everyone belief and turn the tables so we can win more races, if not this year then next year."

  52. 1503: 

    It's our very own David Coulthard who is in charge of the podium interviews. He's even put a smart black jacket on for the occasion.

  53. 1501: 

    Kimi Raikkonen makes sure he has a big sip of his celebration sparkling rosewater before spraying it in traditional fashion.


    Paul Martin on Twitter: "Kimi finishing 1st is amazing, but Vettel finishing 3rd after starting at the very back is epic."

    Cara Weatherly on Twitter: "Wow that was an awesome race. Half the teams only had one car that finished. Very happy with Button and Di Resta's race.

    Adam Craig "What a race that was, great for Kimi to get his 1st victory. Amazing run from Vettel to get third, championship is still open though."

  55. 1458: 

    There is cheeky smile from Kimi Raikkonen as he heads out onto the podium and onto the top step for the first time since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix.


    Lotus team principal Eric Boullier: "This is just a great one. It's a final reward for the team. We've deserved this for a long time. We had a little bit of luck. Kimi is good for everyone at Enstone and good for the the fans in F1. I am proud of this and we did well."

  57. 1456: 

    So Kimi Raikkonen wins ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. Jenson Button, Pastor Maldonado, Kamui Kobayashi, Felipe Massa, Bruno Senna, Paul di Resta and Daniel Ricciardo complete the top 10.

    Here's how the rest finished:

    11) Schumacher 12) Vergne 13) Kovalainen 14) Glock 15) Perez 16) Petrov 17) De la Rosa

    Did not finish:

    Pic, Grosjean, Webber, Hamilton, Karthikeyan, Rosberg and Hulkenberg

  58. 1455: 

    Kimi Raikkonen parks his Lotus under the podium, calmly replaces the steering wheel and then climbs onto the nose of his car and raises his arms towards his adoring team in celebration.

  59. 1453: 

    Talking about remarkable, Sebastian Vettel is just that. The German finishes a brilliant third after starting from the pit lane and having to pit for a new front wing. "I told you guys, don't stop believing," he says over the radio. Damn, I'm going to have that song in my head again having only just forgotten about it when using it in relation to Fernando Alonso's title bid on Friday morning.

  60. 1450: 

    Kimi Raikkonen punches the air as he crosses the line to take Lotus's first victory in their current guise. A truly remarkable performance from the 2007 world champion who tells his team: "Thanks guys, great job."



    LAP 55

    Fernando Alonso is back to within a second but we're only a few corners away from the finish line. Has he run out of time?

    LAP 54

    We're about to start the final lap and Kimi Raikkonen has responded to Fernando Alonso's charge. The gap is now 1.2 seconds and that should be enough to take his first victory since his return to Formula 1 this season.

    LAP 53

    Fernando Alonso is within one second of Kimi Raikkonen and will be able to use the DRS. The Spaniard is absolutely on it. Will he have enough time to make the move with two laps remaining?


    Lotus team on Twitter: "Always a worry when Fernando is closing in; unless you have the Iceman! #AbuDhabiDoo #f1"

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Kimi's in this position in the championship he is because he's delivered consistent results. When others have tripping over each other, he's kept out of trouble, You had that feeling that all they needed was better qualifying and they would have won a grand prix before now. It will be a huge boost for that team and it takes a lot but it will put a smile on Kimi's face. He was my team-mate for a couple of years and he's a conservationist. He was either driving the car extremely quickly or sleeping in the back of the truck."


    James Whalley on Twitter: "What a drive from Vettel, helped by other drivers misfortunes, admittedly, but Alonso must be rattled by the Red Bull charge."

    LAP 52

    A potentially crucial move for Sebastian Vettel who finally makes a move on Jenson Buuton stick. The Red Bull driver picks the outside and while Button tries to hold on through the next sequence of corners, Vettel has the momentum and the track position.

    LAP 51

    The gap is down to 1.7 seconds with four laps remaining. Will Fernando Alonso catch Kimi Raikkonen in time? He's running out of laps...

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Alonso is closing down that little bit so it's going to be tough. Kimi Raikkonen needs to keep that gap but Fernando knows he needs to take as many points as possible off Sebastian Vettel. A win would be a big bonus, the seven extra points from second to first, so Fernando will be pushing for those."

    LAP 50

    I think we still have a battle for the win here. Fernando Alonso takes six tenths out of Kimi Raikkonen to close the gap down to two seconds flat with five laps remaining. Sebastian Vettel is still stuck behind the McLaren of Jenson Button.


    Lotus team on Twitter: "Kimi's the odd one out of the top three; he only has one World Championship. He wants more. #AbuDhabiDoo #f1"

    LAP 49

    Easy pass for Michael Schumacher on Jean-Eric Vergne for 11th. Sebastian Vettel doesn't have the same success up front in his pursuit of third. Jenson Button continues to boldly defend his position and remains on course to finish third - the only position he has finished in in each of the previous three Abu Dhabi Grands Prix.


    Joe Turnbull on Twitter: "Got to love Kimi telling his team that he knows what he is doing and doesn't need reminding all the time."

    Alex Wilson on Twitter: "It's all going on, serious driving, huge dramas and some fab commentary from Kimi."

    LAP 48

    Fernando Alonso sets the fastest lap of the race as he takes two tenths of a second out of Kimi Raikkonen. Can the Finn respond as he strives to give Lotus their first win in their current guise?

    LAP 47

    Kimi Raikkonen increases his lead at the front to 3.2 seconds with eight laps to go. Further back, Williams are on course for a rare double points finish with Pastor Maldonado fifth and Bruno Senna eighth.

    LAP 46

    Sebastian Vettel is crawling all over the back of Jenson Button in the battle of third at the moment, but the McLaren driver is doing a good job of position his car in middle of corner entries to stop the reigning world champion getting through.

    LAP 45

    It's a strong drive from Kamui Kobayashi in the Sauber who is currently running sixth and chasing Pastor Maldonado in the Williams. The Japanese driver has yet to sign a contract for next year, so a good points haul here is very important.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "I think we're going to have a cracker of an end to his grand prix. Kimi's doing exactly what he needs to do. His reaction to his engineer is interesting. He's worked with Mark Slade and they have a strong working relationship hence the blunt nature of his response but you don't have time for small talk."

    LAP 44

    Sergio Perez has been give a 10-second stop-go penalty for causing a collision and forcing another driver off the track. The Sauber driver, who is currently 13th, has been given the blame for the incident which saw Romain Grosjean and Mark Webber retire.


    Raikkonen leads by 1.9secs ahead of Alonso. Vettel up to 4th. Webber and Grosjean out after contact. Hamilton out following total loss of power. Vettel damages front wing battling his way through field, then narrowly misses a Toro Rosso under the safety car, angrily shouting over the radio. Then has to give back a place to Grosjean after passing him off track. Rosberg has big accident, his car launching over a limping Karthikeyan. Pic out. 1 Raikkonen 2 Alonso 3 Button 4 Vettel 5 Maldonado 6 Kobayashi 7 Massa 8 Schumacher 9 Senna 10 Vergne.

    LAP 43

    The safety car has pulled in and we're back under racing conditions at Yas Marina. Kimi Raikkonen pulls away at the front, with Fernando Alonso holding off Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel. Michael Schumacher's miserable luck continues as he is forced to pit with a puncture. That drops him from seventh to 16th, well out of the points.

    LAP 42

    Kimi Raikkonen's race engineer reminds him to keep warming his tyres ahead of the restart to which the Finn snaps back: "Yes, yes, yes, yes. I'm doing all of that. You don't have to remind me every single time." I, for one, am very pleased the Finn has committed to Lotus and Formula 1 for another season.

    LAP 41

    McLaren tell Jenson Button that Fernando Alonso has struggled on the restart so he should do his best to get close at the restart. Button acknowledges the message but add: "He's very quick in a straight line, very quick."

    LAP 40

    This all seems to be falling into the lap of Sebastian Vettel as the safety car comes out to close up the field. Kimi Raikkonen sees his nine second lead disappear, but he leads from Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button and Vettel.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Mark Webber has had a difficult afternoon. It all just got a bit messy. Perez tried to be sneaky around the outside and he was hit on the rear. You can't turn in when a car is there but I understand the frustration. It was sorted coming out of the corner and he rejoined into the path of Grosjean. It was just clumsy stuff."

    LAP 39

    Perez tries a mover around the outside of Paul di Resta. Di Resta gives him room but is forced onto the grass. Perez runs wide and then just pulls back onto the track. Unfortunately, Romain Grosjean is there. Perez hits the Lotus driver who then collects the Red Bull of Mark Webber. That eliminates Webber and Grosjean, but Perez manages to continue.

    LAP 39

    It's descended into anarchy as Yas Marina as Sergio Perez kicks off a chain of events which causes a right mess.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "The wanted to line Sebastian Vettel to be able to push all the way towards the end of this grand prix, not wounded on the way in. It was enough and he's got the chance on the soft tyres. He's maintained the place."

    LAP 38

    And has I hit return on that last entry, Red Bull tell Sebastian Vettel to box. The stop is not as slick as it should have been. There's a slight problem with the right rear, but he gets away and it's worked beautifully as he rejoins in fourth, ahead of train of cars from fifth to 11th. Great strategy work from the Red Bull team.

    LAP 37

    Fernando Alonso has taken at least three tenths of a second out of Sebastian Vettel on each of the last three laps. The gap is now down to 4.7 seconds and he's taking the McLaren of Jenson Button with him. Expect Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull to have his mirrors full soon.


    Jordan Chara on Twitter: "If Vettel can make these tyres last then he deserves this championship."

    Andrew Yee on Twitter: "Can Vettel really last on these tyres? 36 laps is the limit apparently. Red Bull is nicer on tyres though - this could be exciting."

    Sam McNeil on Twitter: "Proper grand prix, everything that's great about this sport on show today - not sure whether Vettel can hold on to his tyres."

    LAP 36

    Kimi Raikkonen is pulling out a nice gap at the front on those fresh tyres. He's consistently lapping eight tenths quicker than those behind him. Should the Finn go on to win this race, it will be his first since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Sebastian Vettel would love to win this but the real battle is with Fernando Alonso in third and it's vital that he manages that gap to Alonso."

    LAP 35

    Jenson Button is loving this set of prime tyres and is absolutely flying. The McLaren driver is all over the back of Fernando Alonso in third who is six seconds behind his championship contender Sebastian Vettel.

    LAP 34

    So Kimi Raikkonen leads by 1.4 seconds from Sebastian Vettel with Fernando Alonso third, Jenson Button fourth and Jean-Eric Vergne, Romain Grosjean, Paul di Resta, Sergio Perez, Mark Webber and Pastor Maldonado completing the top 10.

    LAP 33

    Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says that the soft tyre could go for as long as 36 laps, but Red Bull are a little better on their tyres so it would be very tight if they do try do 41 laps without stopping. Is it a gamble worth taking?

    LAP 32

    It's an average pit stop from Kimi Raikkonen but the Finn rejoins the track in the lead, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. The only real question now is whether Vettel can get to the end of this race on that set of tyres.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "There were 41 laps to go when Sebastian put on the soft tyres. India was more difficult for the tyres and he went 34 laps there, which was the best, despite the fuel situation at the start of the race. I think there's a pretty good chance he can do it."


    James Townsend on Twitter: "Absolute heartbreak for Hamilton and neither Maldonado or Webber should be penalised for that."

    Alexs Klosok on Twitter: "Worth mentioning that Vettel was a full 33-1 to win the grand prix at the beginning of the day. Not looking like a bad shout now."

    Ben McPhillips on Twitter: "I predicted after Monza that Raikkonen's best chance of victory might be Abu Dhabi. I just never saw this kind of race coming."

    LAP 31

    Webber doesn't make it easy, but then the call comes from the team to pit for a set of hard tyres. Vettel is released and is now up to fourth place. If things stay like this, he'll extend his championship lead over Alonso.

    LAP 30

    "Mark, if Sebastian gets a run, don't fight him," is the radio call to Webber. The two Red Bull drivers are currently fourth and fifth with Vettel all over the back of his team-mate.

    LAP 29

    Lovely stop by Ferrari who service Fernando Alonso and send him out on his way. The Spaniard rejoins in sixth, behind Sebastian Vettel. Remarkable. Should Vettel be able to get to the end of this race on that set of tyres and pick up a huge haul of points, it will go down as one of the great drives of all time.


    Sauber team on Twitter: "#Checo among the fastest out there. strong pace. still with the first set of used soft tyres. #F1"

    Lotus team on Twitter: "Looks like Kimi does know what he's doing #AbuDhabiDoo #F1"

    McLaren on Twitter: "Lewis arrives back in the pitlane. He thanks the engineers on the pitwall before walking into the garage. Today is one that got away..."

    LAP 28

    The stewards will take no further action taken on the incident between Mark Webber and Pastor Maldonado. However they are now looking into the clash between Webber and Felipe Massa.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Earlier in the race I was accusing Kimi Raikkonen of not aggressive enough but he has been incredibly consistent and just seems to be cruising away with this."

    LAP 27

    Felipe Massa pits and tells his team over the radio: "Did you see what he did to me?" In reference to the incident with Mark Webber. The chief beneficiary that contact was Sebastian Vettel who has overtaken Michael Schumacher, too, to rise into seventh.

    LAP 26

    Mark Webber puts a move on Felipe Massa. There's contact and as Webber is forced off track, Massa spins the car as he hits the gas. Nightmare for the Brazilian.


    Raikkonen leads by 6.8secs ahead of Alonso. Hamilton out after losing all power. Webber punted off after trying to overtake Maldonado on the outside. Vettel damages front wing battling his way through the field, then narrowly misses a Toro Rosso under the safety car, angrily shouting over the radio. Then has to give back a place to Grosjean after passing him off track. Rosberg has big accident, his car launching over a limping Karthikeyan. Hulkenberg out. 1 Raikkonen 2 Alonso 3 Button 4 Maldonado 5 Perez 6 Massa 7 Webber 8 Vettel 9 Schumacher 10 Ricciardo.


    Lauren Aspden on Twitter: "Hamilton out again? He'll be pleased to leave McLaren after all these glitches."

    Rebekah Cutter on Twitter: "Sick of seeing McLaren let down Lewis Hamilton as this season has progressed it's clear he has made the right decision to move."

    Mark Duffell on Twitter: "No wonder Hamilton is leaving McLaren. No good having a fast car if it can't reach the finish. Must be fed up."

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Fernando Alonso is now in a position where he will lead the world championship. Sport gives you such highs and such lows. Lewis has been no incredible form this weekend, bouncing around with a spring in his step. McLaren put so much faith in him as a youngster but you can't help but feel it hasn't brought as many race wins and championships as his driving talent deserves. He knows he has driven beautifully this weekend and he knows he was in a class of his own until that point."

    LAP 25

    So Mark Webber finds himself in seventh, three places ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel who is having a remarkable afternoon considering he started from the pit lane. Elsewhere, Sergio Perez passes Felipe Massa for fifth place while Jenson Button keeps his nose clean when he makes a move down the inside of Pastor Maldonado stick.

    LAP 24

    Sensational stuff from Kimi Raikkonen on the radio waves. His Lotus team tell him that he has a five second lead over Fernando Alonso in second. The Finn replies: "Leave me alone I know what I'm doing!"

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Mark Webber had to have a go but in the end you can't go around the outside and expect the car inside to disappear. It looks like it was wheel to wheel and he's lost three or four places with that half spin and he's got to do it all again now. He put himself in a situation, when you're on the outside, you leave yourself open to that. They'll see it two different ways. I don't think it damaged his tyres but it's damaged his chances of getting on the podium this afternoon.

    LAP 23

    Red Bull's day goes from bad to worse. Mark Webber tries a move around the outside of Pastor Maldonado, but he doesn't get far enough in front. The two make contact and Webber spins round. The Australian keeps his engine running but has lost a stack of places.

    LAP 22

    Yep, Kimi Raikkonen - the man everyone has pretty much forgotten is still in the championship hunt - is leading the grand prix. The 2007 world champion, who took his title by coming out of the bushes with two races to go, has a five second lead over Fernando Alonso who has pulled off a brilliant move on Pastor Maldonado for the lead. Wow, there's hardly time to catch a breath in this race.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    " It's bitter disappointment for McLaren and could this be the moment for Raikkonen after his great comeback this season?"

    LAP 21

    Unbelievable, just unbelievable. That is the second time in six races that Hamilton has retired from the lead of a grand prix. The team tell him they have lost all power. The Briton shakes his head in disbelief as he pulls off the track.

    LAP 20


    LAP 20

    It's a new fastest lap for Lewis Hamilton who increases his lead to 3.4 second over Kimi Raikkonen in second. Sebastian Vettel's charge continues as he passes Jean-Eric Vergne for 14th.

    LAP 19

    Fernando Alonso has found some pace and put some clear air between himself and Mark Webber. As a result, he has also closed on the Williams of Pastor Maldonado in third place. Further back, Heikki Kovalainen is having a stunning race for Caterham. He's up to 12th overall, just five seconds and two places off a point.

    LAP 18

    Sebastian Vettel has been told let Romain Grosjean past to avoid a penalty. He does so and then passes the Frenchman again a few corners later. Crikey, the German is having to work hard today.

    LAP 17

    Lotus tell Romain Grosjean that they will talk to race director Charlie Whiting. I presume they are not happy about Vettel's move on the Frenchman. Vettel crossed a white line, and went onto the blue part of the track, but there are two white lines, so it will be up to the stewards to decide which one defines the race track.

    LAP 16

    Lewis Hamilton gets straight down to business and sets the fastest lap of the race to pull out a 1.6 second lead over Kimi Raikkonen. Sebastian Vettel has made up two places, passing Paul di Resta and a HRT. The German puts a move on Grosjean at the end of the long straight, but the Frenchman fights back and retakes the position. Vettel won't give up through and slots down the inside at the next corner. This time, there's no way back for Grosjean.


    Force India Team on Twitter: "Tough start to #AbuDhabi GP. @NicoHulkenberg out of the race after a crash at turn one and @pauldirestaf1 picked up a right rear puncture."

    LAP 15

    Lewis Hamilton backs the entire field up, as the safety car peels in, and then puts the hammer down, accelerating out of the final corner to put clear air between him and Kimi Raikkonen. Fernando Alonso makes a bit of a mess of it, though. He gets a snap of understeer out of the final corner which allows Mark Webber to pull alongside down the start-finish straight. Alonso defends boldly in the next two corners and retains the pace. Good driving from both.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "It's very difficult for Sebastian Vettel now because he has to go on to soft to try to see what will happen. Will be a struggle to get 41 laps out of those tyres. Everything they've done has been taken away. They'll be disappointed with whoever that Toro Rosso driver was."

    LAP 14

    It's the call Vettel was hoping to avoid. Red Bull tell him to pit for a nose change. It's a good stop, but the German will need to try to get to the end of this race on the soft tyre. Vettel rejoins the field 21st and last.

    LAP 13

    Is Sebastian Vettel cracking under the pressure? The reigning world champion gets caught out by a braking Toro Rosso in front of him and has to take avoiding action, swerving into a polystyrene speed board at the start of the track and narrowly avoiding the Armco barrier. The German gets on the radio to voice his frustration at the Toro Rosso driver who is slowing and accelerating in an attempt to keep heat in the tyres. Bad news for Vettel is that his front wing is now even more damaged.

    LAP 12

    Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey is in the garage and examining a Red Bull front wing. He needs to assess how serious the damage is and whether it's worth changing the wing. It takes around 10 to 12 seconds to change a front wing.

    LAP 11

    Red Bull tell Sebastian Vettel that they are not worried about the front wing damage. That'll music to the ears of the German. The reigning world champion is in 12th, after the Toro Rosso of Jean Eric Vergne pitted during this safety car period.


    Andrew Yee on Twitter: "Wow! What a crash, Rosberg jumped over Karthikeyan's car! Luckily it was well over Karthikeyan head! #BBCF1"

    Yvonne on Twitter: "Good to see Rosberg is ok though #BBCF1 able to walk away from that crash :)"

    Ben McPhillips on Twitter: "That was such a strange incident. Rosberg looked like he was following the HRT rather than the road. Karthikeyan was way off line #bbcf1 #f1"

    LAP 10

    There's so much debris down at Turn 15, so we could be under safety car conditions for a while. Lewis Hamilton leads the field from Kimi Raikkonen, Pastor Maldonado, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Jenson Button.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "This could be good news for Kimi Raikkonen. If the Lotus is able to get a bit more heat early in this running behind the safety car that has to be his chance to pounce. We know that McLaren have the faster car so Kimi has to hound Hamilton on the first lap."


    Sauber Team on Twitter: "Heavy incident between ROS and KAR. This SC does not play in our hands - too early. both will stay out. no pit stops. #F1"


    Wow. Rosberg launched his Mercedes off the back of the HRT of Karthikeyan as the Mercedes as he misjudged how early the Indian driver would brake for the corner. There was smoke coming from the back of Karthikeyan's car so that might explain why he was slowing. The closing speed between the two cars was frightening. It was a huge crash - similar to when Schumacher hit Coulthard in the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix - and both drivers are lucky to walk away without injury. Out comes the safety car.


    There's a huge accident at Turn 15. Nico Rosberg finds himself in the barriers while Narain Karthikeyan's HRT is pointing the wrong way.


    Nico Hulkenberg on his early exit: "I think I just had quite a bad start bad run into turn one and got sandwiched and I was halfway between the cars and there was no way out and there was contact."


    Sebastian Vettel is told by his team that he's showing good pace. Moments larer, the Red Bull driver puts a move on Heikki Kovalainen for P13. Points are certainly on the cards.

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "It's pretty good pace. The times are coming down lap by lap and the tyres are hanging in there. Vettel's doing a good job, he will be happy with 14th. There was a bit of front wing damage that will mean less down force but it's nothing too critical and he's just got to keep pushing on."


    Both the Saubers have made their way into the top 10 with Sergio Perez in eighth and Kamui Kobayashi ninth. Michael Schumacher has made four places to climb into 10th, but he's painfully slow and is backing up those behind him. That'll be good news for Sebastian Vettel who is closing on Heikki Kovalainen in 13th.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "A bit of strategy info for you. It's looking like an easy one-stop race. Rivals believe Lewis Hamilton will win it if he finishes - he's been in a league of his own. Tyre degradation is very low - almost non-existent with the 'medium' tyre, and only 0.02secs a lap on the 'soft'. Starting on the hard tyre might give a small advantage for those outside the top 10, if you are quicker than the cars around you (ie, Vettel). A pit stop costs about 21 seconds in all. Tyre stops should be around lap 22 for those starting on the soft and lap 33 for those starting on the hard."


    Replays show that Sebastian Vettel hit Bruno Senna on the first lap which broke off a part of his front wing at the start. We also saw Romain Grosjean and Nico Rosberg making contact, which would account for the former's puncture and the latter's broken front wing. Lewis Hamilton's lead is up to 2.5 seconds over Kimi Raikkonen.


    Lewis Hamilton looks to have got heat into those tyres as he clocks the fastest lap of the race to extend his lead over Kimi Raikkonen to 2.3 seconds. Further back, Sebastian Vettel puts a move on Vitaly Petrov down the long straight and then picks off Timo Glock in the next corner. That's P14 for the Red Bull driver. He's coming.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Although the title fight has realistically distilled down to a battle between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen is still mathematically in it, too. The Finn, who starts fourth following Vettel's penalty, knows he has no realistic chance of becoming world champion for the second time, but he is still looking for some big results - and he scents one this weekend. He believes if he can get past Pastor Maldonado's Williams at the start, he might be able to 'do something about' Mark Webber's Red Bull in front of him. His frustration is Lotus's relatively poor straight-line speed - which is less of an issue against the similarly Renault-engined Red Bull."


    Sebastian Vettel reports that he's got damage on the front wing. His team confirm that they can see some damage, but it is up to him if he wants to pit. The German is making decent progress and is up to 16th, though many of those places are thanks to the first corner carnage. Replays show the Force Indias coming together and sparking a chain of bumper cars.


    There was contact between the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg and Bruno Senna at the start, and it looks like Paul di Resta, Romain Grosjean and Nico Rosberg also have damage as they are heading to the pits. Meanwhile, up front, Lewis Hamilton reports that he has got cold tyres as Kimi Raikkonen tries a bold move around the outside of the McLaren driver. It doesn't pay off, though, and Hamilton retains the lead.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "It was great strategic driving from Alonso because Webber had to get defensive. Raikkonen seems a bit tentative which has served him well in terms of placing but in terms of trying to get that victory he has to go for it."


    Crikey, it's all kicking off here. Fernando Alonso sucks his Ferrari onto the back of the Red Bull of Mark Webber and tries a bold move around the outside on the exit of Turn eight. Webber defends boldly, but Alonso refuses to lift off and drives around the outside into Turn Nine. Wow.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Mark Webber is under pressure now from Alonso. He didn't make a great start either and it was another tardy get away from the Red Bull."

  151. 1304: 
    GO! GO! GO!

    It's a brilliant start from Lewis Hamilton who blasts away from pole position, but it's a dismal start from Mark Webber in the Red Bull and he gets swallowed up by the field behind him. Kimi Raikkonen has a brilliant start, passing both Webber and Maldonado into Turn One.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Sebastian Vettel's penalty promotes Williams driver Pastor Maldonado to third on the grid, after another one of those blinding qualifying laps that the Venezuelan pulls out of the bag from time to time. But his position will make for some nervous drivers at the front of the grid. Maldonado has been involved in a number of incidents this season, and has only scored points in three of the 17 races. His team have made it abundantly clear they expect a result in Abu Dhabi. 'We all know what is at stake,' said chief operations engineer Mark Gillan.'Pastor knows, we all know, it's important that we get good points.' No pressure, then. The question is, how will Maldonado respond to it?"


    Joe Sturdy on Twitter: "The Ferrari front wing looks like a nice bit of sculpture... Would almost say 'beautiful'."

    Ian Such on Twitter: "Big race ahead, Lewis has the race to lose. Vettel will be hoping for a few retirees to bump up the field."

  154. 1302: 

    Lewis Hamilton lines up in P1 where he must wait until the rest of the grid line up in their grid slots. Don't forget Sebastian Vettel, and now Pedro de la Rosa, will be starting from the pit lane. They must wait until the entire field filter through Turn One.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Although Mark Webber is still mathematically able to win the title, it would require him to win all the remaining races and Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso not to score in any of them. So if Vettel is close behind Webber at any point in the race, expect a 'phone call' from the pits ordering the Australian to move over. Team boss Christian Horner did not explicitly say that would happen this weekend, but it was pretty clear in between the lines. Horner talked of Webber being a 'big team player - I am quite convinced that he will want to see the team achieve its best possible results. I am sure as a team player (that word again), if required, he will do everything to support the team.' Horner added: 'His primary objective is to make sure we achieve the constructors' championship and for us that we have got both drivers ahead of Fernando.' The big question is what happens if Webber is leading. The Australian has made it clear many times in the past that a win is a different matter and that in that situation he 'won't move over for anyone'."

  156. 1259: 

    The cars pull away from the grid, but Pedro de la Rosa isn't going anywhere. It seems that a tyre blanket has got jammed in the tyre so the HRT driver has no choice but it sit there and wait for the grid to clear. The team then push him into the pit lane so he can't start from the pits, behind Sebastian Vettel.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Arguably Ferrari's biggest problem this year has been that the updates they produce for the car do not work on the track as well as the team's wind tunnel says they should. Or in some cases, they have not worked at all. This had led to Ferrari abandoning upgrades at some races. That did not happen in Abu Dhabi this weekend, but still there have been problems, as Fernando Alonso's team-mate Felipe Massa explains: 'The new configuration is definitely a bit better. We have a new front wing which is definitely exactly what it is supposed to be on his car, and he has a new rear wing which is a little bit less than half of what it is supposed to give. So if we bring the pieces and they are on the car that is positive. But for sure when you see that it is supposed to give one thing and it is giving half, then it is still not 100% great. Maybe it is not very, very positive, but it is positive.'"

  158. 1257: 

    Along with live TV coverage of the race above, desktop users get On Board,Driver Tracker and Live Pitlane cameras, as well as Alternative Commentary (from 5 live) plus Live Timing. You might want to keep more of an eye on the pit lane camera than usual for this one, as Sebastian Vettel begins his quest for a famous recovery drive.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Performance-wise, this has been a depressing weekend for Fernando Alonso and Ferrari. They took a number of car upgrades to Abu Dhabi and they all worked - but still Alonso could qualify only seventh, nearly a second off pole position. Alonso did three laps on the 'soft' tyre in qualfying, all in one minute 41.5, which he said proved he had got the absolute maximum out of the car. 'I am pleased with the work we have done, because we squeezed every last drop of performance out of the car,' Alonso said. 'The updates we brought here have improved our performance but the others have not been relaxing on the sofa watching television while twiddling their thumbs...' The problem was that the layout of the Abu Dhabi track favours a car with strong traction - and poor traction has been probably the Ferrari's biggest weakness all season."

  160. 1255: 

    This is your five-minute warning. Get yourself a fresh cuppa and put the finishing touches to your lunch because we're about to get going in what could be the most exciting race we've ever seen in Abu Dhabi. Bernie Ecclestone bends downs to give Sebastian Vettel a few words of encouragement as the reigning world champion sits in his Red Bull all alone in the pit lane.

  161. 1252: 

    It's been a while since we've seen a celeb in the paddock, but Eddie Jordan has just cornered a good one. London 2012 gold medallist Jessica Ennis is enjoying the delights of Abu Dhabi this weekend but she's too polite to pick a favourite driver. "It's my first time here so I'm just soaking up the atmosphere. I can't say who my favourite is out of Jenson and Lewis but I got to sit in Jenson's car earlier and that was an amazing experience."

  162. 1248: 

    Four-time world champion Alain Prost recently tested a modern day Red Bull and gives his thoughts on how the F1 car has changed. "Last year, I drove the Renault from 1983 and I remembered how hard it was to drive. I said to myself "How could I drive that car?" Now the car is nice and easy to drive because everything works perfectly but when it looks easy, it is much more difficult to find the last two or three tenths."

  163. 1245: 

    Only 15 minutes until the race start, so here's a quick reminder of the grid...

    1) Hamilton 2) Webber 3) Maldonado 4) Raikkonen 5) Button 6) Alonso 7) Rosberg 8) Massa 9) Grosjean 10) Hulkenberg

    11) Perez 12) Di Resta 13) Schumacher 14) Senna 15) Kobayashi 16) Ricciardo 17) Vergne

    18) Kovalainen 19) Pic 20) Petrov 21) Glock 22) De la Rosa 23) Karthikeyan

    Pit lane) Vettel

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "While there has been no doubt that Lewis Hamilton has been the quickest McLaren driver all weekend, Jenson Button was not that far behind him in most sessions, even if it tended to take him longer to get up to speed than it did Hamilton. But come qualifying Button was nowhere, and he ended up sixth fastest, 0.63 seconds slower than his team-mate. 'All weekend the car has been pretty good,' said Button, who starts fifth after Vettel's penalty, 'and the pace has been there but in qualifying I just didn't have the lap time. I don't know (why). The car is quick; Lewis is on pole by quite a bit. I don't know where it's gone. We just about got into Q3 as well. On both types of tyres I just didn't have the balance.' Button complained of 'understeer on turn-in, traction very poor, locking up fronts and rears.' A basic lack of grip, in other words. Had his problem from earlier in the year of not getting enough heat into the tyres returned?"


    Pastor Maldonado, who starts third on the grid: "It's been difficult to get to the top again but we've been working hard in the team. We found the problems and here we are so I'm happy for the team. We are pushing so hard and we hope to maintain this pace until the end of the season. We need to have a good start and then pay attention to what's happening around us with strategy. We showed the pace on Friday and we'll be competitive."

  166. 1240: 

    David Coulthard has headed onto the grid to begin his grid walk. Red Bull's Mark Webber, who starts second, says his aim is to get a clean start and then focus on creating a gap to those behind to prevent rivals using the DRS to overtake.

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "Fernando Alonso is the coolest man on the planet, there's no better person to take this situation. He knows what he has to do, maximise the number of points because he doesn't have the speed of Red Bull. He has to make it pay and walk away with the advantage in the championship this evening."

  168. 1237: 

    The pit lane is open which means it's time for the cars to leave the comfort of their garage and head out onto the grid. Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, is in the paddock, with his headphones on and tunes blaring. The German needs to get in the zone because he's got a job on his hand this afternoon as he prepares to start from the pit lane.


    McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who starts on pole: "We don't know why the car is working so well here but we've done everything to be competitive and I hope the race reflects the same performance."

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Lewis Hamilton says he will take no account of the title battle going on between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso during Sunday's race. 'I have no focuses or concerns about the championship,' he said. 'I have promised (McLaren boss) Martin (Whitmarsh) and the team I'll push as hard as I can t get them as high in the constructors' championship as I can. And that's what I'm going to do. If there is anywhere we're going to win in the last three races it's going to be here.'"


    Red Bull's Mark Webber, who has not led a race since the British Grand Prix is July: "I'm looking forward to the race. It's always a good atmosphere here and there's added interest with Sebastian Vettel coming from the back. I'm looking forward to having a good race."

    BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan

    "Sebastian Vettel's penalty has given Ferrari a lifeline. For me this was yet another possible win for Vettel which would have been the final curtain for Ferrari. I still believe Fernando Alonso can make the podium and I think eighth is the best Vettel can get."

  173. 1232: 

    I've been pondering Lawro's Podium Predictions all morning and have come to the conclusion Mark Webber is going to take victory for Red Bull here, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus. Do you agree or disagree? Let us know using the #bbcf1 hashtag on Twitter or by texting 81111 (UK only).


    Lew on Twitter: "I get excited and look forward to the start of every grand prix, but this one even more so!"

    Ijaz on Twitter: "Today's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will determine whether Sebastian Vettel is an extraordinary racer or a pretty good one."

    Paul on Twitter: "The last few races have being about damaged limitation for Alonso, today he must take his chance."

  175. 1227: 

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard has headed to Silverstone with Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey to take a Red Bull and a 1990 Leyton House out for a spin. Poor old Adrian stalls the Red Bull as he waits for the green light at the end of the pit lane.

    BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard

    "Fernando Alonso is 13 points behind Sebastian Vettel in the championship and he would like to come out of this weekend leading the championship again because it changes the way you approach the final two grands prix. He has been able to race well so we can expect Ferrari to be focused on getting him on the podium and getting a decent haul of points."

  177. 1223: 

    The 2012 roll of honour:

    Australia - Jenson Button (McLaren) Malaysia - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) China - Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) Bahrain - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) Spain - Pastor Maldonado (Williams) Monaco - Mark Webber (Red Bull) Canada - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) Europe - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) Britain - Mark Webber (Red Bull) Germany - Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) Hungary - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) Belgium - Jenson Button (McLaren) Italy - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) Singapore - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) Japan - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) India - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)


    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner: "The plan is just to go flat out, go past as many cars as we can and see where we are at the end of the race. It will probably be a one-stop race but we've got Mark on the front row, pushing for a win and hopefully giving Lewis a hard time.

    "Sebastian has just got to go for it and if try and get a point or two. If he can salvage something, that would be remarkable. It will be tough for him to get a point here. To get anywhere near the points today would be a big result."

  179. 1219: 

    Red Bull boss Christian Horner says he thinks it will be tough for Sebastian Vettel to score points. By starting in the pit lane, Vettel will at least miss any Turn One carnage but he'll be a long way back to start with as he'll have to wait until the entire field files through the first apex.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Starting at the front is half the battle in Formula 1 - by far the majority of the races this year have been won from the front row - but Lewis Hamilton knows there is a lot of work still to do. In particular, his starts have not been great in recent races. ' It's going to be tough,' Hamilton said. 'Our starts have been really bad. There is nothing I can really do. It's the clutch underperforming that gets us a bad start. If that's not a problem, then staying ahead is going to be tough. But you've got double DRS zones here. I'm going to give it everything. I really want to finish on a high with this team and to get a pole in the end is a great feeling.'"

  181. 1216: 

    1. Red Bull 407

    2. Ferrari 316

    3. McLaren 306

    4. Lotus 263

    5. Mercedes 136

    6. Sauber 116

  182. 1214: 

    1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 240

    2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 227

    3. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 173

    4. Mark Webber (Red Bull) 167

    5. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 165

    6. Jenson Button (McLaren) 141

  183. 1212: 

    Jake, DC and EJ are sat in the middle of the desert discussing how the world championship battle is not over. "Just remember 2007 when Kimi Raikkonen came back from 17 points down with two races remaining (with 20 points available) to win the championship," said BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard. Talking of the standings, here's how they, er, stand...


    Infostrada Sport on Twitter: "Sebastian Vettel's biggest career improvement from the starting grid is 14 places (from 19th to 5th place finish in 2008 Monaco GP)."

  185. 1210: 

    Ah, the sound of the The Chain rings out on BBC One. Let's get this pre-race show on the road...

  186. 1207: 

    While the drivers' title can't be won this weekend, Red Bull can get their mitts on the constructors' trophy. All they need to do is score more points than Ferrari and McLaren. Should they do so, they will become only the fourth team in F1 history to win three in a row. Ferrari did so between 1975-77, McLaren 1988-91 and Williams 1992-94.


    Jamie Thomas on Twitter: "I am absolutely buzzing for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix later! Got a feeling it will be a classic!"

  188. 1204: 

    Even if Lewis Hamilton doesn't win today, providing he or Jenson Button finish in the points, McLaren will set a new record for the most consecutive number of races in the points. They are currently level with rivals Ferrari on 55 races.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Lewis Hamilton has looked fantastic out on the Yas Marina track all weekend, and he converted that form into his first pole position in four races. He admitted that he was surprised to beat the Red Bulls, especially as McLaren have no significant upgrades for this race, but said: 'The car has felt great all weekend. The guys have done a great job, the set-up came together and I love this track, the whole atmosphere, the vibe and I have my family here, they bring me 0.3secs.' He said he was 'so happy' with his pole lap: 'Q3 is my favourite of the weekend. It is the most intense. I don't know if people fully appreciate you have that one out lap to get everything perfect and then that one lap to get everything perfect. When you do it it's a phenomenal feeling. It's just insane.'"

  190. 1201: 

    Sebastian Vettel's car failure in qualifying overshadowed what had been a remarkable performance from Britain's Lewis Hamilton. The 2008 world champion, who is quitting McLaren for Mercedes next season, loves this track and has been on it all weekend. So when it came to the top 10 shoot-out, Hamilton made no mistake to take his sixth pole of the season and 25th of his career.

  191. 1158: 

    While the track has failed to deliver any thrilling racing since its debut in 2009, the venue itself ticks all the right boxes. Money was seemingly no object when the man-made Yas Marina Island was built to host the first ever twilight grand prix.

    It boasts the world's largest permanent sporting facility lighting system which allows the race to start in daylight and end in darkness. And all this is set against the backdrop of the iconic 499-room Yas Hotel which straddles the track and uses 5,389 pivoting LED panes to produce a spectacular sparkling light show.

    Next door, you'll find Ferrari World, an indoor amusement park which houses the Formula Rossa, a roller-coaster that can achieve a top speed of 240kph.

  192. 1155: 

    Sebastian Vettel has led every racing lap (204 in total) since he took over the lead from Lewis Hamilton in the Singapore Grand Prix back in September but it'll take an almighty performance from the German to start from the pit lane and pass 23 cars on on the first lap.

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Rival teams are not convinced that changing Sebastian Vettel's set-up will help him that much. They say that the difference between a pure race set-up and a qualifying one is not that great these days, although there might be some small anti-roll bar changes a little to help tyre wear. In any case, the Red Bull is designed to work in the way the team run it - with short, punchy gear ratios and lots of downforce. And changing it to have longer ones and less downfroce, rivals believe, will only make it slower in terms of overall lap time, even if it's faster on the straight."

    BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson

    "Red Bull's decision to take Sebastian Vettel's car out of parc ferme means they can give him a pure race set-up, rather than one that is compromised by having to get the best out of the car on one qualifying lap. So it will be interesting how much of an off-set - or advantage - that gives him over team-mate Mark Webber in the race. As for their tyre strategy, they can choose whether to start on the 'medium' or 'soft' tyre. I don't think it's a massive difference. But they will be taking into account that his lap times will be compromised early in the race by trying to pass people, so they may start him on the 'medium' so he has the 'soft' at the end when he will potentially be racing with quick cars that have started on the 'soft' but by then will be on the 'medium'. On the other hand, he could start on the 'soft' and then if there is an early safety car, pit for the 'medium' and hope to go the rest of the race on it. They might well not last, but if he had to come in with 10 laps to go and change tyres, he wouldn't lose that much overall."

  195. 1152: 

    Venue: Yas Marina Laps: 55 Circuit length: 5.554km Race distance: 305.355km Number of corners: 21 (12 left and 9 right) Average lap speed: 190kph Full throttle per lap: 82% Safety cars in last two years: 1 Lap record: 1:42.612 (Mark Webber, 2011)

  196. 1148: 

    So here's the plan for today. Jake, EJ and DC will hit your screens at 1210 GMT on BBC One and BBC One HD as well as in the video console at the top of this live text page. We'll then hear from all the big-hitters before the lights go out at Yas Marina at 1300.

  197. 1145: 

    The 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

    1) Hamilton 2) Webber 3) Maldonado 4) Raikkonen 5) Button 6) Alonso 7) Rosberg 8) Massa 9) Grosjean 10) Hulkenberg

    11) Perez 12) Di Resta 13) Schumacher 14) Senna 15) Kobayashi 16) Ricciardo 17) Vergne

    18) Kovalainen 19) Pic 20) Petrov 21) Glock 22) De la Rosa 23) Karthikeyan 24) Vettel*

    *Sebastian Vettel qualified third but was excluded from qualifying and will start from the pit lane

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "The decision to exclude Sebastian Vettel means this race could potentially be the first exciting grand prix ever held at the Yas Marina circuit. The story is how far can both Vettel and Alonso progress from their respective starting positions, and how close can the Red Bull driver get to the Ferrari? Their situations are very different. Vettel has a fast car but poor straight-line speed, at least in qualifying. Red Bull are starting him from the pit lane and they have changed the gearbox, gear ratios and suspension set-up, presumably to make the car faster in a straight-line so overtaking will be easier. Although it does mean he will go into the race with an unknown car. Alonso, meanwhile, is fast in a straight line but the Ferrari has struggled for pace this weekend. But he is always stronger in the race than in qualifying. It's set up beautifully."


    Fernando Alonso, who starts sixth: "It was a strange Saturday for sure, waiting for what would be the starting grid order. In the end, it doesn't change too much for our race. We always try to do 100%. A podium would be a nice award for our weekend because we've been so slow. If we can overtake three cars, it will be a dream but it will be tough."


    Sebastian Vettel, who qualified third but starts from the pit lane: "It's simple. We start last and the chance is there to still have a good race. It was rubbish for us, we were in a good [starting] slot but there's no reason to look back. Today is a new day, the sun is up. There's no reason to be stupid, we have a good car with good pace and hopefully we can use that to make up some places. Some changes have been made to the car to make overtaking a little easier in DRS range. We'll see if that works out."

  201. 1141: 

    The drivers' parade has begun at Yas Marina, with the 24 drivers piling onto the back of a lorry for a tour of the 5.554km track. It's a good chance for the drivers to give the fans a little wave and their thoughts on the 55 lap race ahead. Here's what the two main title contenders Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso had to say...

    BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer Andrew Benson

    "Formula 1's capacity to surprise rarely disappoints and this weekend in Abu Dhabi has been no different. Just when it looked like Sebastian Vettel was cruising to a third consecutive world title in a Red Bull that was suddenly on a different planet from the rest of the field, his team - almost flawless for nearly two years - have a shaky weekend that culminated in what appears to be a terrible error. Vettel's car stopped out on the track at the end of qualifying, there was less fuel in it than the regulations demand, and he has been thrown to the back of the grid. It gives Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, his title rival, a golden opportunity to close his 13-point deficit to Vettel in the championship, despite qualifying only seventh. And it sets up a potentially fantastic race. Amazing."

  203. 1137: 

    Welcome, one and all, to our live coverage of what I fully expect to be the most exciting Abu Dhabi Grand Prix we've ever seen. The first three editions have failed to thrill despite the track's glamourous location on the man-made Yas Island. But the stewards' intervention late last night has given us all hope that we could see a stonking race which could keep the title battle alive until the final race of the season at the iconic Interlagos in Brazil.

  204. 1134: 

    For the neutral - and indeed Ferrari and Fernando Alonso - it was the perfect scenario. The Spaniard, who at one time had a 40-point lead but arrived in Abu Dhabi with a 13-point deficit, found himself sixth in a car that has struggled all weekend. His main title rival Sebastian Vettel starts from the pit lane and will face a real battle to salvage any points. For Vettel and Red Bull it was a catastrophic development which could derail their championship bid at the most crucial of moments.

  205. 1130: 

    Sebastian Vettel's relentless rampage towards his third Formula 1 World Championship ran out of gas in the most extraordinary of circumstances on Saturday. The reigning world champion, winner of the last four races, crossed the line to qualify third - four places ahead of main rival Fernando Alonso - but was told by his Red Bull team to stop immediately.

    Four hours and 45 minutes later, after much chit chat between the stewards, Red Bull and their engine partner Renault, it was announced that the German has been excluded from qualifying as he did not have required amount of fuel left in his tank to be tested by officials. The result was that Vettel got sent to the back of the grid - but will start from the pit lane (our chief F1 writer Andrew Benson will explain why later) - while Alonso gets promoted to sixth place.

Formula 1 World Championship 2014

Position Driver Team Pts
1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes 384
2 Germany N Rosberg Mercedes 317
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull 238
4 Finland V Bottas Williams 186
5 Germany S Vettel Red Bull 167
6 Spain F Alonso Ferrari 161
7 Brazil F Massa Williams 134
8 Great Britain J Button McLaren 126
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India 96
10 Mexico S Perez Force India 59
11 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren 55
12 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari 55
13 France J Vergne Toro Rosso 22
14 France R Grosjean Lotus 8
15 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso 8
16 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus 2
18 Germany A Sutil Sauber 0
20 Mexico E Gutierrez Sauber 0
22 Japan K Kobayashi Caterham 0
23 W Stevens Caterham 0


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham