For the first time since the 2009 season Kimi Raikkonen found himself celebrating at the top of the podium after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday. The win comes the week of the announcement that he would be staying at Lotus for the 2013 season.
Raikkonen, the 2007 champion, started fourth on the grid and was able to take second on the opening lap and then took the lead on lap 20 of 55 when polesitter Lewis Hamilton retired because of an electrical issue on his McLaren. From there Raikkonen would lead to the finish.
"I'm very happy for the team and myself but mainly for the team," said Raikkonen. "It's been a hard season for the team. Hopefully, this gives us more belief, not just for those who are doing the work but those who run the team."
For the Lotus driver, who is third in the championship standings, 57 points back with two races left, it was a sure confidence boost as he held off both Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, the top two drivers in the points.
Vettel had to start from the pits after fuel irregularities were found after qualifying. Amazingly Vettel survived six crashes on the track and was able to come away with a third place finish. Alonso, who started sixth, brought his Ferrari home in second and he was able to gain three points on Vettel. He now trails Vettel by 10 championship points with two races left.
"I said to myself either we go full attack or nothing," Vettel said. "That is what we did. We had a fantastic race. It was nice fight with Jenson (Button). He was difficult to pass. With him, I was really struggling. I just squeezed my way past. It was thrilling grand prix up and down all the time."
Vettel moved up quickly early but had to pit after he clipped Bruno Senna and needed to get a new front wing. Later Vettel went off the track to pass Romain Grosjean and and then hit Felipe Massa, causing Massa's car to spin. Through all of that action Vettel was in fourth and able to pass Button with three laps to go.
Button took fourth with Pastor Maldonado fifth, Kamui Kobayashi sixth, Massa seventh, Senna eighth, Paul di Resta ninth and Daniel Ricciardo in the last points position in tenth.
The action for the Formula One Series continues in two weeks for race 19 of 20 at the new Circuit of the Americas for the United States Grand Prix on November 18.
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