Formula One

 
           === Raikkonen wins Abu Dhabi GP, Vettel finishes third ===
 
 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (Sports Network) - Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen
 won a Formula One race for the first time in three years after taking Sunday's
 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in dramatic fashion.
 
 Raikkonen,  the 2007  F1  world champion,  grabbed  the lead  on  lap 20  when
 McLaren's  Lewis  Hamilton, the pole sitter,  stalled on the track and retired
 from  the event due to a reliability issue. The Finn then ran in front for the
 remainder of the 55-lap race at the 3.451-mile Yas Marina Circuit. He held off
 Fernando  Alonso from  Ferrari at the finish  by 0.8 seconds for his first win
 since  the 2009 Belgian  Grand Prix. It was also Lotus' first F1 victory since
 the 1987 United States Grand Prix in Detroit.
 
 Raikkonen  left Ferrari at  the end of the '09 season and then competed in the
 World Rally Championship as well as a handful of NASCAR Nationwide and Camping
 World  Truck Series races  for the next two years before joining Lotus for the
 2012 season.
 
 "I'm  very happy for the team and for myself," said Raikkonen, who notched his
 19th  career F1 win.  "Perhaps we were not the fastest at the end, but we were
 quick  enough and consistent  enough to win, so it's great for the team. We've
 had  some difficult races  in the second half of the season, so it's fantastic
 to come back with a win."
 
 Raikkonen  became  the eighth different  winner in F1  this year, which is the
 most in a season since 2003.
 
 Two-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel made an amazing comeback to
 finish  third after  he had to start from  the rear of the field. The Red Bull
 driver  qualified third  on Saturday, but he was later disqualified after race
 stewards determined there wasn't enough fuel in his car to provide a one-liter
 sample  in post-qualifying scrutineering, as required by the sport's technical
 regulations.
 
 "It was a good race for us today," Vettel said. "To finish third on the podium
 is just fantastic."
 
 Vettel  made  contact with  Williams' Bruno  Senna and  damaged his front wing
 during  the opening laps. He sustained more damage to the wing when he clipped
 a DRS marker board on the side of the track while trying to avoid contact with
 Daniel  Ricciardo's Toro  Rosso when Ricciardo was braking. A subsequent early
 pit stop for a new nose and wing dropped the German back to 21st.
 
 "It  was the worst time to have to pit from P13 and start again at the back of
 the  field, and then  I had to do it all over again, passing everyone from the
 back," Vettel noted.
 
 Alonso  finished second and trimmed Vettel's lead from 13 points to 10, as two
 races remain -- Austin, Texas (Nov. 18) and Brazil (Nov. 25).
 
 "In  the last  couple of laps, Kimi  was a little bit slower, so we attacked,"
 Alonso said. "But second, I think, was the maximum today, starting sixth. So a
 perfect Sunday again for us, and we kept fighting until the end."
 
 Jenson  Button from McLaren was running in third until Vettel overtook him for
 the  position with  three laps remaining. Button settled for fourth. William's
 Pastor Maldonado completed the top-five.
 
 Kamui  Kobayashi  from Sauber  finished sixth,  followed by Alonso's teammate,
 Felipe  Massa,  and Senna. Paul  di Resta from  Force India and Ricciardo were
 ninth and 10th, respectively.
 
 The race in Abu Dhabi featured several accidents, including two which required
 the  deployment of  the safety car. A spectacular crash involving Nico Rosberg
 and Narain Karthikeyan occurred on the ninth lap.
 
 When  Karthikeyan's HRT car  slowed on the track and had smoke coming from the
 rear,  Rosberg's Mercedes slammed into the back of Karthikeyan and then sailed
 right  over him before crashing hard into the barrier in turn 16. Both drivers
 walked away from the wreck unscathed.
 
 "Narain  told  me that  his steering  broke, and  he needed  to brake, which I
 didn't expect in that high-speed corner," Rosberg said. "There was no time for
 me  to  react, and  I'm very  thankful that  we are  both fine.  I went to the
 medical center for a precautionary check, but everything is good."
 
 The  second  deployment came  on lap  39 when Romain  Grosjean from Lotus made
 contact  with  Sauber's Sergio Perez, who  then collected Mark Webber from Red
 Bull. Grosjean and Webber were forced to retire, while Perez managed to finish
 the race in 15th.
 
 Vettel and Alonso are now the only drivers who remain in contention to win the
 championship.  Despite  his  victory  in  the  Abu  Dhabi  GP,  Raikkonen  was
 eliminated from the title race, as he trails Vettel by 57 points.
 
 Webber  and  Hamilton are also  out of contention following their retirements.
 Hamilton,  who won last  year's Abu Dhabi GP, was quickest in two of the three
 practice sessions and was fastest in qualifying to claim his sixth pole of the
 season.
 
 "I'm  gutted," a  disappointed  Hamilton said.  "I had  really  good pace  all
 weekend,  and  I feel certain we  could have won  today. I had a fuel pressure
 problem,  and  it was very sudden.  I was just  entering a corner, and the car
 just died on me."
 
 Webber is 88 points behind his teammate, Vettel, while Hamilton trails by 90.
 
 11/04 13:49:25 ET

Powered by The Sports Network.