IMAGE : The whole McLaren team celebrates their win in Abu Dhabi.
Racing in the Yas Marina is over, but there is still much to talk about before the season finale in Sao Paolo, Brazil. As we pack up and leave Abu Dhabi and head to Brazil, there is plenty of time to reflect on the eventful race in Abu Dhabi. A win came out of nowhere for McLaren at the second corner and they were able to keep that win in their grasp to score forty points as a team and enclose on Red Bull by twenty-eight points. But how did this victory fall right into their hands? This is what happened.
Coming into the race on Sunday, there was a lot of talk about Ferrari being off the pace on Friday and Saturday. Most answers were that the team was mainly focusing on next year's chassis so their 2011 car wouldn't be getting the upgrades that make the car faster throughout the season. With Ferrari out of it, it was McLaren and Red Bull up at front. Both McLaren boys had brief moments on provisional pole but Sebastian Vettel pipped both of them to take the all-important pole.
When the lights went out it was all Sebastian Vettel. Like always, the Red Bull pulled way ahead of the field. The gap from Vettel to Hamilton after just the first corner was staggering, but disaster was on the way. Vettel's tire somehow flattened out and he spun off the track at Turn 2. He was able to rejoin the race in last place and limp his way back to the pits.
However, the 5.5 kilometer circuit did great damage to the RB-7 chassis and after a long speculation, it was game over for the World Champion. It was Vettel's first retirement since Korea 2010 and the first time this year that he wasn't running in a points-pane position. After the bitter disappointment, it was Hamilton who took advantage.
Hamilton drove brilliantly all weekend and chose his strategies right during the race. Achieving the race win was a big reward for all of his hard work. The McLaren had led every single lap except for Lap 41 through Lap 43 when Alonso was staying out for a longer stint than Lewis. Hamilton did not score the fastest lap of the race, even though he was extremely fast throughout Qualifying, which is all about fastest laps.
The fastest lap went to Mark Webber, who had a bittersweet race. After securing the fastest lap in Yas Marina, he managed to clinch the DHL Fastest Lap Award with a current total of six fastest laps. He also beat the record for the driver with the most fastest laps in a season without winning a race, which is an odd record to hold. His race was odd too. The strategy Red Bull chose for Webber meant putting two sets of softs for the first two stints and changing to primes for the last stint. However, that last stint wasn't too long. They brought Webber in on the final lap to change onto mediums. He also had a good scrap with Jenson Button, but finished ten seconds behind the Brit.
Force India drove a good race too. Both cars finished in the points to help raise the gap over Sauber and Toro Rosso in the fight between the three teams for the vital sixth place in the Constructors' Championship. The difference between sixth and seventh for example, is something like thirty to forty million dollars. That money is big to get the car good improvements for the next season. Setting the financial part to the side, both drivers put on a show. Sutil was in constant combat with Schumacher, and they stayed together for the whole race. The latter took seventh position by just two seconds. Di Resta had a good fight with Buemi but the battle came to an end when the Toro Rosso retired. He was able to beat Kobayashi by a considerable margin by the end of the race.
All in all, Abu Dhabi was a fun race to watch, experience, and review. the atmosphere is beautiful as well and everyone will be excited to come back next year.