Sunday, 4 November 2012

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

We should have known better than to write off this season's championship chase. Just as some observers were starting to revert to the old "boring and predictable F1" meme, a race occurs which provides a thrilling "race within a race" between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, as well as several other sub-plots.

It seemed prior to the race that Alonso had been let off the hook by the penalty incurred by Vettel, but we had not fully bargained for the events which unfolded. No doubt some of the conspiracy theorists in the general sporting media will be sharpening their pencils, metaphorically speaking...

McLaren appeared a little bemused this weekend about their overall competitiveness, but even so the retirement of Lewis Hamilton from the race will have come as a shattering disappointment.  Hamilton's comments following the race would indicate that he is looking forward to his future with Mercedes rather than dwelling on current frustrations, and his despair will have been tempered by these thoughts.

The cards initially appeared to be falling for Vettel, but his enforced change of front wing made his task more formidable. His display, although admittedly aided by the dramas afflicting others, will hopefully have dispelled some of the wilder aspersions being voiced about his credentials.

All of this almost served to overshadow Kimi Raikkonen's much-deserved returned to the Formula 1 winners' circle. Ironically, this victory came after a series of races during which the Lotus team looked to be becalmed and subdued, and in some respects going backwards.  The Finn looked as inscrutable and impassive as ever on the podium, but today's events will have given him immense satisfaction, even though his championship chances for 2012 are now mathematically over.

Two races to go, and the championship race is still very much on the boil.  Logic would indicate that Vettel should still be favoured, having the better all-round technical package, and the law of averages should preclude him suffering the same misfortunes as he did in Abu Dhabi.  However, F1 rarely conforms to these assumptions....

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