Kimi Raikkonen finally returned Lotus to the top of the F1 podium, after claiming victory in an action-packed Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Having vaulted past both Pastor Maldonado
and Mark Webber
at the start, the Finn put himself in the ideal position to inherit the lead of the race when Lewis Hamilton
was forced to retire, and managed to retain the advantage through his single pit-stop, Although he then had to survive a second safety car and fend off a feisty Fernando Alonso
over the closing laps - as well as withstand a series of distracting messages from the pit-wall - Raikkonen held on to claim his, and the Lotus team's, first victory of the year.
Alonso fought his way up to second after battling his way by Webber early on and then jumping Maldonado during the stops, but could not overturn Sebastian Vettel's championship advantage after the German fought his way from a pit-lane start to claim the final step of the podium. At one point, aided by a couple of accidents that opened the door to him, Vettel even appeared that he could win the race, but ultimately couldn't make his second set of tyres - forced upon him by the need to replace a damaged from wing - last the 41 laps they needed to cover. Despite making a second stop, however, a fresh set of soft boots allowed him to overcome Jenson Button
late and leave Yas Marina with a ten-point advantage.
Button took fourth, the first time he has not finished on the lowest step of the podium in Abu Dhabi, while Maldonado survived a clash with Webber to round out the top five. With the second Red Bull
being caught up in an accident triggered by Paul di Resta, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean, Kamui Kobayashi, Felipe Massa
- who had his own clash with the Australian - Bruno Senna, di Resta and Daniel Ricciardo claimed the remaining points.Full race report now available.Full race results also available.