Crash.Net F1 News

Magnificent seven for Vettel as run goes on

3 November 2013

Sebastian Vettel extended his winning run to seven with arguably the most dominant victory of the season in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

A week after wrapping up his fourth successive title in India, the German qualified second on the grid behind Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber but made a better start than the Australian to take the lead on the run to turn one.

With Webber also losing a place to the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in the second phase of the start, Vettel was able to seize his chance to break away from the chasing pack and had established a lead of nearly two seconds by the end of the opening lap as Rosberg held second.

While the Mercedes man was able to ease away from Webber in the opening stages, he couldn't keep pace with Vettel at the front, with the Red Bull able to go longer than his rivals before pitting for the first time.

Rejoining still in the lead, Vettel was comfortably clear of the field behind and would take the flag more than half a minute clear of his nearest rival.

It gave Vettel an eleventh victory of the season, with his seventh in a row taking him within two of Alberto Ascari's record of nine.

Although able to keep hold of second place through the opening stint, Rosberg came under increasing pressure from Webber once the pair had switched onto the medium compound tyre and the Australian was able to find a way through using DRS.

As those cars ahead of the road cycled through their pitstops, Webber found himself in second place behind Vettel but was never in a position to close on his team-mate, while Rosberg proved to be unable to challenge for a place on the second step of the podium as he took third.

Romain Grosjean was another driver to run strongly early in the race as he battled for position with Webber but he ultimately didn't have the pace to maintain a challenge for the podium – his run of top three finishes thereby coming to an end.

With little by way of interest at the front of the pack, the main interest in the closing stages focused on the battle for fifth place, which eventually went the way of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.

The Spaniard had gone long on his opening stint and seemed set to try and complete the race on one stop before coming in for a second time just eleven laps from the end.

Although his return to the track was controversial as he ran off the circuit to get ahead of the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne, Alonso was easily the fastest man on track in the closing stages on his soft tyres as he chased down Lewis Hamilton and Paul di Resta ahead to secure fifth spot, with di Resta an impressive sixth on a one-stop strategy.

Hamilton ended up a second behind the Force India man in seventh after a more troubled race than his team-mate, with the Briton counting the cost of spending a lengthy spell stuck behind the Sauber of Esteban Gutierrez prior to the Mexican's first stop.

As a result, he found himself stuck in the midfield battles and would end up more than half a minute behind Rosberg as a result. Felipe Massa was eighth in the second of the Ferraris, with Sergio Perez taking ninth from Adrian Sutil – who also one-stopped – on the final lap.

Elsewhere, Pastor Maldonado fell a lap short of being able to take points for Williams as he closed rapidly on Sutil late on, while Jenson Button failed to score in twelfth having been forced to pit for a new nose in the early stages. A drive-through penalty for an unsafe release also cost Nico Hulkenberg the chance to score as he came home behind Sauber team-mate Gutierrez in 14th.

For Kimi Raikkonen, a tough weekend came to an end on the opening lap when contact with Giedo van der Garde's Caterham as turn one damaged his Lotus and put him out – with the Finn seeing leaving the circuit before the race was ended.

Raikkonen would be the only retirement of the race.

To see the result, CLICK HERE.