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Vettel storms to Abu Dhabi victory

Sebastian Vettel leads home Mark Webber in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina to secure second place on the F1 drivers' championship
Sebastian Vettel ensured a winning end to the 2009 season for Red Bull Racing with victory in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, securing second in the F1 championship standings in the process.

After polesitter Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire from the race, Vettel stamped his authority on the first event at the new Yas Marina circuit for his fourth win of the season, while the victory also ensured that Red Bull concluded the season as the team to beat with three wins in the final three events of the campaign.

Vettel had started the race from second on the grid but wasn't expected to go any better in the race, with many tipping Hamilton to drive away from the field after his stunning performance in qualifying. However, despite keeping his lead off the line, the McLaren man was unable to break away from Vettel and Webber behind – with Webber having been lucky to emerge from the first corner unscathed after a tag on the rear left from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn.

Outgoing champion Hamilton did his best to try and break away but Vettel shadowed his every move through the opening stages of the race, with it soon becoming apparent that the Briton would have more of a fight on his hands than paddock observers had imagined before the start.

Running lighter than the Red Bull pair behind, Hamilton was the first man to stop of the leading trio and although he was able to stay ahead of Webber, a series of quick laps allowed Vettel to make his stop and emerge on track ahead of the McLaren. Had Vettel pitted just seconds earlier however, that could have been very different after the Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari cruised into the pits to retire only for the Spanish rookie to stop in the wrong pit box; the Red Bull crew quickly sending him on his way as Vettel prepared to make his stop.

As Vettel rejoined in front, Hamilton was warned over the radio that his McLaren may be suffering from a brake issue and within a matter of laps, he brought his car into the pits to retire from the race.

Hamilton's retirement left Vettel free to cruise to victory, but it was a different story altogether for Webber as he came under pressure from new champion Jenson Button in the closing laps. Button had battled ahead of team-mate Barrichello early on as the Brazilian was forced to deal with the loss of downforce from damaging his front-wing at the start and then found himself third once the pitstops had been completed.

Quicker than Webber ahead in the closing laps, Button was all over the rear of the Red Bull as the pair entered the final lap and briefly managed to get ahead under braking, but Webber was able to hold on for second. Third for Button marked only the second time the new champion has finished on the podium since his victory in the Turkish Grand Prix.

Despite the early damage to his car, Barrichello was able to take fourth place, although that wasn't enough to secure second in the championship standings as the Brazilian had gone into the weekend trailing Vettel in the race to finish as runner-up to Button.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing, 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix [pic credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images]
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November 01, 2009 4:39 PM
Last Edited 2215 days ago

Sorry to say I am losing faith on all these multi-billion pound new F1 venues. Another bore-fest in terms of racing and I can see where all this is going. Bernie is basicallty using F1 revenue to generate such rich people's playground so they can have this wonderful place and for their own inter-migling PR stunts to attrract more wealth amongst them selves. F1 used to be something we could hitch-hike to or have an interesting rough and ready journy to get to, camp on even! Now days its looking more and more like something us mortals can never attend. They could have built 10 Spas with change spare on that budget... RIP to people's F1.

V - Unregistered

November 01, 2009 4:20 PM

The traditional circuits have far more character than this horible circuit. It's completely lifeless and wouldn't look out of place on the moon.

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