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Hamilton Fends off Alonso for Abu Dhabi Victory

Lewis returns to form as Vettel retires

Posted Nov 14, 2011 by Chris White

Lewis Hamilton won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton returned to the top of the podium with a thrilling performance in Abu Dhabi to hold off the challenge of Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso after the double world champion Sebastian Vettel was forced to retire on lap one.

The recently crowned back-to-back champion suffered a puncture on the first lap, forcing him to retire for the first time in over a year. With his retirement, the rest of the field were gifted the opportunity to battle for the victory, and Hamilton and Alonso duly delivered a thrilling duel for the majority of the race, with the result settled on the final pit stop.

Hamilton’s team-mate Jenson Button finished third from Mark Webber in what was a successful weekend for McLaren, with many pundits and commentators feeling that Hamilton produced the sort of race that helped win him the world championship.

Vettel’s retirement was his first since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix, and ended his run as the only driver to finish every race in the 2011 season, and also the possibility of equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of 13 victories in the season, with just one race remaining in Brazil in two weeks time.

But Hamilton took full advantage of his rivals’ misfortune, having qualified second on the grid just 0.141 seconds behind the German, and dedicated the victory to his mother who was at the circuit celebrating her birthday.

The race looked set to be decided on whichever of Hamilton and Alonso utilised their pit stop the best, with Hamilton the first to change to the harder tyres with 16 laps remaining, while Alonso looked to extend an advantage on the track. Four laps later when Alonso was forced into the pits to change tyres, Hamilton had fought back to close the gap and opened up an unassailable nine second lead by the time he crossed the line for the final time.

Felipe Massa lost out in the battle with Button and Webber and was forced to settle for fifth place ahead of Nico Rosberg in sixth and Michael Schumacher, who came home in seventh. Adrian Sutil pipped team-mate Paul di Resta to eighth, while Kamui Kobayashi picked up the final point in tenth.

Full Abu Dhabi Grand Prix result:

1 Lewis Hamilton 1:37:11.886

2 Fernando Alonso +08.457

3 Jenson Button +25.881

4 Mark Webber +35.784

5 Felipe Massa +50.578

6 Nico Rosberg +52.317

7 Michael Schumacher +1:15.964

8 Adrian Sutil +1:17.122

9 Paul di Resta +1.41:087

10 Kamui Kobayashi – lapped

11 Sergio Perez – lapped

12 Rubens Barrichello – lapped

13 Vitaly Petrov – lapped

14 Pastor Maldonado – lapped

15 Jaime Alguersuari – lapped

16 Bruno Senna – lapped

17 Heikki Kovalainen – lapped

18 Jarno Trulli – lapped

19 Timo Glock – lapped

20 Vitantonio Liuzzi – lapped

21 Daniel Ricciardo – retired, 48 laps

22 Sebastien Buemi – retired, 19 laps

23 Jerome d’Ambrosio – retired, 18 laps

24 Sebastian Vettel – retired, 1 lap

What did you make of Hamilton’s performance in Abu Dhabi? Share your thoughts with Imagine here, on Twitter @ImagineF1 and on Facebook by clicking here.

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