Vettel takes commanding Abu Dhabi win
3 November 2013 – Sebastian Vettel notched up his seventh straight victory with a crushing performance in Sunday evening's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver, who jumped into the lead at the start, ultimately led home team-mate Mark Webber by more than half a minute, while Mercedes rival Nico Rosberg completed the podium.
As the lights went out at the Yas Marina Circuit, pole-sitter Webber got slightly bogged down after an initially strong reaction to the start procedure, allowing both Vettel and Rosberg to surge past the Australian on the short run down to the first corner.
At the back of the field, Kimi Räikkönen's evening came to an end after just a few hundred metres, with the Lotus driver – who was excluded from the qualifying results for a failed floor test – hitting Caterham rival Giedo van der Garde. The Finn then returned to the paddock for a quick change of clothing before heading home early.
On-track, Vettel immediately laid down a marker, pulling away from Rosberg at around half a second per lap. And by the time the first pit-stops arrived, he was comfortably leading the way, setting up a smooth journey to the 37th win of his Formula 1 career.
With Vettel's position never under threat, the battle for second position soon attracted the most attention. Webber went some way to making up for his sluggish getaway by moving back ahead of Rosberg with the use of DRS, but the latter, along with Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, kept him on his toes for the remainder of the Grand Prix.
Webber ultimately held on to make it a 1-2 for Red Bull, 30.8 seconds adrift of race winner Vettel. Fernando Alonso, a further half a minute down the road, salvaged fifth place for Ferrari, while Paul di Resta was one of just two drivers, along with Force India team-mate Adrian Sutil, to pull off a one-stop strategy in sixth position.
Lewis Hamilton had to settle for seventh at the end of troublesome evening, the Mercedes driver failing to gain any confidence after experiencing vibrations on his lap to the grid. Felipe Massa took eighth in the second Ferrari, while McLaren's Sergio Pérez and the aforementioned Sutil rounded out the points-paying positions.
Nico Hülkenberg was unlucky to finish outside the top ten after being given a drive-through penalty by the stewards for an unsafe release, while Jenson Button would also arguably have scored if he had not been forced into an early front wing change.
Charles Pic had led the battle of the sport's newest teams early on, but he lost out to Caterham team-mate Giedo van der Garde as their respective strategies unravelled. The Marussias of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton were a lap behind their main rivals.
The 18th round of the 2013 season takes place in America from November 15-17, with practice, qualifying and the race covered via the GPUpdate.net Live Report