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Kimi takes awesome Abu Dhabi

2012-11-04 17:05

TOUCHING SCENE: Smoke but no mirrors as Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta and Sauber's Sergio Perez touch wheels after the start of the Yas Marina GP. Image: AFFP

Author: ALAN BALDWIN

 
ABU DHABI, UAE - Kimi Raikkonen returned to the top of the Formula 1 podium for the first time since 2009 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, leaving his Lotus team in no doubt that he knew what he was doing.

The Finn, 2007 World champion with Ferrari, was typically blunt when his race engineer spoke to him on the radio shortly after he was fiven the lead by Lewis Hamilton's sudden retirement.

"Leave me alone. I know what to do," he replied drily.

'JUST TRYING TO HELP'

Raikkonen can be a man of few words, sometimes unintelligible or inaudible to all but the most attentive of listeners, who would rather let his driving do the talking than engage in chit-chat. "I'm not so stupid that I cannot remember what I'm doing," he explained later. "It's a normal thing.

"They are just trying to help... I will also ask for help if I need it... different people like different things."

He said when he announced his comeback, after two years in rallying and some Nascar truck racing in the US, that he was the same as ever and he has shown that on and off the track this season.

Sunday's win was his seventh podium in 18 races back and his 19th career triumph. He also became the eighth different driver to win this season.

Seven-times champion Michael Schumacher, 43, has gone almost three years with nothing more than one third place to celebrate with Mercedes but Raikkonen has been on the money right from the start.

GOOD PARTY

He said he could win if Lotus, the former Renault team, delivered the goods and he was as good as his word at the Yas Marina circuit.

Asked on the podium by his now-retired former McLaren team mate David Coulthard to talk about his emotions and explain how amazing it was to win again, Raikkonen simply shrugged.

"Not much really," he said, recalling how the last time he had been in such a position he was criticised for not smiling enough. "I'm happy but there's nothing to jump around about. For sure we're going to have a good party today and hopefully tomorrow when we are feeling bad after a long night."

Raikkonen has always liked a good party and having fun is part of the make-up of a man who has entered powerboat races dressed in a gorilla suit, been photographed embracing inflatable dolphins and competed in snowmobiles under the name of the late F1 racer James Hunt.

Sunday was a night of fun, a race win that the 'Iceman' set up by seizing second place at the start from fourth place on the grid and then holding on to his advantage despite two safety car periods eating away at his lead.

The victory was the first for the Lotus marque since 1987 when Brazilian Ayrton Senna won for a very different team at the USA East GP in Detroit.

Raikkonen's Lotus is descended from the Benetton and Renault teams that most recently won two titles with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006 and whose last race win was in Japan with the Spaniard in 2008.

"We have had hard times lately and hopefully it gives some belief for the people," said Raikkonen who last week signed a contract extension for 2013 with the team that are fourth in the Constructors' standings.

"I hope it gives a bit more support and hope that things will turn around and be even better than it's been this year."

Result from the 2012 Abu Dhabi Formula 1 GP
1 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1hr45min58.667
2 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari +00min00.852
3 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull +00min04.163
4 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren +00min07.787
5 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams +00min13.007
6 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber +00min20.076
7 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari +00min22.896
8 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams +00min23.542
9 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India +00min24.160
10 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso +00min27.463
11 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes +00min28.075
12 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso +00min34.906
13 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham +00min47.764
14 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia +00min56.473
15 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari +00min56.768
16 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham - Renault +01min04.595
17 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT - Cosworth +01min11.778

Retired
Charles Pic (France) Marussia - Cosworth 14 laps
Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull - Renault 18 laps
Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 18 laps
Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 36 laps
Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 48 laps
Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT - Cosworth 48 laps
Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 55 laps

Fastest lap: Sebastian Vettel, 1min43.964, lap 54.

Drivers’ and Constructors’ points standings
Drivers

1 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull - 255
2 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari - 245
3 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus - 198
4 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull - 167
5 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren - 165
6 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren - 153
7 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari - 95
8 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes GP - 93
9 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - 90
10 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber - 66
11 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber - 58
12 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India - 49
13 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India - 46
14 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - 43
15 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes GP - 43
16 Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams - 30
17 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - 12
18. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso - 10
19. Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia - 0
20 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham - 0
21 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham 0
22 Jerome d'Ambrosio (Belgium) Lotus 0
23 Charles Pic (France) Marussia 0
24 Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT - 0
25 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT - 0
 
Constructors
1 Red Bull - 422
2 Ferrari - 340
3 McLaren - Mercedes - 318
4 Lotus - Renault - 288
5 Mercedes - 136
6 Sauber - Ferrari - 124
7 Force India - Mercedes - 95
8 Williams - Renault - 73
9 Toro Rosso - Ferrari - 22
10 Marussia - Cosworth - 0
11 Caterham - Renault - 0
12 HRT - Cosworth - 0



Starting grid from the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday
1.  Lewis Hamilton (Britain)     McLaren                  
2.  Mark Webber (Australia)      RedBull - Renault        
3.  Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - Renault       
4.  Kimi Raikkonen (Finland)     Lotus - Renault          
5.  Jenson Button (Britain)      McLaren                  
6.  Fernando Alonso (Spain)      Ferrari                  
7.  Nico Rosberg (Germany)       Mercedes                 
8.  Felipe Massa (Brazil)        Ferrari                  
9.  Romain Grosjean (France)     Lotus - Renault          
10. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany)   Force India - Mercedes   
11. Sergio Perez (Mexico)        Sauber - Ferrari         
12. Paul Di Resta (Britain)      Force India - Mercedes   
13. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes                 
14. Bruno Senna (Brazil)         Williams - Renault       
15. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan)      Sauber - Ferrari         
16. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso - Ferrari     
17. Jean-Eric Vergne (France)    Toro Rosso - Ferrari     
18. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland)  Caterham - Renault       
19. Charles Pic (France)         Marussia - Cosworth      
20. Vitaly Petrov (Russia)       Caterham - Renault       
21. Timo Glock (Germany)         Marussia - Cosworth      
22. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain)     HRT - Cosworth           
23. Narain Karthikeyan (India)   HRT - Cosworth           
24. Sebastian Vettel (Germany)   RedBull - Renault


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