Kimi Raikkonen is celebrating his first victory since his return to Formula One, with a win in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The 2007 world champion finished the race ahead of Fernando Alonso, in a race packed with retirements.
Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton was first into turn one, ahead of Raikkonen and Pastor Maldonado. The Lotus driver made a great start from fourth on the grid, while Mark Webber dropped from second to fourth.
However, the biggest casualty of the first lap was Nico Hulkenberg, who was forced to retire after colliding with Bruno Senna at the start. Romain Grosjean and Nico Rosberg also made contact, which caused a puncture for Grosjean and meant Rosberg had to pit for a new nose.
But by lap eight, Rosberg's race was brought to a spectacular end, when he ran into the back of a slowing HRT, flying over the top of Narain Karthikeyan's car into the wall at turn 16. Both drivers were unhurt and the safety car was brought out while the debris was cleared.
Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel - who started from the pit lane, following the steward's decision to disqualify him from qualifying for not having enough fuel in his car - had managed to battle his way up the field, despite grazing the back of Senna's Williams and damaging his front wing in the process.
But Vettel made a mistake while struggling to keep his tyre temperatures up under the safety car conditions. He swiped a marker at the side of the track, causing more damage to his front wing. He pitted for a new nose, by which time he was back down in 21st.
The Red Bull driver promptly battled his way back up to 14th, while Hamilton extended his lead over Raikkonen at the front. But it all went wrong for the McLaren driver on lap 20, when his car lost power and he was forced to pull off onto the grass.
This allowed Raikkonen to take the lead, while Fernando Alonso capitalised on a mistake by Maldonado to go second. Webber tried to replicate the move on Maldonado, but ended up spinning and losing position, before making contact with Felipa Massa who also spun.
Chaos ensued on lap 39, when Paul di Resta and Sergio Perez ran off the track while battling for position, before Perez rejoined into the path of Grosjean who then collected Webber. Grosjean and Webber were both forced to retire, while Perez was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty.
In the closing stages of the race, Alonso did manage to close in on Raikkonen but wasn't able to pass. The Lotus driver finished the race just eight-tenths of a second ahead of the Ferrari.
Vettel crossed the line third, following a series of impressive overtakes. He squeezed his way past Jenson Button with just a few laps to go, before setting the fastest lap of the race.
Maldonado finished fifth for Williams, ahead of Kobayashi and Massa in sixth and seventh respectively. Senna, Di Resta and Daniel Ricciardo took the final few points.
This result means that Vettel still leads the drivers' championship with 255 points, while Alonso and Raikkonen are second and third with 245 and 198 points.
Check out our gallery from the race, as we look forward to the final two races in the 2012 calendar. There are now just 50 points up for grabs in the USA and Brazil.
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault|
|9||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes|
|17||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth|
|Not classified||Charles Pic||Marussia-Cosworth|
|Not classified||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault|
|Not classified||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault|
|Not classified||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren-Mercedes|
|Not classified||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes|
|Not classified||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT-Cosworth|
|Not classified||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes|