The Abu Dhabi grand prix started predictably – Vettel stole pole position in the dying seconds of qualifying, shot off the line and took a comfortable lead through the first corner.

In the second, however, his rear right tyre got bored of this behaviour and opted to explode which span him off and forced him to limp his irreparably damaged Red Bull back to the pits.

…resented his perfect driving,

This lead tog reat joy for the vindictive who have resented his perfect driving, impeccable reliability and generally personable attitude. It would have been great to see him fight back through the field but, for the first time in an age, the race was on.

Or it would have been, had someone given Hamilton the script and let him know that his role was not Vettel’s understudy. The Brit drove his Mclaren to take a well-deserved win in what he declared was one of his best races.

didn’t require his bravery and panache…

Aerial views

His statement is indicative of his fairly torrid 2011 season – his drive was good but was not challenging, didn’t require his bravery and panache and was gifted to him by Vettel’s first retirement in 20 races.

Alonso drove very strongly to take second while Button fought the absence of his KERS system, Massa and Webber to take third – after the Australian was forced to pit on the last lap.

…some very interesting tactical battles…

It was, on the whole, a close fought race. Time margins were quite thin, there was plenty of overtaking and some very interesting tactical battles being played out throughout the field.

As of yet the cause of Vettel’s puncture has not been decided, it was an unexpected and instantaneous loss of pressure which neither Red Bull nor Pirelli can explain. Last season such an incident would have been crucial for the championship.

…brought some confidence back…

This season it naturally isn’t but I am nevertheless very thankful for whatever caused it – it brought some confidence back to Hamilton’s driving and reminded the sport of what a more equal playing field looks like.

The circus ships out to Brazil with mid-table constructors positions to be decided, contracts to be won for next year and, hopefully, a – slightly – less terminally damaged Red Bull to pitch Vettel back into the fray for the last time this season.

Images courtesy of F1

 

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