Hamilton wins after rare Vettel retirement

 

Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton today took advantage of a rare retirement from world champion Sebastian Vettel to claim his third win of the season and finally put all his recent woes behind him.

Vettel inexplicably sustained a puncture just two corners into the 55-lap Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leading to a premature end for the 24-year-old for the first time in 20 races.

Vettel had won the only two previous races at the Yas Marina track, but his shock incident freed Hamilton to take the chequered flag and end a wretched run of form since his last win in Germany.

To say Vettel's exit came out of the blue would be an understatement, notably as he made the perfect getaway from his record-equalling 14th pole this year in his all-conquering Red Bull.

But as he cornered into the slight kink that is turn two, the right rear tyre bizarrely punctured, sending him into a spin off the track and onto the grass.

McLaren star Hamilton must have thought Christmas had come early as he led the remainder of the field past Vettel's stricken car.

Vettel managed to limp back to the pits, but the damage sustained to the floor, exhaust and wishbone was too severe for the German to continue, leaving him thumping his steering wheel in frustration.

Red Bull have since confirmed there was nothing on the telemetry on the formation lap that suggested any kind of issue, and it will now be down to tyre supplier Pirelli to assess what went wrong.

After that, Hamilton drove one of those faultless races we all know he is capable of, but so rarely he has displayed this year.

Alonso, who made a lap one move on Button to move up to second, at times threatened, but instead Hamilton was controlled and composed as he made it 17 wins in his F1 career.

There was perhaps a slight moment of consternation when he pitted first onto the harder, slightly slower medium compound tyre with 15 laps to go, whilst Alonso stayed out on the faster soft rubber.

But in the end it mattered little as the Spaniard in his Ferrari emerged behind Hamilton, and from then on it was a stroll to the line, the 26-year-old dedicating the win to mum Carmen who has been here this weekend to celebrate her birthday, which was on Friday.

It was Button who ended up having the toughest time, primarily as he lost his KERS power-boost system for around 25 laps which meant he fell behind the leading duo.

In the end it was the fact Red Bull opted for a three-stop strategy for Mark Webber that propelled him onto the podium.

On his final set of soft tyres, Webber did all he could to open up a gap over Button, but it was never going to be enough.

The Australian pitted at the end of the penultimate lap, but he emerged around nine seconds behind Button, the 31-year-old in the top three for the seventh time in the last eight races.

It also means Button has won the battle of Britain within McLaren, with Hamilton unable to now close the gap on his compatriot, so losing to a team-mate for the first time since he entered single-seater racing in 2001.

Behind the leading quartet, Ferrari's Felipe Massa was fifth, followed by Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.

Force India pairing Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta were eighth and ninth, with Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi claiming 10th.

Hamilton described himself as "ecstatic" and "fantastic", adding: "That was one of my best drives of my career.

"I looked after my tyres, I managed the gap, and the team did a great job, so I'm happy to be back up here. I can now get on my flight tonight and smile."

Asked if he was back on track after all his troubles, he said: "I don't know. It's early days.

"We've a great race in Brazil coming up, so I just need to try and keep the momentum."

Alonso also felt he enjoyed "a fantastic race", adding: "I had a very good start, a good first lap and the fight with Jenson.

"Then after the problem with Sebastian, I fought with Lewis, and at the last stop we stayed out two laps longer than Lewis.

"But in the last stint he had a bit more pace, so even if I had got ahead in the second stop, we probably wouldn't have won, but it has been a good weekend."

As for Button, his KERS issues proved a hindrance as he said: "On about lap 13 or 14 it went.

"I had to fend off Webber and Massa, which was interesting, and then I eventually got it back.

"But then it went again and I had to keep resetting it, which means it was very tricky, so coming home third I'm pretty happy."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
News
people
News
people
Life and Style
tech Manband spurn Spotify to stream album exclusively with Google
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?