Seventh heaven for Vettel in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (SportsNetwork.com) - Newly-crowned four-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel claimed his seventh consecutive victory with a superb performance in Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Vettel overtook his Red Bull teammate and pole sitter Mark Webber in the first turn of the opening lap and then was unstoppable from there. The 26-year-old German led all 55 laps at Yas Marina Circuit. He crossed the finish line 30.8 seconds ahead of Webber for his third win in the first five Abu Dhabi GPs. His previous victories here came in 2009 and '10.
"It's incredible," Vettel said. "The car was absolutely brilliant. I was flying at some stages, at least it felt like it. I had massive gaps. It was a big surprise. Big thanks to the team."
Vettel became the fourth driver in F1 history to win seven or more grand prix in a row. His fellow German compatriot, Michael Schumacher, most recently won seven straight races in 2004. Jim Clark accomplished the feat in 1965. Alberto Ascari holds the record for most consecutive victories with nine, doing so from the tail end of the 1952 season through the early part of the 1953 season.
Last weekend, Vettel clinched his fourth successive F1 championship with the win in the Indian Grand Prix. Red Bull also captured its quadruple constructors' title.
The Nov. 17 United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas and the Nov. 24 Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo are the remaining races on this year's schedule. If Vettel wins both of those events, he would not only tie Ascari's record of consecutive wins but also match Schumacher's record of 13 victories in a season, set in '04.
Red Bull has now finished 1-2 in an F1 grand prix 15 times.
"The start wasn't great," Webber said. "After that, the race went pretty well for me, but Seb was gone. He was in another category out in front."
Nico Rosberg from Mercedes finished third, while Lotus' Romain Grosjean took the fourth spot. Grosjean's teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, who won the Abu Dhabi GP one year ago, had his race end on the first lap when he sustained damage to his front suspension after hitting the rear of Charles Pic's Caterham. Raikkonen had to start from the back of the grid since he was excluded from Saturday's qualifying. His car failed a post-qualifying floor deflection test.
11/03 10:42:55 ET