MX23RW : Friday, September 21 02:33:33

Live Commentary: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - as it happened

Live Commentary: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - as it happened
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live coverage of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit in the United Arab Emirates.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton starts on pole position, ahead of Red Bull duo Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

However, the German was penalised for not being able to give a fuel sample and must now start from the pit lanes.

That could swing the drivers championship dramatically in favour of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who starts in sixth.

You can watch all the action as it unfolds with us below. Please note that the race is due to get underway at 1.05pm (UK).

12.53pmGood afternoon! Welcome to Sports Mole's coverage of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

12.56pmSebastian Vettel's championship hopes were dealt a hammer blow last night as the German was penalised for having his car rolled back to the garage. Fernando Alonso needs to take advantage of his woes and score some points. It's all set up to be a fantastic race... so sit tight!

12.58pmBernie Ecclestone is giving Vettel some words of wisdom as he sits in the pit lanes. It could be an historic occassion if the two-time champion can overcome this peril.

1pmTop 10 on starting grid: Hamilton, Webber, Maldonado, Raikkonen, Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Massa, Grosjean, Hulkenberg.

1.01pmThe cars are on their warm-up lap. Pedro de la Rosa has stalled his machine.

1.02pmWe're expecting just one stop today as the tyres are unlikely to be shredding on the smooth surface in Abu Dhabi. There's a sense of impending drama...

1.03pmWe're ready for the off... we wait for the lights.

LIGHTS OUTRaikkonen swoops past Maldonado and Webber! He's into second! Contact between Hulkenberg and Senna on the first turn!

Lap 1Alonso is having an early look at Webber. He's perched on the Aussie's shoulder... and finally takes him and is up into fourth!

Lap 2There was another - albeit minor - incident involving Romain Grosjean. Will he be getting another contract?

Lap 2Vettel is trying to get past Karthikeyan... but Hamilton goes wide and Raikkonen looks like he's going to take the lead...

Lap 3The Finn slip-streams Hamilton, but the McLaren manages to hold on! That was dogged driving!

Lap 3There's action all over the circuit!

Lap 3Vettel is up into 16th. He's cruising past Charles Pic at the moment. Watch this space...

Lap 4Hamilton's lead at the front is nearly two seconds now, following that little scare from Raikkonen.

Lap 5Webber is the biggest loser at the front of the grid, falling from third to fifth. Alonso has gone from sixth to fourth. Both he and Vettel have had the starts they needed. Although both will now be pushing harder to get further up the points (or into the points, in Vettel's case).

Lap 5Alonso's Ferrari made Webber's Red Bull look pedestrian in passing him. Superb piece of driving from the Spaniard, as ever.

Lap 6Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean both suffered punctures on the opening lap.

Lap 6As did Timo Glock.

Lap 7Vettel is now into 14th and gaining...

Lap 8Steward are investigating the incident that has put Nico Hulkenberg out of this race.

Lap 9Roberg has absolutely creamed his Mercedes into the wall! It was a collision with Karthikeyan's HRT that caused it! The safety car is coming out.

Lap 9Luckily, the German is unscathed. There's debris everywhere.

Lap 10Karthikeyan looked like he was coming to a halt, and Rosberg ploughed into the back of him. Both cars are out, but both men okay.

Lap 10Vettel, Grosjean and Di Resta have taken the safety car opportunity to come into the pit lanes.

Lap 10It's astounding that the crash between Rosberg and Kartikeyan did not end more gravely. It could have been very, very serious indeed.

TOP 10:Hamilton, Raikkonen, Maldonado, Alonso, Webber, Button, Massa, Perez, Kobayashi, Schumacher

Lap 12The safety car is still out.

Lap 13Vettel had collided with a platic sign on the trackside while warming up his tyres. He is agitated and screaming on his team radio. His front wing is damaged and it looks as though he will have to pit.

Lap 13The German was berating Ricciardo, who he believed to be braking too severely. Things seem to have gone majorly against Vettel this weekend, after a recent spell of dominance.

Lap 14Vettel is pitting for a new front wing. Safety car is still out

Lap 14The German comes back out in 21st. That's a blow after some good early work in getting up to 14th.

Lap 15We're racing again!

Lap 15Webber immediately attacks Alonso but the Spaniard hangs onto fourth!

Lap 16Hamilton has rebuilt a 1.6 second lead over Raikkonen and has just posted a fastest lap time. Good pace from the McLaren.

Lap 17Vettel and Grosjean are having a right old tussle! The German takes the Lotus, but is then immediately retaken! However, Vettel is not to be denied and goes off the track for a better angle on the Frenchman's car and eventually gets himself in front. I think there's going to be an investigation into Vettel's manoeuvre, specifically as to whether he was off the track when he initiated the move.

Lap 18There seems to have been an amicable solution as Vettel lets Grosjean back in front... but not for long, Vettel is back in front of the Frenchman. Catch your breath, Seb. There needs to be a lot more of that if you're going to score decent points today.

Lap 19The sun is starting to come down over Abu Dhabi, but the action has been far from fading in the opening 18 laps of this race. Vettel is tearing through the pack and Hamilton looks comfortbale leading.

Lap 20Alonso is eating into the gap between him and Maldonado.


Lap 21It's a repeat of Singapore! He had driven so well as well! Raikkonen leads now, followed by Maldonado, Alonso and Webber.

Lap 22Alonso uses his DRS to swish past Maldonado! He's into second!

TOP 10:Raikkonen, Alonso, Maldonado, Webber, Button, Massa, Perez, Kobayashi, Schumacher, Ricciardo

Lap 23Raikkonen has a 5.7 second lead over Alonso. He'll take some catching.

Lap 24Webber tries to get past Maldonado but touches the Venezuelan's wheel and goes into a spin! He's facing the wrong way when he comes to a stop!

Lap 24the Aussie had inched his nose in front and there was no room for Maldonado to yield and the wheels touched.

Lap 24Vettel is past Ricciardo and into 10th!

Lap 25Meanwhile, Button overtakes Maldonado and goes third!

Lap 25The incident between Webber and Maldonado is under investigation. The Aussie did not really give Maldonado much room and I think it would be harsh to penalise the Venezuelan there...

Lap 26News coming through that Hamilton's problems were electrical. There was just no power and he had to pull over and off the track. How unfortunate.

Lap 26Vettel is now into eighth. What a driver.

Lap 27Webber and Massa go wheel to wheel! The Brazilian comes off worst as this time it's his turn to take a spin!

Lap 28Massa pits for new tyres. They would have taken a bit of a bashing as he was forced to spin round to face forwards. I don;t think either man will be happy with each others' driving there. Massa ran him off the track first, so it's the Aussie who has the right to be displeased.

Lap 28There will be no action on the incident between MAldonado and Webber. Right call.

Lap 29The incident between Webber and Massa will now be investigated... busy day for the stewards!

Lap 29No further action on that one either. all pending investigations have been completed and we can full focus on this mesmerising race!

Lap 30Perez moves past Maldonado now. Top 10 update coming right up...

Lap 30Actually, we'll wait just a second as the drivers start to come into the garage for new tyres.

TOP 10:Raikkonen, Perez, Webber, Vettel, Alonso, Button, Senna, Vergne, Grosjean, Di Resta

Lap 31Vettel moves into second place! The Red Bull has already pitted as well, though there will be question marks over his tyres by the end of the race!

Lap 32Raikkonen pits and... comes out just ahead of Vettel. We're all set for a ding dong between the Finn and the German!

Lap 32Jenson Button has set the fastest lap of the race. He's trying to get past Fernando Alonso.

Lap 33It's been a breathtaking drive by Vettel already. He's bidding to become the first man to win a Grand Prix from the back of the grid.

Lap 35The drivers have settled into a bit of a formation now. Raikkonen is slowly pulling away from Vettel, but the Red Bull is decisively ahead of Fernando Alonso.

Lap 37Vettel's tyres have been predicted to last 36 laps. He's done 23. There are 19 left. It's going to be a nail-biter!

Lap 38Vettel is going to pit! He wants new tyres so he can get a good run on the traffic behind him.

Lap 39He gets back out in fourth and avoids a mess of traffic. He's behind Jenson Button but crucially ahead of Di Resta, Perez and Grosjean.

Lap 39CHAOS! Webber and Grosjean crash out! The safety car is back out!

Lap 40It was a three-way tussle between Webber, Perez and Grosjean. There was contact all over the shop! Perez comes in to pit... he's the lucky one, he's still racing!

Lap 40There is a lot to decipher on that exchange.

Lap 40Di Resta was also minorly involved and he may be forced to pit for a bit of repair work.

Lap 4015 laps to go and the race - and the championship - is finely poised.

Lap 41Vettel is very much in the driving seat now (excuse the pun).

TOP 10:Raikkonen, Alonso, Button, Vettel, Maldonado, Kobayashi, Schumacher, Massa, Senna, Vergne

Lap 41Webber's retirement means that it's now mathematically impossible to win the drivers' championship.

Lap 42Classic Raikkonen. His team are telling him what he needs to do, to wich the former world champion replies: "Yes, yes, yes. I know what I need to do. You don't have to keep reminding me every minute."

Lap 42Unsurprisingly, the incident between Webber, Perez, Di Resta and Grosjean is to be investigated. Good luck untangling that one stewards! Although it looks as though Perez is the guilty party.

Lap 43The safety car has aided Vettel's pursuit of the leaders and he is on fresh tyres now. The safety car departs the track and we're racing once again!

Lap 44Perez has been given a 10-second stop and go penalty.

Lap 44Raikkonen sets the fastest lap of the race. Quality driving!

Lap 44Vettel is having a serious look at Button. He can't get past but the McLaren is struggling to hold the Red Bull off!

Lap 45Perez comes in for his penalty.

Lap 47Raikkonen sets another fastest lap. He has a lot of pace at the moment and leads this race.

Lap 48Di Resta is gaining on eighth-placed Senna, who is also battling with Massa.

Lap 48Vettel tries once again to take Button but the McLaren defends superbly. there was no way through for the German!

Lap 49Vergne has just surrendered his 11th position to Michael Schumacher. Strange...

Lap 50If the race ended now, Vettel would be just seven points ahead of Alonso. However, if the Spaniard can get ahead of Raikkonen then that will all change. Five laps left!

Lap 50The gap between Raikkonen and Alonso stands at just over two seconds.

Lap 51Alonso sets a fastest lap but it's still not enough to get close to Raikkonen.

TOP 10:Raikkonen, Alonso, Button, Vettel, Maldonado, Kobayashi, Massa, Senna, Di Resta, Ricciardo

Lap 52Sebastian Vettel gets in front of Jenson Button! Big move!

Lap 53It's Vettel chasing Alonso now! Two laps left... drama in Abu Dhabi! What a race it's been!

Lap 54Alonso is slowly eating into Raikkonen's lead. He needs to cut the one-0second gap down to about half a second so he can have a go at the Finn on the final lap.

Lap 54It doesn't look like that'll happen. Raikkonen has all the pace he needs at the moment.

FINAL LAPAlonso puts in a faster lap than Raikkonen but he's got his work well and truly cut out to catch the Lotus!

Lap 55Vettel and Button look nailed on for third and fourth respectively. Disappointing for Button, I'm sure he'd have loved to get another podium.


2.50pmFernando Alonso comes in second, while an astounding drrive by Sebastian Vettel sees him come home in third place!

2.50pmRaikkonen: "Yeeehaaaa!"

2.51pmIt was a great drive by Vettel. This podium will feel like a win.

2.52pmIt's Lotus' first Grand Prix victory since 1987, reveals Martin Brundle.

FINAL STANDINGS:Raikkonen, Alonso, Vettel, Button, Maldonado, Kobayashi, Massa, Senna, Di Resta, Ricciardo, Schumacher, Vergne, Kovalainen, Glock, Perez, Petrov, De la Rosa, Pic

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