Thrilling victory for Raikkonen

Motor sport Abu Dhabi GP: Lotus driver pips Ferraris Alonso by 0.8 seconds

Kimi Raikkonen won an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix thriller for Lotus on Sunday while Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel defended his Formula One championship lead by fighting sensationally through the field from last place to third.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished runner-up, just 0.8 seconds behind the Finn, after a nail-biting final few laps to close the gap between him and Vettel to 10 points with two races remaining.

On an afternoon with a huge crash, two safety car interludes and a string of retirements including McLaren's Lewis Hamilton while leading from pole position, the floodlit Yas Marina circuit hosted one of the sport's great races and kept the stewards busy.
The victory was Raikkonen's first since 2009 when the 2007 world champion won in Belgium, the 19th of his career, and made him the eighth different driver to triumph in 18 races so far this season.

Vettel, who started from the pit lane and set the fastest lap of the race, now has 255 points to Alonso's 245 and can clinch a third successive title in Austin, Texas, in two weeks if results go his way. Red Bull could have clinched the constructors' championship for the third year in a row on Sunday but were made to wait after Australian Mark Webber crashed out.

They now have 422 points to Ferrari's 340 with 86 remaining to be won.
Vettel and Alonso are the only drivers still in contention for the title, with Raikkonen third overall but 57 behind Red Bull's 25-year-old German.

Raikkonen, a man who has always done his talking on the track, swigged from his bottle of champagne on the podium as others sprayed theirs at him.

Asked on the podium by retired McLaren team-mate David Coulthard what it was like to win again, the 33-year-old Finn replied in the deadpan fashion his myriad fans have come to love: “Not much really.”

Vettel, who started from the pit lane after being demoted from third place on the grid due to a fuel infringement in qualifying, was 14th by the end of the sixth lap.

Safety car

The safety car then bunched up the field after being deployed on the ninth lap following a dramatic flying smash when Germany's Nico Rosberg piled into the back of Indian Narain Karthikeyan's slowing HRT.

Rosberg's Mercedes was pitched into the air and over the Indian before plunging backwards into the safety barriers.

Both drivers walked away unhurt but the impact left considerable debris strewed across the track.

McLaren's Jenson Button was fourth ahead of Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado for Williams.
Japan's Kamui Kobayashi took sixth for Sauber with Brazilian Felipe Massa seventh for Ferrari and Bruno Senna eighth for Williams.

Drivers standings (top 10): Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 255 points, 1; Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 245, 2; Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 198, 3; Mark Webber (Red Bull) 167, 4; Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 165, 5; Jenson Button (McLaren) 153, 6; Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 95, 7; Nico Rosberg (Mercedes GP) 93, 8; Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 90, 9; Sergio Perez (Sauber) 66, 10.

Abu Dhabi GP results

Driver    Team        Time           
1. Kimi Raikkonen    Lotus         1::45:58.667
2. Fernando Alonso    Ferrari           +00:00.852
3. Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull           +00:04.163
4. Jenson Button    McLaren           +00:07.787
5. Pastor Maldonado    Williams           +00:13.007
6. Kamui Kobayashi    Sauber           +00:20.076
7. Felipe Massa    Ferrari           +00:22.896
8. Bruno Senna    Williams           +00:23.542
9. Paul Di Resta    Force India           +00:24.160
10. Daniel Ricciardo    Toro Rosso           +00:27.463

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