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DATE News (chronologically)
11/05/12
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday  UPDATE Added Video of Raikkonen telling crew to leave him alone.

11/05/12
  • Vettel can clinch third straight title in Austin
    Vettel reaches first 'match point' of 2012 title
  • Senna denies worrying about F1 future
  • Comeback 'iceman' planning long party after win
  • Hulkenberg: It was too late to avoid a collision
  • Massa annoyed with stewards after Webber incident
  • Kobayashi sixth despite having no KERS
  • Interview with Abu Dhabi winner Kimi Raikkonen
  • Kubica on comeback trail
  • Raikkonen says Lotus can expect further radio rebukes

Vettel reaches first 'match point' of 2012 title
(GMM)  Depending on who he spoke to after Sunday's Abu Dhabi grand prix, Fernando Alonso insisted his glass was either "half full" or "completely full".

Whichever, the Spaniard's public optimism and fighting spirit cannot be higher, but he did confess to at least some disappointment after the sweaty race at Yas Marina.

"It's true that with Sebastian (Vettel starting) last there was an opportunity to reduce the gap more significantly," said the Ferrari driver.

Indeed, while mid-race calculations had Alonso theoretically back in the lead of the championship, Red Bull's Vettel - having started in the pitlane - ultimately finished third.

He therefore only lost 3 points to Alonso, with the gap now 10 with two races to go.

Alonso, reverting to his favorite samurai quotations, remains defiant.

"A samurai works without hesitation, without fatigue or the slightest discouragement until the goal is complete," he wrote on Facebook.

But Alonso might be forgiven for feeling slightly discouraged, after Vettel struggled through the field early on and then had to do it all after crashing through a polystyrene trackside marker whilst behind the safety car.

Lewis Hamilton, who was leading in his McLaren until it broke down, said: "I got to watch the (rest of the) race and it was incredible how Sebastian came up from the pitlane.

"He must be the luckiest person in formula one."

Hamilton is referring to how the deployments of the safety car minimized the damage of Vettel's disrupted charge through the pack.

"Vettel got lucky with the second safety car," agreed Hamilton's McLaren teammate, Jenson Button.

"He did very well on the prime tires, the car is quick, but if he didn't have those two safety cars he wouldn't have been up there."

Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali is quoted by Tuttosport: "Vettel had a great race but he was lucky with the two safety cars."

Red Bull figures, however, unashamedly extolled Vettel's drive.

"I think any doubts anyone has about his ability to fight were ended today," boss Christian Horner said.

Dr Helmut Marko added: "Sensational, incredible.  I can't remember anything like that from the past 20, 30 years," he told German television.

Whatever the analysis, Vettel has achieved his first 'match point' of the 2012 championship, meaning that if he scores 15 points more than Alonso in Austin, he will secure the title with the Brazil finale to spare.

A non-score for Alonso in Austin, for example, will mean Vettel can wrap up his third consecutive drivers' crown with a podium finish.

"First we want to exhale and relax for a few days before we focus again," Vettel told F1's official website.

"And yes, if the chance is there, why not make it game, set, match?"

Senna denies worrying about F1 future
(GMM)  Bruno Senna has denied his concerns about the future are contributing to a loss of form towards the end of the 2012 season.

Although finishing eighth in Abu Dhabi, the Brazilian qualified an awful fifteenth on Saturday and, early in the race, got caught up in a first lap incident.

"It was a very tough weekend," he said.

It is reported that Williams opted against taking up the automatic 2013 'option' in Senna's existing contract.

The British team appears likely to pair Pastor Maldonado with Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas next year, leaving Senna's backers in talks with Caterham and Force India.

Asked by Brazil's TV Globo if the uncertainty over his future is affecting him on the track, Senna answered: "You don't think about it.

"I'm thinking only about what is happening at the race weekend, from a technical point of view."

Comeback 'iceman' planning long party after win
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen returned to the winner's circle in Abu Dhabi in his inimitable style.

Once derided for being robotic and shy, the 2007 world champion is now widely loved for being the 'iceman' -- a nickname dreamed up by the press but now tattooed with pride on the Lotus driver's forearm.

On Sunday, after scotching the view that F1 comebacks cannot be successful by driving to victory, he had scolded his engineer mid-race for talking in his ear about the gap to second place.

"Just leave me alone," he said.  "I know what I'm doing."

Afterwards, he was asked on the podium by his former McLaren teammate David Coulthard to let the world in on his emotions.

"Not much, really," said 33-year-old Raikkonen.

"Last time you guys (the media) were giving me shit because I didn't smile enough, so maybe this time (you will) again."

Later, he told another reporter: "Like I said, I'm happy, but there's nothing to jump around about."

Raikkonen admitted, however, that despite drinking rose water on the no-alcohol Arab podium, he would find somewhere else to celebrate later on Sunday.

Asked 'how many days' he will dedicate to celebrating the win, he answered: "As long as I manage to get myself to the next race I think the team is happy."

And when told it was the first time a 'Lotus' had won a grand prix since Ayrton Senna in 1987, Raikkonen was completely unsentimental.

"It's a name," he said.  "It's the same team since Fernando (Alonso) was there (as Renault), just a different name.

"It's a great name for us, (a) good past but you know I race for the team whatever the name is, I don't really care."

Hulkenberg: It was too late to avoid a collision
Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix featured 55 laps containing various overtakes, two Safety Car periods and several accidents. For Nico Hulkenberg, he saw only one corner of Yas Marina as the German was taken out of proceedings at the very first turn.

Bogging down from tenth on the grid, Hulkenberg found himself squeezed between team-mate Paul di Resta and Bruno Senna; this damaged his front wing and caused him to plough straight on into the Williams, which managed to rejoin and score points.

“I made quite a bad start and had a poor run going into the first corner,” Hulkenberg recalled. “Then I just got sandwiched by the cars around me go. I think there was my team-mate, a Sauber and a Williams around me and there was not enough space. I tried to back out of it, but it was too late. There was contact between the cars and that was my race over.”

Despite more incidents of his own, di Resta recovered from an early pit-stop and took advantage of the Safety Cars. He scored two points for ninth.

Massa annoyed with stewards after Webber incident
Felipe Massa was left feeling more than a little aggrieved after Mark Webber escaped a penalty in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The pair came to blows at Turns 11 to 13 on the 26th lap, with Webber cutting the chicane before Massa spun down the order.

“We were fighting for the position and he tried to overtake me on the outside,” the irritated Brazilian explained to reporters. “I was inside and even a little bit in front of him. We touched wheels on the exit of the corner, he cut the chicane and when I was taking the chicane he passed right in front of me and caused an incident. That is not allowed.

“I’m sorry to say it so directly but, in our racing rules, when you cut a chicane and cause an incident that is not allowed. He needs to have a penalty. If he doesn’t have one yet, he needs to have one.”

Having reviewed the incident, stewards including ex driver Derek Warwick decided that neither Webber nor Massa were at fault and so no action was taken over the moment.

“That’s wrong," Massa responded. "I think we need to really understand why. We need to see who is upstairs doing the stewarding and it’s important to know.”

Kobayashi sixth despite having no KERS
Kamui Kobayashi put on a highly commendable performance to finish sixth in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Japanese driver, who had started 15th, collected the eight points despite not having the use of KERS. Ahead of 2013, he continues to look for sponsors which will be a critical part in deciding whether or not he stays at Sauber.

“It was a very tough race and I’m really happy I was able to get those eight points for the team,” he said, having also moved to within eight points of team-mate Sergio Pérez, despite the latter picking up two more podium finishes. “To fight for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship in the remaining two races will be very exciting.

“Unfortunately, I could not use the full performance of the car. There was a problem with downshifting, which meant I could not recharge the KERS properly and didn’t have full boost. Otherwise my race went well; I had a good start, while the team did a great job in terms of timing, strategy and the pit-stop.”

With just the American and Brazilian events to go in 2012, Sauber sits only 12 points behind Mercedes-Benz for a top five position in the standings. The silver arrows have now failed to score points for four straight Grands Prix.

Interview with Abu Dhabi winner Kimi Raikkonen
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix may have featured all kinds of incidents, but Kimi Raikkonen’s was a faultless performance. The 2007 World Champion, who started fourth on the grid, stormed to his first race victory since returning to Formula 1 at the start of this season. Ahead of the partying at Yas Marina, the Finn shared his feelings.

How does it feel to take your 19th win?
I’m very happy for the team – and myself – but mainly for the all the crew here and everyone at Enstone. It’s been a hard season and I feel this win is well deserved for everyone and just what we need. It’s also something great for all the fans who have continued to support me and the team. We’ve not had the easiest time in the last few races. Hopefully this gives everyone more belief - not just for everyone working at the track and at the factory, but for everyone behind the scenes running the team. I hope this can turn around the tables and give us many more good races and wins; if not this year, then next year.

How does this win stack up against the other 18?
To be honest, it’s just another win on the list for me. It’s great of course, because it’s been a few years, but the wins prior to this one were very similar; we didn’t have the best car, but we fought and still won. It’s great to win now, so people will stop asking me if I can win or not, and at least it makes it a bit clearer!

Is it good that you’ve answered that ‘when’s the win coming’ question?
I never cared really what people think. If I don’t finish the next race, then they’ll think that I’m as bad as that race. I’ll just do my thing and if I’m happy with what I’m doing and it’s the best it can be for the team, then that’s that. So I really don’t care if people are thinking differently of me now than what they did three hours before the race.

Tell us about your start (shooting from fourth position to second).
It was key to get behind the faster car and not get stuck behind cars that weren’t as fast as us. We had a good position on the grid and we made it better at the start. I think we’ve had some very good starts before and, compared to the others, today was a pretty normal start on our scale. I managed to pass Mark (Webber) and Pastor (Maldonado) before I changed into second gear. I’d had a very good practice start on the warm-up lap, so I knew this was going to be good.

How long will your celebrations of this win last?
I have almost two weeks. As long as I manage to get myself to the next race, I think the team is happy. Maybe I will try to get home at some point.

Kubica on comeback trail
Poland's Robert Kubica, whose Formula One career was put on hold after a near-fatal rally accident, will drive a Citroen rally car in two events in France and Italy during November.

Citroen said the former BMW-Sauber and Renault F1 driver would drive a C4 WRC car, similar to one that took Sébastien Loeb to many of his nine world titles, in the Rally di Como from 15-17 November and the Rallye du Var in France the following weekend.

Kubica, 27, has not driven a Formula One car since a rally accident in February 2011 left him with severe arm and leg injuries. However he won two minor rallies in Italy in September and has competed in the Rally du Var twice previously.

"I can't wait to drive a car that is quick and has been as successful as the C4 WRC," the Pole said. "Rallying is one of my favorite forms of motor sport."

Kubica, a good friend of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, said in September he is still hoping to return to Formula One and will not give up, even if he might never be at the same physical level as before. The Guardian

Raikkonen says Lotus can expect further radio rebukes
Kimi Raikkonen has politely warned his Lotus team that it "won't be the last time" he delivers a rebuke of their radio messages if they disturb him during the course of a race.

The Finn's agitated response to two messages from his race engineer on his way to his first victory for the team proved one of the many highlights of Sunday's epic twilight race.

On the first occasion, when being informed of the gap to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso behind him, Raikkonen curtly replied "just leave me alone, I know what I'm doing". Then, later in the race while behind the second safety car, Raikkonen appeared even more stirred by a reminder to warm up all four tires: "Yes, yes, yes, yes, I'm doing all the tires. You don't have to remind every second."

Raikkonen was duly asked about those exchanges after the race and the 33-year-old, whose enigmatic attitude is almost as famous as his driving, said that while he was aware that the Lotus pit wall were only trying to help him, he wasn't particularly fond of repeat messages.

"It's a normal thing. It's the same with all the teams," he said after his 19th career win.

"For sure, they are just trying to help but if you keep saying the same things two times a minute, I'm not so stupid that I cannot remember what I'm doing. It's a normal thing, they are just trying to help.

"I know what I'm doing. I will ask for help if I need it. It's not the first time and it won't be the last time. It's been many times with other teams also but they are all there to help you and try to put you in the best position. Different people like different things."  Sky Sports

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