TMR Team | Nov 6, 2012
  • Vettel reaches first 'match point' of 2012 title
  • Comeback 'iceman' planning long party after win
  • Senna denies worrying about F1 future
 

Vettel reaches first 'match point' of 2012 title

Depending on who he spoke to after Sunday's Abu Dhabi GP, 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 three points to Alonso, with the gap now 10 with two races to go.

Alonso, reverting to his favourite 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 minimised 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 tyres, 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?"

(GMM)

 

Comeback 'iceman' planning long party after win

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."

(GMM)

 

Senna denies worrying about F1 future

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."

(GMM)