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F1: Hamilton Wins At Abu Dhabi, Button Still Second In 2011 Title Photo:
 
 
Mike Stevens | Nov, 14 2011 | 0 Comments

Lewis Hamilton declared himself "ecstatic" on Sunday as he looked to put his miserable 2011 season behind him.

But while the 2008 world champion - who has been in a depressed mood at recent races following his split with girlfriend Nicole - won in Abu Dhabi, his McLaren teammate Jenson Button had arguably a bigger reason to smile.

Third placed Button, wearing a "Movember" moustache this weekend and without the use of KERS in the race, sealed the lid on his second place in the points standings behind Sebastian Vettel.

Fittingly in F1's quest for ultimate glory, the Briton said he was "relatively happy".

Indeed, with the real title battle over, it was the fact Hamilton began to put his personal 'bubble' back together rather than the actual race win that had him so happy this weekend.

"This weekend I feel fresh and I have a clear mind. Racing is a mental thing and, if you think you are ready, then you can move forward," he said earlier.

Not going forward on Sunday was Red Bull's Vettel, whose bad day started when he discovered that one of his heroes - Paul McCartney - had left Yas Marina before he could meet the former Beatle.

Then, from the front of the field on the opening lap, he suffered a rare retirement.

"We need to find out why, maybe I cut the kerb at a funny angle," said the German, after the flailing tyre from the surprise puncture badly damaged the suspension on the way back to the pits.

(GMM)

Pos # Driver Car Laps Gap Difference Reason
1 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 55
2 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 55 8.457 8.457
3 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 55 25.881 17.424
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 55 35.784 9.903
5 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 55 50.578 14.794
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 55 52.317 1.739
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 55 75.964 23.647
8 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 55 77.122 1.158
9 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 55 101.087 23.965
10 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 54 1 lap 1 lap
11 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 54 1 lap 13.321
12 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 54 1 lap 0.710
13 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 54 1 lap 3.852
14 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 54 1 lap 23.333
15 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 54 1 lap 11.305
16 9 Bruno Senna Renault 54 1 lap 28.470
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 54 1 lap 3.345
18 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 53 2 laps 1 lap
19 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 53 2 laps 29.272
20 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 53 2 laps 32.001
Not classified
22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 48 7 laps 5 laps Electrics
18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 19 36 laps 29 laps Hydraulics
25 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 18 37 laps 1 lap Brakes
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1 54 laps 17 laps Suspension
 

Hamilton tips Rosberg to keep edge over Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton has tipped Nico Rosberg to retain his edge over Michael Schumacher at Mercedes.

Rosberg, a former karting teammate of 2008 world champion Hamilton and now a F1 rival, has signed on for the next few years with the German team, where in 2010 and 2011 he was the standout performer alongside the great Schumacher.

"I know Nico very well," Briton Hamilton is quoted by the Cologne newspaper Express, "and I knew he would do everything to beat Michael. And he did it.

"I think he's going to keep that gap now. Nico is hungry, there is no doubt about that. He has not won the championship or even any races but he is still young.

"When Michael was in the same phase in his career, maybe he had the same hunger and he won seven world championships and 91 races.

"I don't think it's possible for him to be as hungry as he was before," added Hamilton.

But while there is no doubt Schumacher has upped his game in the second half of 2011, some commentators still believe he should return to retirement at the age of 42 and open his cockpit for a new charger.

Gerhard Berger, an early contemporary of Schumacher's ultra-successful initial career, does not agree.

"He has won seven world championships and earned the right to do what he wants," the former Ferrari and McLaren driver told Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

"The market regulates itself and if he was not good enough still, he would not still be there."

(GMM)

 

Branson still involved after Virgin name change

The team currently known as Virgin has moved to allay the fears of sponsors who worry Sir Richard Branson is pulling out of F1.

Next year, the team will revert to the chassis name of its Russian supercar partner Marussia, after two seasons as Virgin Racing and regular circuit appearances by the famous brand's figurehead Branson.

Referring to potentially worried sponsors, team sporting director Graeme Lowdon said:

"They specifically joined us because they wanted to get closer to the Virgin group of companies and have access to that, or because they wanted to align their brand with Virgin, or even have access to Richard.

"From that point of view nothing has changed as we have confirmed to them the Virgin name will still be on the car, and Richard will still come to races," he told the Press Association in Abu Dhabi.

(GMM)

 

Red Bull not signing proposed cost agreement - Marko

Dr Helmut Marko has bad news for the FOTA alliance and the next inter-team resource restriction agreement (RRA).

Red Bull, accused of not sticking to the existing cost-limiting deal, is not signing the new one that is currently on the table.

"It is totally full of holes. Anyone can simply circumvent the rules. So we are not signing that," the team's consultant Marko is quoted by Bild newspaper.

The paddock pressure on Red Bull is rising, with some rivals complaining loudly that the potential collapse of the FOTA group is a huge risk amid the worsening Eurozone crisis and ahead of the crucial talks over the next Concorde Agreement.

"It's the same for every team when they are at the top. But we just have to do what we can to stay there," insisted Marko.

For instance, off the track in Abu Dhabi, contrary to Red Bull's real wishes, the highly controversial blown exhaust rules were further tightened ahead of 2012.

The trick was pioneered by the team and said to be a great part of Sebastian Vettel's dominance this year.

"So, without the exhaust we just have to come up with something new," said Marko. "And we've got Adrian Newey."

The Briton is working hard on the dominant RB7's successor.

"I expect that it will be ready for the first test in Jerez," said Vettel, referring to the opening 2012 pre-season event in February.

"At the moment we are on schedule," he added.

(GMM)

 
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