I just knew Alonso would give it everything to land a podium position in India last weekend, and he had a cracking race starting 5th and finishing 2nd. Of course Vettel dominated from the outset and we didn’t even see him during the race, obviously the more exciting stuff going on behind him. The fight between Webber and Hamilton for 3rd, right up until the last lap, was incredible, and the way both drivers handled it kept me on the edge of my seat.
You have to spare a thought for Michael Schumacher, his eighth retirement of the season. With only a 50% finish statistic I don’t think he will be retiring from Formula 1 on a high.
This will only be the fourth time F1 has visited the Yas Marina Circuit, with Vettel winning twice and Hamilton once before. The track is probably one of the safest of the season, with lots of slow speed corners. The most dubious spot being the very narrow tunnel at the exit of the pit lane. A few cars have ended sideways here in previous races. There are few over-taking opportunities here because the corners at the end of the straights are so slow, and the lead driver will nearly always have the advantage of taking the favourable line into the next corner.
I personally think this race is all about qualifying and think generally the race will finish in more or less the same order. As the actual race is run in the evening, the teams need to be aware that practice sessions will not predict what happens in qualifying. The track temperature will be significantly different and this will impact on tyre choice. First practice saw the McLaren team-mates as fastest, however second practice belonged to Vettel. With Button, Webber and the two Lotuses following, do not be fooled by Alonso’s 7th place finish, he will most certainly want a finish similar to last week. Only 13 points behind Vettel in the championship it is still within his reach…….and he knows it!!
As Vettel and Hamilton have dominated this circuit from the outset I have to go with Vettel for pole position and to win, with Hamilton a very close second.
Pole Position: Vettel
Fastest Lap: Webber
Top ten finishers: Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Button, Webber, Grosjean, Raikkonen, Massa, Perez and Di Resta.
Only two more races to go, USA 18 November and Brazil 25 November