Raikkonen Rules Abu Dhabi
YAS MARINA, Abu Dhabi — Kimi Raikkonen completed his comeback to Formula One racing with his first victory of the season in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marinas.
Raikkonen, who won the 2007 world championship and later retired, returned to competition this season with the Lotus-Renault team and while he had been in the hunt many times through the season, always came up short.
In Abu Dhabi, he led throughout the race and held off a late charge from Ferrari ace Fernando Alonso to become the eighth different driver to win a Formula One race this season. That’s the most different winners in the series since the 2003 season.
“I am very happy for the team and for myself,” said Raikkonen, who won for the first time since the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix. “It has been a hard season for the team and hopefully this gives a lot more belief for the guys that do the work and the guys that run the team.”
Raikkonen also became the sixth Formula One champion to leave the sport and later return to win again in the world’s most popular racing series.
He held off Alonso by just more than a second. Alonso gained five points on championship leader Sebastian Vettel, but Alonso had to feel like he missed on an opportunity to jump back into the battle for the title.
Vettel had to start last (24th) on the grid after his qualifying effort was disallowed, but he steadily worked his way through the field and finished third to minimize Alonso’s gain.
Jenson Button finished fourth for McLaren with Pastor Maldonado fifth driving for Williams.
Vettel leads Alonso by 10 points (255-245) with two races remaining.