Vettel aiming for third straight win in Abu Dhabi GP
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Series: Formula One. Date: turn road course. Start Time: 8:00 a.m. (et). Laps: 55. Miles: 189.738. 2010 Winner: Sebastian Vettel Television: Speed.
Two-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel hopes to continue his quest towards a record-winning season in this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Vettel has already won 11 grand prix this year. If the Red Bull driver can win Sunday in Abu Dhabi and then November 27 in Brazil, he would equal Michael Schumacher's season-record of 13 victories, set in 2004. Vettel is also one pole win away from matching Nigel Mansell's 1992 record of 14 poles in a season.
Last week, Vettel was unstoppable in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. The 24- year-old German started on the pole and led all 60 laps, finishing 8.4 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Jenson Button from McLaren. Vettel had one of the most dominating performances in his F1 career.
"The team is enjoying, and we are on a run basically since the beginning of the season, and it is great," Vettel said. "We enjoy every race. The great thing is you walk into the garage every morning, and you see the guys and they are flat out. They are pushing very hard, and there is no sign of getting lazy and not paying attention to detail.
"It is really enjoyable to know that we have already achieved a lot this year, but we are still hungry, so we are not lacking motivation at any stage."
Vettel has won the first two Abu Dhabi Grand Prix -- 2009 and '10.
Last year, Vettel started on the pole and led the way until he pitted on lap 25, allowing Button to take over the top spot. He reclaimed the lead for good after Button made his final pit stop with 15 laps to go.
Vettel entered last year's season-finale at Abu Dhabi 15 points behind Fernando Alonso from Ferrari. Vettel clinched the F1 championship by just four points over Alonso, who struggled throughout the race and finished seventh.
The 3.451-mile (5.554-kilometer) Yas Marina Circuit features nine right turns and 12 left turns. It's one of the few circuits on the current F1 calendar that runs in an anti-clockwise direction. The track has also become one of the most popular among drivers and teams.
"The track in Abu Dhabi is special, and this will be our third grand prix there," Vettel said. "The race starts at dusk and finishes at night, which means we have to drive with special helmet visors because of the different light conditions. The other factor is that we drive anti-clockwise.
"The track's a bit like Singapore from the speed, but the asphalt is smoother. There are two special features. One is the passage under the Yas Hotel, where else can you actually drive under your room. The second is the pit-lane exit, which is also special. It's partly underground, and it feels like you're coming out of an underground parking garage when you drive through it."
FIA officials and race organizers are optimistic this year's Abu Dhabi GP will be a better show than last year's event here. Drivers were critical of limited overtaking opportunities. The circuit recently underwent some minor curbing adjustments, but new technical revisions for the cars this year -- the DRS (Drag Reduction System) and the return of KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) -- should make for more passing in the Abu Dhabi GP.
"The race came in for a bit of criticism last year because the cars found it very difficult to overtake," FIA race director Charlie Whiting said. "But there are two DRS zones this year, with two activation points, and they should make a significant difference in that respect."