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Vettel wins as Hamilton drops out

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#1 Zorko


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Posted 02 November 2009 - 12:01 PM

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Sebastian Vettel cruised to victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber after Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire early.

The McLaren pole-winner had to stop on lap 20 with a brake problem after which Germany's Vettel romped home with ease in Formula 1's first twilight race.

New world champion Jenson Button launched an attack on Webber late on but had to settle for third.

His Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello was fourth at the new Yas Marina track.

The veteran Brazilian never threatened to make up the three points he needed to overhaul Vettel in the final drivers' standings and the 37-year-old must settle for third place after a season in which he occasionally looked like a potential world champion.
BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld came fifth in Abu Dhabi ahead of Toyota's rookie Kamui Kobayashi, while the Japanese's team-mate Jarno Trulli was seventh with Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi eighth.

Vettel recorded the fourth win of his hugely-promising season and it was also the fourth time Red Bull scored a one-two this year.

The last grand prix of 2009 was a largely uneventful race held at the spectacular and well-received new Yas Marina circuit, in which the Abu Dhabi government has invested huge amounts of money.

It was expected that Englishman Hamilton would cruise to victory after a storming performance in qualifying on Saturday in a McLaren car which he said had not been better all season.

But Hamilton was struggling with rear brake problems from the start and he was never able to get away from the chasing Vettel.

The German leapfrogged into the lead after making his first pit stop two laps later than the McLaren, and Hamilton was called into the pits to retire just a lap later.

"I was locking and locking and locking it was harder than ever to drive the car," Hamilton told BBC Sport.

"It's a shame as the car felt so good these last couple of days, but we haven't had many brake problems this year so there you go. "But I still think the whole team should be really proud of how we have recovered this season."

Vettel dominated from then on, and the race only really lit up with Webber and Button's last-lap duel.

"We had a very good launch and I was close to out-accelerating Lewis, but he disappeared into the distance with his Kers [energy-boost button]," said Vettel.

"But I was able to stay close enough and we knew we were a little bit heavier and I was always catching up in the last sector. That was the secret.

"After he retired I had a little bit of a cushion and was able to pace myself… but the car was brilliant. A pleasure to sit in it. It's a shame the season ends now but it's a perfect day to finish it on a high."

Webber said: "We had a bit of a short fill (at the first stop), so JB could do a good few laps and make up the gap. I thought it was going to be tight at the end.

"We had a good clean fight, on the limit for the two big (braking) stops."

Button added: "It was a fun race. I thought I could pull it off, but Mark is always a difficult person to overtake. It was clean, but on the edge.

"Today has been a bonus after winning the championship in Brazil. A podium is a nice way to end the year."

Barrichello, who looks likely to join Williams next season, suffered from wing damage in a small collision with Webber as the cars made their way through Yas Marina's first turn for the first time - and Button was able to sneak past. The world champion was passed himself after pitting on lap 18, with new boy Kobayashi - standing in for injured Timo Glock for a second time - slipping through cleverly in his lighter car at the third attempt.

Unlike the pack who started at the front, Kobayashi was on a one rather than two pit-stop strategy and could not keep that position gained, but his sixth will be widely admired in F1 circles - especially with many driver line-ups not confirmed for next season.

"The performance was really great," he told BBC Sport.

"It was wet in Brazil and dry here, but for me it's easy to adapt to different conditions."

Acclaim for the Yas Marina circuit was quick to follow after the first race at Formula 1's newest venue.

"The circuit is almost perfect," said Brawn team boss Ross Brawn, who led his charges to the constructors' championship in their debut season. "It's a fabulous facility and we're honoured to be here."

Of the race, he added: "We don't quite have the pace of Red Bull at the moment, they've moved ahead a little bit."


#2 noodle

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 01:15 PM

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Offers Glimpse of Ferrari World

“It’s an organic shape, derived from the structural forms and historic design language of the Ferrari.” Mike Lewis of Benoy Architects was shouting through a bad connection from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, in a car on his way to Ferrari World and a concert by Beyoncé.

Mr. Lewis is the concept designer of Ferrari World, an immense red theme park (with a prancing horse on the roof) and incorporating a Formula One racetrack on Yas Island near Abu Dhabi’s airport. It’s an attraction that lends itself to superlatives, with nearly everything on a grand scale. According to Mr. Lewis, it will have a total area of about 40 acres.

The attraction is about 65 percent finished with a 2010 completion date, but it’s far enough along to host not only concerts in the next few days by Aerosmith, Kings of Leon and Jamiroquai, but also this weekend’s end-of-season Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The event is sold out, with 50,000 spectators expected. (Like the Grand Prix of Bahrain, the Abu Dhabi race is primarily for a television audience.)

The building’s roof features what Keith James of Cincinnati-based Jack Rouse Associates, designer of the theme park’s attractions, describes as the largest Ferrari logo in the world. That prancing horse and the building, which looks something like a bright red curvy amoeba, is clearly visible from planes taking off from Abu Dhabi airport. “Our aim was to capture the essence of the Ferrari brand without being too literal,” Mr. Lewis said. “If you look at a Ferrari 250, you see the double-wave curve from back to front, and you see the same design language in the newer cars, including the California.”

The “multisensory” Yas Island project, a short drive on a new 10-lane highway from Abu Dhabi city, also incorporates both a huge retail mall with 700 shops as well as theme park attractions, including a roller coaster. According to Mr. James, coaster passengers sit in replicas of Formula One Ferraris for an intense two-minute experience. Mr. James, whose other big projects include Volkswagen’s Autostadt in Germany and the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, said the coaster was capable of 150 miles per hour, but may be operated at lower speeds.

Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi is the automaker’s first theme park, but the company has already opened the Ferrari retail store in nearby Dubai. Nearly 100 Ferraris, including several new California models, will parade from Dubai to the racetrack on Friday, according to a news release.

Both Mr. Lewis and Mr. James said that Ferrari was heavily involved in the planning for Ferrari World. The company declined to comment directly on the park, but in a statement it said, “There will be over 20 state-of-the-art attractions at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, each designed to bring to life a different part of the Ferrari story.” Among the attractions are films and water rides.

According to Mr. James, “Ferrari is an aspirational brand, arguably one of the best known in the world, and the company is very exacting in terms of protecting it.” Mr. Lewis puts it slightly differently. “The company was involved in the entire decision-making process,” he said. “It’s a very specific, high-profile brand, and everything has to meet a very high standard.”

It’s not surprising that Ferrari’s first theme park is in Abu Dhabi. The park is owned by Aldar Properties. Mubadala Development Company, which owns 15.8 percent of Aldar, also owns 5 percent of Ferrari. Mubadala, which is itself owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, paid Ferrari $138 million in 2005, according to the Formula1.net blog.

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