Vettel Pilots from Pits to Podium – Clinches 2012 DHL Fastest Lap
After a qualifying infringement sent him to the back of the grid, Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel picked off drivers one by one on his way to a place on the podium. His effort also scored him his fifth Fastest Lap of the season.
Sebastian Vettel had to be fast on Sunday at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. And his team made a masterful move help him. They elected to start him from the pits where they could legally make some changes to his car, something teams are only allowed to do after pitting the first time. Technically it was Vettel’s first pit. The changes made his car faster on the straightaways, making it easier to overtake. With the entire field ahead of him at the start, it was just what he needed.
That and a bit of luck.
A few places fell into Vettel’s lap right away as several drivers retired early and others had to pit prematurely, after which he began picking off his opponents one by one. By lap 2 he was 18th, lap 3 he was 16th and lap 4 he was 14th.
He moved himself up to 8th place by lap 24 where he was in a great position to again move up even further as the leaders began to pit. And he took advantage of it, finding himself in second behind Raikkonen after lap 32, but the Lotus driver was on fresh tires and pulling away.
After pitting at the end of lap 37 for new tires, the two-time World Champ was still in reach of the podium and it was clear that after all the work he’d done to get there from the back of the pack he wasn’t going to give up now. He fought Jenson Button hard, trading fastest laps until getting past the Brit on lap 52. Then he turned on the speed in a fun-to-watch – but ultimately futile -–effort to catch Ferarri’s Fernando Alonso, who was running second. But for his trouble he walked away with the day’s Fastest Lap and a place on the podium.
His fifth fastest lap of the season puts Vettel three ahead of the day’s checkered flag winner, Raikkonen, with only two races to go, making Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel the winner of the 2012 DHL Fastest Lap!
DHL will present the 2012 DHL Fastest Lap Award to this year’s winner at a special ceremony in São Paulo, Brazil, during the final race of the 2012 Formula 1 season.