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Rediff.com  » Sports » Cruel luck ends Vettel's Abu Dhabi streak

Cruel luck ends Vettel's Abu Dhabi streak

Last updated on: November 14, 2011 08:46 IST

Cruel luck ends Vettel's Abu Dhabi streak

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Double Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel suffered his first retirement in more than a year on Sunday after a sudden tyre blowout at the first corner of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

- Hamilton wins in Abu Dhabi

The 24-year-old German, who clinched this year's title with four races to spare, had made a lightning getaway from a record-equalling 14th pole position of the season. 

Seconds later his race was over, at the same floodlit Yas Marina circuit where last year he won to become the sport's youngest champion after also winning the inaugural race there in 2009. 

Vettel nursed the car back to the pits but, with the tyre shredded and the rim grinding on the asphalt, it was too badly damaged to continue. 

"It's just a good job it happened this year rather than last year, I guess," said a philosophical team boss Christian Horner. 

"We were in a great position to win the race today...he'd done everything right. It was cruel luck really," he added.


Image: Sebastian Vettel
Photographs: Getty Images
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Vettel's last retirement was in South Korea last year

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The retirement ended Vettel's hopes of matching Michael Schumacher's record of 13 wins in a single season as well as a hat-trick of Abu Dhabi victories. He currently has 11 wins from 2011 with only the Brazilian Grand Prix remaining.

It also ended a run of seven podiums and 19 successive points finishes stretching back to last season.

Vettel's last retirement was in South Korea in October last year, again while leading. "At the exit of the first corner everything seemed fine but when I turned in I tried to catch the car but I couldn't do it any more and I spun off. On the way back (to the pits) I damaged the suspension so badly," he said.

"I don't know what happened. We lost pressure all of a sudden out of the exit of Turn One. I don't why. There is nothing that I did differently to any of the other laps. We need to find out why, maybe I cut the kerb at a funny angle."


Image: Sebastian Vettel drives during Abu Dhabi race
Photographs: Reuters
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'He was quite interested to see how a race operates'

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Horner said the team and tyre maker Pirelli were investigating, theorising that there could have been debris from an earlier support race.

Vettel hung around in the garage afterwards and tried to turn the incident to his and the team's advantage by joining the bosses on the pit wall.

"I think he was quite interested to see how a race operates and offer his feedback to try and help (team mate) Mark (Webber) get the best result possible," said Horner.

"He wanted to see how we make decisions in the race, he's like a sponge for that kind of thing," he added.


Image: Sebastian Vettel
Photographs: Getty Images
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Great Run

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Webber was in third place until the penultimate lap, when he had to pit to change to the harder tyre and finished fourth.

That ended Red Bull's astonishing run of 19 races in a row on the podium. "That's why we've celebrated every single victory with the satisfaction that we have, because winning grand prix is tremendously difficult," said Horner.

"It needs everything to come together and it's been the most remarkable season for the team.

"To have won 11 of the 18 so far, to have achieved all but one of the pole positions, to have won both world championships...it would have been great to have maintained our unbeaten run here but unfortunately...it was not to be."


Image: Mark Webber
Photographs: Getty Images
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