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Race Review: Abu Dhabi GP

 Kimi Raikkonen grabs his first win in F1 since his return to the sport (photo courtesy of Lotus F1 Team/LAT)

Incredible. Against all odds. Non-stop action. These words sum up the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

First, there was the massive upset at qualifying when Vettel's fuel issue forced him to start from the pit lane. As one of the final two drivers battling it out in the remaining races, starting from essentially P24 is soul-crushing. With Vettel now starting from the pit lane, Hamilton's superb qualifying session put him at the front, not unusual for the former champion, but after a solid first stint he would be forced to retire on Lap 20, an unexpected twist in the weekend's race.

Race Preview: Indian Grand Prix

Paul di Resta (L) and Nico Hulkenberg (R) sign autographs at the Buddh International Circuit (image courtesy Sahara Force India)

The countdown to the end is ON. The Indian Grand Prix is this weekend, and it's the 4th last races of the season. While there is still some wiggle room (albeit very small) for someone like Raikkonen to breakthrough to win the championship title, fortune is smiling on Vettel basedon the last few races.

Race Review: Korean Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel at the driver's press conference following the Korean GP (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

// Korea

The writing is on the wall. The 2012 WDC is now down to a two-horse race after the Korean Grand Prix. Vettel and Alonso are now the frontrunners and will battle it out in the final four races for the title. Raikkonen, Hamilton, Webber and Button are now trailing far behind in terms of points, wondering what could have been and knowing what will never be.


 Hungaroring - July 27, 2011

Mogyoród is just 19kms from the nation’s capital twin-cities (of Buda and Pest, unified in 1873 but always divided by the beautiful Danube River) and still creates interest for motor racing fans keen to comprehend what once lay behind the ‘Iron Curtain’. Sadly, the experience is not as clear cut as it might be and, despite a resident enthusiasm to host the mid-season race, the Hungaroring’s place in the calendar might be in jeopardy.

Red Bull Emerges From Bahrain

// Race Recap

Amidst the complexities surrounding Sunday's race in Bahrain, Red Bull finally took their first win of the season and re-entered the push for the 2012 championship.  Sebastian Vettel took both pole position and the win in Sunday's race with his teamate Mark Webber finishing fourth position for the fourth time in a row (a record of sorts).

A good qualifying session on Saturday began a great weekend for the Red Bull team, starting first and third in the race and setup for a decisive win.  Sebastian had a good start from the grid and maintained his first position, while both Ferrari's jumped quickly into the top ten after a poor qualifying session from both drivers.

Lotus Renault GP's Roman Grosjean also made up some ground quickly, with a superb start for the newcomer, Grosjean jumped from sixth to fourth in the first turn and then finally into second position after passing Webber and Lewis Hamilton of McLaren.

Battling for position to gain world championship points got interesting very early on as Kimi Raikonnen in the Lotus Renault fought with previous race winner Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso before moving into third position.  With nearly half the race complete, Kimi was just behind his teamate Grosjean, chasing Vettel's Red Bull and setting a very quick pace. Raikonnen passed Grosjean on lap 24 of 57 but despite the rumors, there were no "team orders" which forced Grosjean to step aside, Raikonnen's pace was solid and gaining on the leader quickly.

With Rosberg pushing hard to regain last weekend's pace and catch up the the top three, he battled closely with Hamilton, pushing him off track and into the run-off area with a wheel to wheel skirmish which almost cost Hamilton the race.  Action regarding the incident was to be taken following the race, but the FIA Stewards (regulation enforcers) took no action.  Speculation about their abrupt departure from enforcing the incident was cited as a need to leave the track before sundown to avoid entanglement with potentially threatening protests.

Shortly after his close call with Hamilton, Nico repeated the defensive maneuver while also battling with Fernando Alonso; again, no punishment was assigned to Nico for doing so in this situation.

As the counter moved to lap 36, Raikonnen gained on Vettel and was just half a second behind the Red Bull car.  Kimi set himself up to make the move on Vettel on the main straight with both DRS and KERS giving him the speed to do so.  As he made his move to pass on the inside leading up to turn one, Vettel defended with a strong maneuver, keeping Kimi behind for the duration of the race.

The final podium was Vettel, Raikonnen, and Grosjean; all Renault powered cars and the first podium for the Lotus Renault team with returning champion Kimi Raikonnen in 2nd and newcomer, Roman Grosjean in 3rd.

// Mugello Testing

Following Sunday's race, the teams head to Mugello, Italy for a three day test session before the Spanish GP on May 13th.  We'll be following the testing to see how the technical improvements will influence the remainder of the season.

Failure to Launch

Formula 1 fans hoping to see the Lotus Renault E20 launch were met with constant bandwidth errors this morning //Update- High-Res images have been released.

This morning at 10am CST, the Lotus Renault F1 team was scheduled to launch their new E20 car in front of an internet audience around the world. With Autosport Magazine assisting with live commentary and feed, the launch was slated to rival the magnitude of McLaren's presentation, or even Monday's scheduled Red Bull Racing Launch, both via live web-feed.

However, fans were greeted with empty promises and 504 BAD GATEWAY errors as the website intended to host the stream went dead. Now 30 minutes later, the only available video is a guerrilla marketing piece clearly produced over the last few weeks, highlighting Kimi's return to the sport.

So far, the only photos released are on Lotus Renault's Facebook page, but still, in very limited quanitity. 

With the first launch scheduled at a time when both Asia, Europe, and the Americas could reasonably view the presentation, we were excited about the launch and anticipated that Lotus would capitalize on their truly global audience. Unfortunately, the result might be a much more sobering reality; that their fans expect a team to deliver a live feed with one of the largest racing publications when they say so, otherwise fans are left with a sour taste in their mouths.