Abu Dhabi Grand Prix thriller: Raikkonen wins, Vettel clings onto title lead

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen claimed his first win for three years on Sunday as Sebastian Vettel clung on to his championship lead by finishing third in a dramatic and incident-packed Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 33-year-old Finn, who returned to Formula One this season after a two-year absence, grabbed his triumph after dominant early leader Lewis Hamilton was forced into retirement by a power failure on his McLaren car.

Raikkonen won convincingly ahead of Fernando Alonso of Ferrari who pushed hard for victory in the closing laps of an extraordinary 55-laps contest that included two prolonged safety car periods and a rash of major accidents.

Defending champion and series leader Vettel started from the pit lane in his Red Bull car and produced one of the greatest drives of his career to finish third.

Vettel's phenomenal drive, including clocking a fastest lap, kept him 10 points ahead of Alonso in the title race with two laps remaining. The German leads on 255 points with Alonso on 245 and Raikkonen on 198.

This was Raikkonen's first win since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix and his 19th career win.

He is the eighth different victor of the season and he gave the Lotus name a victory for the first time since Ayrton Senna won for the original Lotus team in the United States in 1987.

On a hot afternoon, producing a track temperature of 33 degrees Celsius, Lewis Hamilton made a near-perfect start to pull away from his 25th pole position and into a clear lead.

Behind him, Raikkonen enjoyed a fast getaway and seized second ahead of a slow-starting Mark Webber.

Alonso sized up Webber and the Spaniard made his pass on the second straight after a dramatic wheel-to-wheel tussle through turn eight.

On the second lap Vettel in 20th damaged the front wing of his Red Bull in a collision with Bruno Senna's Williams.

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