Sadly, for pole-sitter and current world champion Sebastian Vettel, the race ended just seconds after the start when a puncture saw him spin out as he led into the second turn. It was his first retirement since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix, bringing to an end Red Bull Racing’s run of 19 consecutive podium finishes.
Following Vettel’s exit, Hamilton took to the lead where he had to fight tooth and nail to hold off Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso who managed to move from fifth to second on the opening lap. At the last round of pit stops, Alonso stayed out for two laps longer than Hamilton--which brought him close enough to try and pass. The Spaniard finished second, scoring his 10th podium of 2011 and his first in Abu Dhabi: the only current race where he has not been in the top three.
McLaren’s other driver, Jenson Button, took out third place after managing to hold off Vettel’s Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber.
They were followed by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa in fifth and the two Mercedes GP drivers Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher in the sixth and seventh spots, respectively. Adrian Sutil of Force-Indian rounded out the top eight.
In the Drivers' Championship Sebastian Vettel’s lead remains at 374 points, followed by Jenson Button on 255 points and Fernando Alonso on 245 points. Race winner Lewis Hamilton is fifth on the ladder with 227 points.
In the Constructors’ Championship Red Bull Racing’s tally moves up to 607, followed by McLaren on 482 points and Ferrari on 353 points.
Teams now head to South America for the 2011 Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix taking place on the November 27, the final round of the season.