Sebastian Vettel came third in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix today at the Yas Marina circuit. The German produced a thrilling performance in the closing stages which saw him take the chequered flag just eight tenths of a second off the winner, Lewis Hamilton.
Kimi Raikkonen was sixth, while thanks to finishing second, Nico Rosberg has secured the Drivers’ crown for 2016.
Maurizio Arrivabene: “This podium finish is a boost to the motivation of the whole team, for the people back home, who have been working so hard since this summer, and for the ones at the track, who never gave up. It’s clear that we did not reach the targets we had set for ourselves, yet this last race shows that something is moving in the right direction.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was not an easy race for me, the car was pretty ok, but I suffered with the tires, to make them last. I was constantly trying to keep the fronts alive. After the start I was in a good position, but I struggled with the first set of Softs: at the end of the stint they kind of came back and improved, but we kept losing places. When Seb came close to me, I knew that he was on a different strategy and I let him go. Obviously it has been quite a tricky year, far from what we want as a team, but lately we have been working well, doing the right things. Now we need to keep working this way and hopefully next year, with the new car, we’ll be where we want to be.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I think it was an important race for us today: in the final laps, I would have liked to gain two more positions, because the speed was there; but it was difficult to make the move because the car in front also benefited from a tow. Nevertheless as a team we deserve this podium, and I hope it gives some momentum to all of us. It has been a tough year, with lots of up and downs, so I am really happy with this result. About our global performance in 2016, I think we don’t need to find any story or invent something. I think we expected more; but after the first half, where we could have scored more points, I think we showed real strength by coming back. In the last couple of Grand Prix we had very good race pace, always enough to match Red Bull, and probably even a bit quicker: but that was not the case on Saturdays, and that made Sundays more difficult. Overall we showed the stamina that the team has. The spirit is unbroken, and I know that we will work hard, because Ferrari deserves to come back. All in all we learned a lot, we made a lot of progress. Today is Nico’s day, well done to him. I think you don’t win the Championship by luck, and it is a sign of respect to give him this. He is a deserving champion.