ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – World champion Sebastian Vettel won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in dominant fashion Sunday to clinch a seventh straight victory and 11th of the season.
Although the German had already clinched his fourth consecutive world title at the Indian GP last weekend, he pledged there would be no let up.
Starting from second on the grid, Vettel overtook his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber on the first turn and was untroubled after that.
He beat second-place Webber by 30.8 seconds and Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg by 33.6 seconds. Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was fourth and two-time former champion Fernando Alonso finished fifth – although stewards were investigating the Spaniard for a passing move on Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne.
Vettel now has 37 career race wins and, with two races left, can still match Michael Schumacher’s single-season record of 13 wins in 2004. Schumacher also won 11 races in 2002.
“That was a champion’s drive,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told Vettel over the car radio, with the German driver responding with his trademark high-pitched whooping sound.
“It’s not often you get to drive a car like this. I love you guys, thank you,” Vettel said. Vettel will look to match Schumacher’s record with wins at the U.S Grand Prix in two weeks and the season-ending Brazilian GP a week later.
Webber’s last win was at the British GP in July last year and the 37-year-old never looked like making it 10 career wins.
The Australian has never been known for his pure speed and made a poor start, allowing Vettel to pass him on the outside on turn one as Rosberg came up from fifth to second.