Rivals say Vettel was lucky in race

Autosport

Sebastian Vettel's rivals believe the Red Bull driver was lucky to be able to recover from a pitlane start to finish third in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Although the Red Bull driver pulled off some great overtaking moves to haul his way near the front of the field, he also enjoyed two moments of good fortune when safety cars came out at suitable times for him.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said that to have two safety cars in Abu Dhabi was unusual, and that Vettel's performance was not just down to car and driver performance.

When asked by AUTOSPORT if he was surprised that Vettel was able to beat his team, Whitmarsh said: "Yes, but I think he was pretty fortunate with safety cars and the general demolition derby that was going on.

"He didn't have to overtake as many of the quicker cars as he should have, as they were already taken out.

"I don't think anyone would have expected that many safety cars here, but they were pretty helpful to him and he did a great job to get through.

"I think he was fairly lucky this weekend one way or another."

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali believes that Vettel's weekend could be viewed as both lucky and unlucky, after he was forced to start from the back because of a fuel problem in qualifying.

"He did a great race and he was pushing like as normal," explained Domenicali. "He had moments where he was lucky or unlucky; it depends on how you see things. It is part of the game.

"He had moments when you see the safety car coming at the right moment. This is something you cannot control.

"He was able to start from the last position and arrive third, so it was a perfect race for him."

Domenicali added that Vettel's eventful weekend was proof that anything can still happen in the 2012 title race, where the reigning world champion now leads Fernando Alonso by 10 points.

"Ten points is a lot, but it could be nothing, it depends how really the race evolves," he said.

"We see here, so many things have happened that anything can happen up until the last moment.

"This is the thing we cannot control but if anything does happen we have to be there."

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