Abu Dhabi GP: Hamilton Wins, but the FIA Mess Up the DRS Zones

Craig ChristopherAnalyst INovember 13, 2011

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 12:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren drives during the final practice session prior to qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 12, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

For the first time this year, Red Bull Racing failed to claim a spot on the podium of a Formula One race as Lewis Hamilton claims his third win of the season.

In other news, the FIA are idiots.

Few people would have thought it possible, but the FIA have managed to make to Abu Dhabi Grand Prix even more ridiculous and tedious than ever before.

The advent of DRS was supposed to make it easier for cars to overtake and, when properly applied, it actually works.

The system is divisive. Fans either think it’s a great addition to the sport or that it’s an abomination that signifies for all to see that the rule makers have failed in making the sport more exciting and have instead resorted to gimmicks.

DRS has, however, proven itself useful on the tracks where overtaking is notoriously difficult and could have done again in Abu Dhabi had the brains trust at the FIA not got in the way.

They took the decision that if one DRS zone is good, two must be brilliant.

The problem is that the two zones were lined up one after the other with separate detection zones.

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The end result?

If a driver completed a pass in the first DRS zone then the car that they had just passed would cross the next detection line well within the one-second gap, allowing them to return the favour in the following DRS zone.

It neutralized the impact of the system altogether, so why bother?

It’s the sort of genius that drives fans to distraction.

Putting the idiotic DRS decision to aside, the 2011 version of the race at least delivered some drama and intrigue—unlike the appalling effort last year.

The drama started at the second corner when Sebastian Vettel had his first bit of bad luck for the year, spinning off with a mysterious flat tyre and the subsequent damage put him out of the race.

This allowed Lewis Hamilton to assume the lead, which he held all the way to the chequered flag with a flawless and controlled driving demonstration.

Elsewhere, Fernando Alonso delivered his Ferrari to another unlikely second position while Jenson Button secured the final spot on the podium by staying out of trouble.

Mark Webber was one of the victims of the DRS madness, passing Button early only to lose the spot again in the next zone. He picked up fourth place, but only after going to a three pit stop strategy.

Felipe Massa finished fifth after a spin late in the race. We are yet to hear how Massa will manage to blame the spin on Hamilton (given that they were three-quarters of a lap apart).

The only other thing of interest was the slightly deranged performance of Pastor Maldonado. He seemed incapable of seeing blue fags warning him of approaching leaders.

He received a drive through penalty for his first effort and rejoined the race, only to get in the way of Massa and Webber. The second transgression will cost him grid-places at the next race.

So Hamilton wins his third race of the season, Vettel has a DNF and very little else of interest happened.

Why did they bother?

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