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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2010 ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX - RACE DAY AT YAS MARINA
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Race day at Yas Marina
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Turn 1 is the next title battleground
Turn 1 is the next title battleground © Sutton
11:30 Hello everyone and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live for the final battle in the 2010 FIA Formula 1 world championship - the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from Yas Island.

There hasn't been a situation like this in sixty years - four men have the opportunity to become world champion today at the final race of the season. All the preparation and work to find that last hundredth of a second comes down to this moment, and for Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso the pressure on as their team, fans and a nation's support will be brought to bear over the course of 55 hotly-contested laps around the dusty 5.554 km Yas Marina circuit.

A new world champion will be crowned in just over three hours from now as Jenson Button relinquishes the title. But the Briton may yet have a say in the destination of the silverware - he being the only driver to split the big four in qualifying.

The tension is rising and the shootout will begin at 13:00 GMT, but before then we will set the scene with a review of yesterday's qualifying session, look over the championship permutations and update you on the latest weather on what is a great day in the sport's history.

Vettel secured his 10th pole of the year
Vettel secured his 10th pole of the year © Sutton
11:34 Sebastian Vettel did his chances of claiming a first world championship no harm at all with a stunning pole position at Yas Marina yesterday, as Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber struggled to a disappointing fifth place.

The qualifying hour began with the first period where one 'unlucky loser' usually joins the six drivers from the three new teams to the sport this year on the sidelines. Toro Rosso drivers Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari fought a private battle over the coveted 17th position and this time it was the young Spaniard who won the duel with the late lap to eliminate Buemi.

Typically we see a surprise or two during the second period and the trend continued this weekend as Robert Kubica failed to make the cut for the first time in 22 races. The Pole fell one-tenth of a second short of Michael Schumacher's target time in 10th place and was therefore eliminated along with Kobayashi, Sutil, Heidfeld, Hulkenberg, Liuzzi and Alguersuari.

Meanwhile, the four championship contenders had progressed through the first two periods without any problems whatsoever. But now they would square up to each other in the first major battle of the weekend.

The McLaren and Ferrari drivers quickly exited the pits at the green light to begin the standard two runs on super-soft tyres, but surprisingly Red Bull drivers Webber and Vettel waited. As the first few minutes of the session ticked on, it quickly became clear that the Milton Keynes-based team had changed its strategy and would perform just one run of consecutive timed laps. Both drivers worked on getting their tyres up to temperature and the German duly took over at the front, but there was drama behind him on the road as Webber struggled to find the necessary grip and was unable to plant his RB6 at the front of the grid.

Lewis Hamilton grabbed a sensational front row start and championship leader Alonso secured third, with the knowledge that he would start from the clean side of the circuit. Jenson Button then upset Webber's day even further by clinching fourth with his last lap, as the Australian failed to respond yet again.

Behind them, Felipe Massa did all he could to take sixth with Rubens Barrichello an extremely positive seventh. Michael Schumacher was eighth on his first visit to Yas Mariana, just ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. Vitaly Petrov rounded out a tantalising top 10.

Vettel takes crucial Abu Dhabi pole

Glock was too fast in the pitlane
Glock was too fast in the pitlane © LAT
11:38 Over the last few races, the stewards room has become the place to be on Saturday after the conclusion of qualifying, with many on track altercations being investigated and subsequently punished. But surprisingly, the panel had little to discuss yesterday as the drivers did their best to not get in eachother's way:

• Timo Glock was caught speeding in the pitlane in the first two minutes of final practice. The German clocked 62.4 km/h and was later fined €600.

• Later in the same session Kamui Kobayashi exceeded the 60 km/h pitlane limit by just 1.5 km/h. The Japanese driver received a €400 fine for his efforts.

• Race director Charlie Whiting referred an incident during qualifying between Felipe Massa and Rubens Barrichello to the stewards. Having listened to the drivers explanations of what happened at Turns 6 and 7, the panel decided to take no further action.

• After an informal review of events, the stewards also decided that the misunderstanding between Lewis Hamilton and Massa over track position in Q2 did not even require an investigation.

Four men, one title
Four men, one title - decided this weekend © LAT
11:42 Fernando Alonso left Interlagos last weekend with a useful eight-point advantage in the drivers' championship from Mark Webber, but Sebastian Vettel's victory in Brazil and pole position yesterday puts him right back in the frame.

One stand-out scenario reigns over every other possible permutation; if Alonso finishes first or second then he will be celebrating his third world title tonight, while on the flip side Lewis Hamilton must win the race and hope that Alonso is outside the top 10 - with the Red Bulls also in trouble - to have any hope of snatching his second championship from the jaws of defeat.

The Red Bull drivers have many possible outcomes surrounding them. If Vettel wins the race and Alonso is fifth or lower then he wins the title, but equally if he is leading on the last lap with Webber second and Alonso third, then the young German is likely to move aside to hand the championship to his team-mate.

The constructors' championship is already settled in favour of Red Bull, and there is unlikely to be a switch between McLaren and Ferrari for the runner-up spot. Mercedes GP and Renault are cemented in a lonely fourth and fifth, but a battle royal has been raging throughout the second half of the season for sixth, with Williams overhauling Force India last weekend at Interlagos thanks to the efforts of Nico Hulkenberg.
World Championship standings, round 18:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Alonso       246        1.  Red Bull-Renault          469
 2.  Webber       238        2.  McLaren-Mercedes          421
 3.  Vettel       231        3.  Ferrari                   389
 4.  Hamilton     222        4.  Mercedes                  202
 5.  Button       199        5.  Renault                   145
 6.  Massa        143        6.  Williams-Cosworth          69
 7.  Rosberg      130        7.  Force India-Mercedes       68
 8.  Kubica       126        8.  Sauber-Ferrari             44
 9.  Schumacher    72        9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         11
10.  Barrichello   47       
11:46 Weather conditions have remained fine and dry since the end of qualifying yesterday evening.

This morning dawned clear and temperatures quickly rose, but over the last couple of hours towering clouds have built up around Yas Marina and the rain radar has picked up on several developing showers across the UAE.

It remains dry for the moment at the circuit, with temperatures reaching the maximum of 30 degrees Celsius.

Any short shower between now and the end of the race would be great news for the fans but extremely bad news for the drivers. A short, sharp shower on Friday soaked the circuit before the start of free practice and, while the track dried out very quickly in the heat, the grip level was subsequently atrocious given the cleaning chemicals on the track surface after several days of intense sweeping.

David Valescchi won the final GP2 race of the year
David Valescchi won the final GP2 race of the year © LAT
11:50 David Valescchi was the surprise victor in this morning's supporting GP2 race thanks to a great start from fourth on the the grid.

Polesitter Josef Kral bogged down and made a poor getaway and Lius Razia ran wide, allowing Valescchi to get the run on Romain Grosjean to take the lead at the exit of Turn 2.

From then on the iSport driver held off a spirited attack from Razia to take his first GP2 victory for over two years.

Yesterday's winner Sergio Perez failed to finish after an over-aggressive move on Sam Bird, while series champion Pastor Maldonado again failed to score points on what is likely to be his final outing of his lengthy 71-race GP2 career.

Valsecchi claims first win in two years

11:54 Keep up to speed with our minute-by-minute commentary on the move with the AUTOSPORT app.

On a train? In an airport? No TV? Get the AUTOSPORT Live experience optimised for your iPhone now:

The AUTOSPORT app

Fans are ready for the title decider
Fans are ready for the title decider © Sutton
11:58 Motor racing enthusiasts love to debate and discuss the action on track, and the live forum at the bottom of the screen is your chance to let everyone know your thoughts on events as they unfold at the circuit.

• Who will get the best start off the line in the race to Turn 1?

• How and where can Jenson Button affect the race?

• And finally the big one. Who will be the 2010 FIA Formula 1 world champion?

Tell the world what you think.

Click the SHOW LIVE FORUM link in the red bar at the bottom of your browser window if you'd like to join the debate.

12:02 The driver's parade took place a short time ago as the four championship contenders faced each other for the first time today. The truck slowly moved round the circuit to the cheers of the fans in the grandstands.

There will also be many cheers across Europe today, with thousands of fans packed into the town squares at Oviedo in Spain and at Maranello in Italy, while many Grand Prix parties are taking place across Germany.

Prior to the parade came the end-of-season driver's photograph. The four contenders shrugged off the pressure with smiles and even the odd joke before the world's snappers, before heading back to the lavish team hospitality units to focus on the race ahead.

AUTOSPORT Awards
The AUTOSPORT Awards will be presented next month © LAT
12:06 This may be the final race of the Formula 1 season, but it is not the end of the fun here on AUTOSPORT Live.

Next month, the great and the good of British and world motor racing will gather together at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London for the AUTOSPORT Awards, celebrating the outstanding achievements and moments of the year.

Join us on Sunday December 5th for a great evening of exclusive live coverage as the Awards are presented and the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner is announced.

The AUTOSPORT Awards

12:10 Here's how the grid will line up for the final race of the year:
Pos  Driver       Car
 1.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault
 2.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes
 3.  Alonso       Ferrari
 4.  Button       McLaren-Mercedes
 5.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault
 6.  Massa        Ferrari
 7.  Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth
 8.  Schumacher   Mercedes
 9.  Rosberg      Mercedes
10.  Petrov       Renault
11.  Kubica       Renault
12.  Kobayashi    Sauber-Ferrari
13.  Sutil        Force India-Ferrari
14.  Heidfeld     Sauber-Ferrari
15.  Hulkenberg   Williams-Cosworth
16.  Liuzzi       Force India-Ferrari
17.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari
18.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari
19.  Trulli       Lotus-Cosworth
20.  Kovalainen   Lotus-Cosworth
21.  Glock        Virgin-Cosworth
22.  di Grassi    Virgin-Cosworth
23.  Senna        Hispania-Cosworth
24.  Klien        Hispania-Cosworth 
Hamilton has been on strong form this weekend
Hamilton has been on strong form this weekend © Sutton
12:15 The front three rows of the grid are where the final twists and turns of this fascinating title campaign will play out, and the intensity will be set to maximum as the grid lines up for the decisive race.

Vettel will once again lead the pack around the formation lap and, thanks to the potent race pace of the RB6, is a likely winner if he is still leading by the end of the first lap.

Hamilton starts from the dirty side of the grid and will be looking to emulate the launch that Sergio Perez pulled off in yesterday's GP2 race to out-drag the polesitter to the first corner - taking the inside line and the lead. The 2008 champion must win to have any chance of the title, so won't be holding back if there is any chance to move forwards.

Points leader Fernando Alonso has the most to lose in an opening lap skirmish so is likely to be cautious - knowing that a broken front wing or a cut tyre could end his title hopes on the spot. Nevertheless, the Spaniard is well-placed to wrap up his third crown today after an impressive final qualifying lap.

Button, the first man out of contention, could act as spoiler-in-chief, particularly for Mark Webber, whose disastrous qualifying effort puts his title campaign on the back foot. The Australian must pass Alonso this afternoon to have a chance of overhauling the Spaniard's points advantage so he needs to clear Button quickly, which could be a tough task at a circuit where the McLaren is working well.

Massa and Barrichello make up a Brazilian supporting cast to the title battle and are well-placed to get in on the action, particularly on the opening lap as the cars funnel into the chicane at Turn 5.

12:20 We continue our look through the field for today's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with another tight midfield scrap. Michael Schumacher is eighth on the grid and out-qualified Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by just 0.073s, so another hard-fought race is expected between the pair. Vitaly Petrov will be in prime position to pick up any pieces from 10th and Robert Kubica will aim to put his poor performance yesterday behind him early on by getting past his team-mate to join the Mercedes squabble.

Adrian Sutil starts the race from 13th and needs to make good early progress to help Force India's points position. The German should benefit from the clean side of the circuit and could force his way past Kamui Kobayashi off the line.

Toro Rosso drivers Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi are set for a long and difficult race from 17th and 18th on the grid. Liuzzi, Hulkenberg and Heidfeld start immediately ahead of them and are likely to have better race pace. This could leave the Toro Rosso duo in a lonely position off the back of the main group, but also well ahead of the new teams.

Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen once again put Lotus at the head of the new teams' race. Timo Glock starts 21st for Virgin Racing and is the only likely candidate to give the T127s a hard time over the race distance. Lucas di Grassi qualified a whole second slower than Trulli in 22nd and could fall away, while Senna and Klien will need to drive the wheels of their HRTs to remain in touch.

Barrichello could seal sixth for Williams today
Barrichello could seal sixth for Williams today © LAT
12:25 While the watching world will understandably be heavily focused on the four-way scrap for the driver's title, there are two other important battles to consider in today's race.

Williams has relentlessly closed down a large points deficit to Force India in a developing battle for sixth in the constructor's championship and Nico Hulkenberg's fine performance at Interlagos last weekend moved the Grove-based outfit ahead by a single point.

Rubens Barrichello has driven very well this season and has scored the bulk of the points. The Brazilian is seventh on the grid and the most likely of the four drivers from these two teams to score today. Force India must stop the rot before it is too late, but Adrian Sutil is 13th with his team-mate Tonio Liuzzi three places further back in 16th.

At the rear of the field Lotus Racing, Virgin Racing and HRT will battle it out today for the coveted 10th place in the constructors standings, with millions in prize and travel money on offer. Lotus holds the position, following Heikki Kovalainen's 12th place finish at the Japanese Grand Prix.

For Virgin and HRT, the target for today is very simple. They must finish 11th or higher with any of their cars to wrestle the position - or Lotus Racing boss Tony Fernandes and his team will be celebrating a sizeable windfall and a big boost to its 2011 campaign.

12:30 The pitlane is now open for drivers to make their way around to the grid. The track will be open for 15 minutes and drivers will make one or more reconnaissance laps to the grid during this time.

They will want to check important basic functions such as the team radio, throttle, brakes, gearbox and engine settings. They may also play around with the front wing level from inside the cockpit.

Any driver not on the grid with 15 minutes to go will be required to start this afternoon's race from the pitlane.

12:31 Sebastian Vettel leaves the Red Bull garage and is on his lap to the grid.

12:32 Both Force India drivers exit the pitlane tunnel and join the racetrack. They are followed out by Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotus.

12:33 Fernando Alonso rolls out of the Ferrari garage to check over the condition of the F10 prior to the race start.

12:35 The weather radar shows no threat of rain during the race, as the showers to the south-west of Abu Dhabi disperse.

12:35 Vettel rolls round to the grid and is pushed towards pole position by his mechanics.

12:36 Massa pits his Ferrari to give himself another lap around to the grid.

12:36 Lewis Hamilton is pushed into his front row slot. The Briton will be aiming to get the jump on Vettel at the start.

12:38 The grid is absolutely packed and there is hardly room to move with team personnel, media and VIPs everywhere.

12:40 Virgin boss Richard Branson is on the grid, chatting with drivers Glock and di Grassi.

12:41 Sunset this evening will be at 17:35 local time. The opening laps will take place in the last of the natural light, before the Musco lighting system takes over as we move into the night.

12:43 Spain's King Juan Carlos is down on the grid and will no doubt offer a good luck wish to Fernando Alonso before the start.

12:44 FIA president Jean Todt is on the grid, in conversation with Williams CEO Adam Parr.

12:45 The pitlane is now closed. Any car not on the grid by now will be required to start the 55-lap race from the pits, after the rest of the field has taken the start.

12:46 The stands are packed at Yas Island and the fans rise in unison to respect the UAE national anthem as it plays out over the public address system.

12:48 An F1-liveried Etihad Airways Airbus A340 makes a low flypast over the circuit.

12:50 The track temperature is 33 Celsius as the sun slowly sets over Yas Marina.

"It's just another race with a bit more at stake. We've got two drivers that can win this world championship with various outcomes. They've just got to go for it."
Christian Horner, Red Bull team boss, speaking to BBC TV

12:53 Sebastian Vettel is back in the car and getting comfortable, as he begins to focus on the intense battle that lies ahead.

12:53 Mark Webber puts on his balaclava and now begins to move towards his RB6 in fifth position.

12:54 Christian Horner is now sharing a brief word with his opposite number at McLaren, Martin Whitmarsh.

12:55 There are five minutes to go until the formation lap gets underway at Yas Island.

12:57 Alonso is told by his team to stay straight for the first 100m off the line as the "grip is very good"

12:57 Vettel stares straight ahead with his visor up,as he focuses on the job he has to do.

12:58 Mark Webber looks determined and ready as he waits for the call to arms.

12:59 The engines fire with a minute to the formation lap.

12:59 Nico Rosberg receives a last good luck handshake as he prepares to move away from ninth on the grid.

13:00 The formation lap begins and Vettel leads the field away from the dummy grid.

13:00 The leading runners are on the super-soft tyres used in qualifying, with Kubica leading the medium tyre challenge from 11th on the grid.

13:00 All 24 drivers leave the grid without problem and now Vettel begins to set his own pace at the front.

13:01 Down the long back straight and Vettel weaves from side to side as he brings the rest round towards the second half of the lap.

13:02 The fans in the main grandstand rise as the leading cars come round the final two corners.

13:02 Vettel slows it down to bunch up the field as he makes his way to the pole position slot.

13:03 The front few rows are in position. The field is forming up nicely. We await the lights ...

Lap 1: The five red lights go out and we are racing at Yas Marina!

Lap 1: Vettel reacts poorly but just manages to keep the lead ahead of the two McLarens and then Alonso.

Lap 1: Onto the back straight it is Vettel from Hamilton, Button, Alonso and Webber.

Lap 1: The safety car has been deployed.

Lap 1: Button is the big winner off the start, demoting Alonso to fourth.

Lap 1: Schumacher and Rosberg were side by side. Schumacher spun and was then rammed head-on by Tonio Liuzzi.

Lap 2: Vettel leads the cars back around as they form up behind the safety car.

Lap 2: There is heavy damage to the Mercedes and the Force India as the safety crews begin to clear away the two cars.

Lap 2: Hamilton is second with Button third, Alonso fourth Webber fifth and Massa sixth.

Lap 2: Rosberg, Petrov, Alguersuari, Senna, di Grassi and Klien are immediately into the pits to change tyres.

Lap 2: Replays of the incident show that Schumacher was wheel to wheel with an attacking Rosberg in Turns 5 and 6. Schumacher then spun after possibly the slightest touch and Liuzzi had nowhere to go.

Lap 2: Hamilton is asking his team to check his car after a close shave with Vettel in the first corner.

Lap 3: Liuzzi's Force India rode up the front of Schumacher's car and the German is extremely lucky to escape injury in that incident.

Lap 3: Alonso will be champion if the order ends like this, with Webber right behind him knowing he needs to overtake the Spaniard.

Lap 3: So six drivers have been into the pits already during this safety car phase. They will be hoping to go the distance on the harder tyre.

Lap 3: Replays from Hamilton's car show he was forced to back out of a move on Vettel at the first corner, with the polesitter taking his line.

Lap 4: Button got a great launch from fourth and Alonso had little chance to defend from the McLaren as he stormed up the inside of the Ferrari.

Lap 4: The accident is now clear and the race should restart pretty soon.

Lap 4: Liuzzi and Schumacher are chatting together as they walk back into the pitlane.

Lap 5: Four marshals are now sweeping cement dust over the area where Liuzzi ran into Schumacher's car.

Lap 5: Behind Massa, Barrichello is seventh with Kobayashi up to eighth, Sutil ninth, Kubica 10th, Heidfeld 11th and Buemi up six places to 12th.

Lap 5: Hulkenberg is 13th ahead of Kovalainen 14th, Trulli 15th, Glock 16th and Rosberg down in 17th after his stop.

Lap 5: The safety car will pit at the end of this lap.

Lap 5: Vettel is told to warm his tyres as he brings the Red Bull around to the restart.

Lap 6: The safety car comes into the pitlane and we are racing once again.

Lap 6: Vettel leads after initially backing up the pack around the hotel before sprinting off out front.

Lap 6: Rosberg has passed Glock for 16th immediately at the restart as they flashed over the line.

Lap 6: Webber is chasing down Alonso. If he can pass the Ferrari, he will hand the title to team-mate Vettel if the other positions are unchanged.

Lap 7: Robert Kubica makes a demon move round the outside of Sutil's Force India to grab ninth place.

Lap 7: Hamilton is keeping pace with Vettel around the first full racing lap and is just 1.2 seconds behind the leader.

Lap 7: Barrichello in seventh is already coming under fierce attack from Kobayashi as the Japanese looks to score points for the fourth race in a row.

Lap 7: Alonso, Webber and Massa are falling off the lead trio slightly in that vital scrap for points.

Lap 8: Kobayashi sends an enthusiastic move on the Brazilian and takes the place but runs wide and Barrichello is back in seventh.

Lap 8: Webber will hope to leapfrog Alonso with an opportunistic pitstop if he can't muscle past on the road.

Lap 8: Vettel sets the fastest lap to pull 1.5 seconds clear of Hamilton's McLaren.

Lap 8: Barrichello is beginning to back up a train of cars behind him in seventh. Kobayashi, Kubica, Sutil and Heidfeld are all in close attendance.

Lap 9: There is little change as the Ferraris sandwich Webber in fifth, slowly pulling away from that scrap between Barrichello and Kobayashi.

Lap 9: Rosberg has passed both Lotus entries and is up to 14th. Petrov follows him through and is now 15th.

Lap 9: That leaves Kovalainen 16th with Alguersuari also past Trulli and into 17th place.

Lap 9: Webber has run wide, brushing the armco with his rear wheel at Turn 19, just after the bridge under the hotel

Lap 10: Red Bull will be frantically trying to see if that has harmed Webber's car, although he is lapping at full speed for the moment.

Lap 10: Rosberg continues the progress and is now 13th having passed Hulkenberg. Buemi is 1.1s ahead of the Mercedes driver.

Lap 10: Alonso has managed to edge away after that moment for Webber, with the Australian coming under some pressure from Massa's Ferrari.

Lap 11: Rosberg is already on the tail of Buemi's Toro Rosso as a battle for 12th place develops.

Lap 11: The super-soft rubber did look fragile over long runs on Friday evening, so the strategists be worried about how long they can stay out.

Lap 12: Kobayashi has now settled in behind Barrichello as they continue in seventh and eighth. Kubica is ninth with Sutil falling two seconds back in 10th.

Lap 12: Red Bull are out for an early stop for Webber.

Lap 12: Webber was struggling on super-softs but he will resume way down the order.

Lap 12: Webber resumes behind Alguersuari in 16th and will struggle to fight through the traffic.

Lap 13: Up front, Hamilton has closed rapidly on leader Vettel.

Lap 13: The gap is just 0.9 seconds as the top two flash over the line.

Lap 13: The front runners will not want to pit just yet as Kubica is up to eighth on hard tyres and just 15.6 seconds off the lead.

Lap 13: Webber is immediately on the gearbox of Alguersuari's Toro Rosso but 16th is a long way from the podium that the Australian needs at this stage.

Lap 14: Ferrari are now out in the pitlane again and the team may react with a stop for Massa.

Lap 14: Massa pits from fifth.

Lap 14: Webber isn't able to drill the Toro Rosso so far and Alguersuari keeps track position.

Lap 14: It's a quick stop for Ferrari and Massa resumes just behind Webber.

Lap 15: Webber now has a great tow from Alguersuari down the long straight ... and he's through into 15th place.

Lap 15: Hamilton continues to hound Vettel for the lead, with the McLaren looking more comfortable on the soft tyres at this stage.

Lap 15: Felipe Massa fell in behind the Webber versus Alguersuari battle and the Ferrari is 16th with Webber up to 14th.

Lap 16: The leaders are currently trying to gap Rosberg in 11th, who will hope to run to the flag after his safety car pitstop.

Lap 16: Alonso is heading in for his stop, just surviving a brush with the barrier at Turn 19.

Lap 16: Webber is making good progress with personal best sector times and is closing down on Petrov rapidly.

Lap 16: Alonso is cleanly away as Heidfeld heads in as well.

Lap 17: Webber sets the fastest lap but it is not quite enough to keep him clear of Alonso.

Lap 18: Vettel and Hamilton continue on for another lap but will have to be careful that they don't start losing time to Alonso on his fresh tyres.

Lap 18: Nick Heidfeld also pitted the Sauber and rejoins behind Massa in 16th position.

Lap 18: Alonso is now 12th after that pitstop and has Webber just 1.0s behind him as a mighty scrap is set between the pair.

Lap 18: Vettel is told by the team they are looking to go a bit longer on the soft tyres.

Lap 19: The pace has improved from Vettel and Hamilton, with the teams keen to clear the midfield pack.

Lap 19: Alguersuari is 14th and now has Massa crawling all over his rear wing.

Lap 19: The Alonso versus Webber battle for 12th is about to catch Petrov.

Lap 19: Kubica is up to sixth now on his hard tyres, but will need to make a later stop for soft tyres.

Lap 20: Barrichello pits his Williams.

Lap 20: Nick Heidfeld sets the fastest lap of the race with 1m44.636s. He is catching the Alguersuari versus Massa fight for 14th very quickly.

Lap 20: Webber is holding onto Alonso as they lap within 0.002s of eachother. They continue in 12th and 13th after those early stops.

Lap 21: Rosberg, who is the first to have stopped under the safety car, is now 25.4 seconds off the lead - just enough for him to be cleared by the lead pair when they stop.

Lap 21: Barrichello rejoins just behind Nick Heidfeld in 16th place as Alonso and Webber now start to play with Petrov up ahead.

Lap 22: Petrov is 10th with Alonso 11th, Webber 12th, then Alguersuari 4.2s back in 13th and Massa is still unable to get past him.

Lap 22: Kubica is now up to fourth and 20.3 seconds off the leaders, who are still battling to get far enough ahead of the Pole for a stop.

Lap 22: Alonso is now on the tail of Petrov and this will bring Webber into play. The gap between the two contenders was 1.1s but that will now shorten.

Lap 23: This is bad news for Alonso with the traffic and he is reminded of that on the team radio. Alonso is told he needs to pass the Russian.

Lap 23: The leaders edge another few tenths clear of Kubica and are under no pressure to pit at this stage with Alonso stuck behind Petrov.

Lap 24: Rosberg is first of those that have stopped in eighth place. Hulkenberg is ninth and has not stopped, then comes Petrov in 10th, Alonso 11th and Webber 12th.

Lap 24: Alonso is on course to finish sixth at the moment, which will cost him the title if Vettel wins. He must now pass Petrov and Rosberg.

Lap 25: Alonso closes up on the back of Petrov and makes a move .... he back out at the very last moment and just avoids the Renault!

Lap 25: Hamilton pits his McLaren.

Lap 25: Alonso slides straight on across the asphalt run-off area and rejoins without damage.

Lap 25: Hamilton resumes but is behind Kubica on the road.

Lap 24: Vettel will surely respond to what will be a quick lap for Hamilton on fresh tyres.

Lap 24: Vettel is told to "give it everything you have got"

Lap 25: Alonso was somehow able to rejoin the track still ahead of Webber and they are still 11th and 12th.

Lap 25: Vettel stops, handing the lead to Button.

Lap 25: Vettel powers out of the pitlane and is comfortably ahead of Hamilton!

Lap 25: Vettel is on course for the win now as he resumes with a battle between Kobayashi and Kubica between him and Hamilton.

Lap 26: Hamilton is now boxed behind Kobayashi as Kubica makes a bold move on the Sauber.

Lap 26: Further back, Alonso is still running 11th and 28.6 seconds off the lead at this time, but that will come down when Button pits.

Lap 26: Button now leads, but is yet to stop.

Lap 27: Vettel comes around in second after that rapid stop, ahead of Kubica, Kobayashi and Hamilton.

Lap 27: Hamilton sends a move on Kobayashi, grabbing fourth from the Sauber man.

Lap 27: Webber has run wide in the Red Bull and is now losing ground to Alonso. The gap between them is 1.3 seconds.

Lap 27: Vettel sets the fastest lap as he begins to enjoy the grip from his fresh tyres.

Lap 28: The action down the field centres around Rosberg who is eighth. He has stopped, with Hulkenberg ninth and yet to pit.

Lap 28: Petrov remains in 10th and Alonso is back on his tail again after that earlier error. Webber is a further 1.0s back in 12th.

Lap 29: Hamilton is trying to find a way around Kubica now but can't make a move stick into Turn 11 on this lap.

Lap 29: He needs to clear the Renault quickly to stop his team-mate taking over second place when Button makes his stop.

Lap 29: When the pitstops shake out Rosberg and Petrov will maintain track position over Alonso. If he cannot pass them his shot at the title will slip away.

Lap 29: Hamilton is right on Kubica's gearbox as they power on to the main straight.

Lap 30: Kubica still has to stop, so Hamilton will finish ahead of him, but the McLaren man is still in danger of losing out to Button.

Lap 30: This amazing scrap continues at the bottom end of the top 10 as we see Alonso running off track for the second time. He quickly rejoins without losing any time.

Lap 30: Hamilton almost rams Kubica's Renault as he tries everything to get past the Pole.

Lap 30: Trulli pits the Lotus from 19th. His team-mate Kovalainen leads the new teams battle in 17th place but has yet to stop.

Lap 31: It's still not enough for Hamilton as he jinks to the inside down to the best overtaking spot at Turn 11.

Lap 31: Vettel sets the fastest lap and will comfortably take over the lead when Button stops.

Lap 32: No position changes in the midfield with Hulkenberg yet to stop in ninth and holding up Petrov and Alonso with Webber a further 1.2s back.

Lap 32: Hamilton is concerned by the tyre wear on his car but is naturally told he can't stop again.

Lap 32: Alonso is clocked at just 0.4s behind Petrov as they flash across the line, but yet again the Renault driver is able to maintain track position in 10th.

Lap 33: Hamilton is 19 seconds behind Button on the road and it will be close between the pair - and Kubica - when the leader makes his stop.

Lap 33: Despite those tyre concerns after causing a flatspot while chasing Kubica, Hamilton sets the fastest first sector.

Lap 34: The midfield train crosses the line and Alonso is consistently losing downforce and running wide over kerbs as he keeps trying to pass Petrov's Renault.

Lap 34: Rosberg isn't exactly away and clear in eighth. He is just three seconds ahead of Alonso on the road.

Lap 34: Kobayashi stops in his Sauber.

Lap 35: Kobayashi rejoins as Alonso gets close again to the back of Petrov but finds no joy. The Spaniard is now 10th after Kobayashi's stop.

Lap 35: Vettel is now just 9.3 seconds behind Button with another fastest lap.

Lap 35: Hamilton has had a moment over the run off approaching the hotel as he becomes frustrated in his chase of Kubica.

Lap 36: 20 laps remain in a tense Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Lap 36: Vettel is on course to take over the lead when Button stops and will take the title unless Alonso can find his way out of the midfield scrap

Lap 37: It is a tense situation in the Ferrari pit as the team watches Alonso's struggle to make headway. Another lap passes without the Spaniard having a clear-cut opportunity to pass Petrov.

Lap 37: Kubica is still just 18 seconds off the lead, but yet to stop, meaning Button will likely fall in behind the pair if he stops now.

Lap 37: Hulkenberg pits the Williams from eighth and that promotes Alonso and Webber.

Lap 37: Hulkenberg takes the super-soft tyres and is away but falls to the back of that midfield pack.

Lap 38: Hamilton is back on the gearbox of Kubica's Renault, who remains on the hard tyres he started with from 11th on the grid.

Lap 38: With Hulkenberg out of the way Alonso now has the two cars he needs to pass most directly ahead of him.

Lap 38: Vettel sets the fastest lap and is now just 6.6 seconds behind leader Button.

Lap 38: Kubica's pace remains strong on those hard tyres and he is getting in the zone where he will emerge ahead of the battling Petrov and Alonso

Lap 38: Buemi pits the Toro Rosso and and rejoins at the back of the midfield pack.

Lap 39: As Renault are set to profit from Kubica staying out as long as possible, he is unlikely to pit - releasing Hamilton - any time soon.

Lap 39: Further back down the road, Massa is also unable to do anything at all about Alguersuari. They now run in 10th and 11th positions.

Lap 40: Kubica is now 20s clear of Petrov and Alonso, needing just a couple more seconds to clear the scrap when he pits.

Lap 40: Rosberg is beginning to edge away from Petrov and this is becoming critical for Alonso. They are sixth, seventh and eighth.

Lap 40: Button pits, handing the lead to Vettel.

Lap 40: Button resumes in fourth, behind that scrap between Kubica and Hamilton.

Lap 40: Button is likely to be quick on his fresh tyres as he homes in on the battling pair ahead of him.

Lap 41: Rosberg has pulled out a 2.3s gap over Petrov. Alonso is now eighth and still tucked up behind the Renault driver, with Webber ninth.

Lap 41: Vettel leads from Kubica, Hamilton, Button, Sutil, Rosberg, Petrov and Alonso.

Lap 42: Sutil will fall behind Alonso when he stops, but Kubica is looking like he could resume ahead of the Spaniard with a late stop.

Lap 42: Vettel reports he has a problem with the radio but the young German is still on course for the win and world title.

Lap 43: Button sets the fastest lap as he enjoys fresh tyres on the McLaren.

Lap 43: On board with Alonso and he is told over the radio to 'use the best of your talent' as he continues to try and find a way past Petrov's Renault.

Lap 43: Kubica is now over 23 seconds clear of Petrov and Alonso and is on course to be another man taking points off the Spaniard.

Lap 45: Webber has fallen back to two seconds behind Alonso and it's all slipping away for the Australian. Meantime, Alonso keeps at it but Petrov keeps track position in seventh.

Lap 45: Hamilton, meanwhile, is still stuck behind Kubica but the Renault still has strong pace after 45 laps on the harder tyre.

Lap 46: Renault's hard-tyre strategy has worked well today, with the Q3 driver lock-in on soft tyres having a crucial impact on today's order.

Lap 47: The Renault crew are preparing to pit Kubica.

Lap 47: This will be close for the Pole to resume ahead of team-mate Petrov.

Lap 47: Timo Glock has stopped out on track in the Virgin. Kovalainen leads the new teams battle in 17th with a 21.1s gap over di Grassi.

Lap 47: Kubica is quickly away on his soft tyres and Kubica resumes just ahead of Petrov.

Lap 48: Replays show Kubica did run wide over the markings on the pit exit, something that may interest the stewards.

Lap 48: Hamilton grabs the fastest lap as he finally gets clear air.

Lap 48: Vettel leads by 11.4 seconds over the McLaren, with Button third Rosberg fourth, Kubica fifth - ahead of Petrov and Alonso.

Lap 49: Sutil finally pits the Force India and rejoins the race but he falls well outside the top 10 in 13th place.

Lap 50: So with all the stops done Vettel leads with 9.9s over Hamilton. Button is third, Rosberg fourth, Kubica fifth and Petrov sixth.

Lap 51: Alonso is seventh and needs some do-or-die efforts now but it's beginning to slip away from the Spaniard.

Lap 51: Webber is eighth and now encouraged on the team radio to have a go at Alonso.

Lap 51: Vettel replies to Hamilton's pressure and extends the gap out to 10.3s up front.

Lap 52: The Petrov, Alonso and Webber trio continue to drone round with none of them able to generate a clear passing opportunity.

Lap 52: It's a disaster for Alonso and Webber. They came into this event first and second in the championship and seemingly neither of them will win it.

Lap 53: Three laps to go and Vettel maintains that 10 second lead over Hamilton with no position changes further back.

Lap 53: Petrov, Alonso and Webber all record their personal best lap time of the race but they remain in sixth, seventh and eighth.

Lap 53: Vettel crosses the line with two laps to go and will now be listening to every little noise in the Red Bull cockpit.

Lap 54: Hamilton crosses the line 10.5s behind the German with Button a further two seconds back in third.

Lap 54: Alonso is still stuck behind Petrov with Webber now very close to the back of the Ferrari, but it's going to be too late for them now.

Lap 54: Vettel flashes across the line and begins the last lap in Abu Dhabi.

Lap 55: Hamilton is 10.2s back with the midfield group still running nose-to-tail.

Lap 55: Vettel comes round the final corners and looks set to take the big prizes at Yas Marina ...

14:43 Sebastian Vettel wins in Abu Dhabi and is the 2010 Formula 1 world champion!

14:43 Another storming drive from the German makes him Formula 1's youngest ever champion as he clinches both titles for Red Bull.

14:43 Lewis Hamilton takes a battling second for McLaren but will be disappointed that a chance to battle for the lead slipped away behind Kubica

14:43 Button completes his first year with McLaren with a fine drive to third.

14:43 A brilliant strategy from the Mercedes team, pitting under the safety car, gives Rosberg a fine fourth place.

14:43 Kubica also profited from a fine Renault strategy of starting on hard tyres, finishing fifth - ahead of a great drive from team-mate Petrov.

14:44 Alonso trails home in sixth and the title dream is over for the Spaniard. Ferrari's strategy will be questioned with that costly early stop

14:44 Webber also stopped early and it didn't work out for the Australian as he finishes eighth - with his team-mate taking the title.

14:45 There is sheer delight on the Red Bull pitwall as the title win is celebrated in jubilant style.

14:45 Alguersuari finishes ninth and Massa claims the final point in 10th. Heidfeld is out of the points in 11th with Barrichello 12th.

14:46 The emotions are raw for Vettel as he says "Thank you boys. Unbelievable. Thank you, I love you!" on the radio.

14:46 Repalys pick up Alonso gesturing to Petrov after the race in what are sure to be controversial scenes.

14:47 Sutil was 13th with Kobayashi 14th, Buemi 15th, Hulkenberg 16th, Kovalainen 17th, di Grassi 18th, Senna 19th, Klien 20th and Trulli in 21st.

14:47 Vettel is holding his head in his hands as he draws into parc ferme as the world champion.

14:48 Three drivers retired from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:

Timo Glock pulled off in the late stages of the race,

Michael Schumacher was lucky to escape injury when Tonio Liuzzi rammed him head on at Turn 6 on lap 1.

14:48 Outgoing champion Button congratulates Vettel as the German finally comes out on top of the points after a sensational season.

14:49 Vettel punches the air with delight as he heads off to be weighed.

14:50 Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marco is on hand to congratulate Vettel and join him on the podium.

14:52 Vettel leaps onto the top step of the rostrum and can hardly believe it, as the German national anthem rings out at Yas Island.

14:53 The Austrian national anthem follows for today's winning constructor - Red Bull Racing.

14:53 Vettel is choking back the tears as the anthem concludes.

14:54 Sebastian Vettel takes the winner's trophy on the biggest day of the young German's career.

14:54 He kisses the trophy and holds it aloft.

14:54 Helmut Marco picks up the constructors' award for Red Bull as the team celebrates its dominance of the 2010 season.

14:54 Lewis Hamilton receives his award for second place in today's race. The Briton fought hard but was ultimately unable to catch Vettel.

14:55 Button collects his trophy after a fine run to third place to wrap up his first season for McLaren.

14:56 The champagne sprays on the podium with Button and Hamilton giving the new champion a deserved shower.

14:58 Vettel only led the championship once, but at the most important time - the end of the final race, emulating James Hunt in 1976 and John Surtees in 1964.

14:58 The young German scores back to back race victories for the first time with this result in Abu Dhabi, following on from Interlagos last weekend.

14:59 Vettel is Germany's second Formula 1 world champion. We think you can guess who he follows in this achievement ...

15:01 Here is our report on a tough race for all the drivers in Abu Dhabi:

Vettel wins championship and race

15:05 Here's how the final points tables look after a thrilling 2010 season:
World Championship standings, round 19:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Vettel       256        1.  Red Bull-Renault          498
 2.  Alonso       252        2.  McLaren-Mercedes          454
 3.  Webber       242        3.  Ferrari                   396
 4.  Hamilton     240        4.  Mercedes                  214
 5.  Button       214        5.  Renault                   163
 6.  Massa        144        6.  Williams-Cosworth          69
 7.  Rosberg      142        7.  Force India-Mercedes       68
 8.  Kubica       136        8.  Sauber-Ferrari             44
 9.  Schumacher    72        9.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         13
10.  Barrichello   47       
15:07 Sebastian Vettel claims the race victory and the 2010 Formula 1 world championship, having started today's event third in the title race - an incredible achievement.

The race was shaped to some extent by the crash on the first lap when Schumacher was collected by Liuzzi's Force India. In fairness the Italian had nowhere to go, but the big news was Rosberg pitting and subsequently gaining ground on Alonso and Webber, who were then stuck in traffic after early stops.

Hamilton gave Vettel a race all day, but with the German powering towards victory, the result was increasingly favouring the young German. He crossed the line to send his team wild and the parties have begun all over Germany and Milton Keynes to celebrate his fine achievement.

This was the 2010 Formula 1 world championship on AUTOSPORT Live. Thank you for your company over the last nine months. We will return with coverage of the end-of-season AUTOSPORT Awards on Sunday December 5th.

  OVERVIEW ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX  
Race length: 55 laps
  CURRENT WEATHER
Cloudy High Temp: 30°C / 86°F
Track: Dry
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Monday 08 Nov Start GMT
 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 12 Nov
 Friday Afternoon Practice 08:45
 Friday Evening Practice 12:45
Saturday 13 Nov
 Saturday Afternoon Practice 09:45
 Qualifying 12:45
Sunday 14 Nov
 Race day at Yas Marina 11:30
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