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Formula One

Vettel roars back from pit lane to podium

Germany's Sebastian Vettel managed an outstanding comeback in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Despite being demoted from a leading start position, he finished in third place to retain the drivers' championship lead.

Buoyed on by a series of incidents that opened up the race, Red Bull's Vettel clawed his way back from a start position way behind his rivals to secure a place on the winners' podium.

Finnish driver Raikkonen was in first place with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso - Vettel's rival for the drivers' championship - finishing second.

Vettel remains in the lead position to win the drivers' championship with 255 points, followed by Alonso with 245. The two are the only drivers still in contention to take the title.

"Never stop believing," Vettel told his team as they congratulated him over the cockpit radio at the end of the race.

Vettel was demoted to the back of the starting grid on Saturday after his car ran out of fuel at the end of a qualifying session that would have seen him start in third. In the end, the driver's team decided that, for technical reasons, he should start from the pit lane - behind the starting grid entirely.

Event-packed race

The race did not go entirely to plan as Vettel suffered wing damage in the early stages of an eventful race at the Yas Marina circuit.

Britain's Lewis Hamilton, who started out in pole position, was forced to retire from the race after 20 laps when his car lost all power.

While this indeed helped Vettel achieve his final position, so too did a timely pit stop during one of two safety car phases in the race. The German even took second place for a spell, which he lost due to the need for a second pit stop.

For Raikkonen, who returned to Formula One this season after two years of rally driving, the win was his first since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix.

Although Alonso pushed him close, the Finn - who is out of contention for the drivers title - clung on during the last two laps.

The win was the first for a car under the Lotus name since Ayrton Senna's US victory for the original Lotus team in 1987.

rc/hc (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)