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From the very moment the circus arrived in Abu Dhabi it began; "magnificent", "stunning", "beautiful", "inspiring"… you get the picture.
OK, the Yas Marina facility and its surrounds might look "magnificent" and "stunning" - if that's what you're into - but what about the actual racing. You know, the thing we're really here for.
Right from the start we are reminded that this is a circuit where overtaking is difficult, and is if proof were needed we are reminded of 2010 when Fernando Alonso watched his title slip away as he spent lap after lap behind Vitaly Petrov.
Going slightly off topic; some have pointed out that today's race could be "payback" for the Spaniard, conveniently forgetting that if he'd passed the feisty Russian the Ferrari driver still had to deal with Nico Rosberg.
Anyway, there we were looking ahead to a race in which pole-man Lewis Hamilton would sail off into the distance while Sebastian Vettel, several places ahead of his championship rival, Alonso, could enjoy a relatively comfortable afternoon, maybe even allowing his teammate a share of the spotlight.
However, all that changed late last night when, after several hours of deliberation, the stewards ruled that Vettel was to be excluded from qualifying for having insufficient fuel in his car for sampling.
Ordered to start the German from the back of the grid, Red Bull responded by withdrawing him from Parc Ferme and electing to start him from the pitlane. This, of course, means that not only can the championship leader choose what tyres he starts on, it also means his team can make all manner of changes to the car, particularly set-up in terms of the changing temperatures.
Among the changes made, the German has a new gearbox, new gear ratios, new suspension settings and other changes in terms of downforce.
Therefore, while some question whether the whole scenario is a ploy by F1's powers that be to keep the championship alive, at least until Austin, others must wonder if this isn't a touch of genius on the Austrian outfit's part. Certainly, the German, who many insist can only win from the front, has the opportunity to silence some of his remaining critics today.
Ignoring Vettel, and like his countryman Michael Schumacher it is never easy to do so, one has to wonder what mayhem Pastor Maldonado might cause at the start, the Venezuelan promoted to third on the grid following Vettel's exclusion. Starting behind Hamilton and Webber but ahead of Raikkonen, Button and Alonso, the Williams driver, who drove magnificently yesterday, could play a key role in the 2012 title race.
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