Grapevine: Rankings: Vettel ends year on top

Sebastian Vettel will end the year on top of the Castrol Rankings after snatching the Formula 1 world championship in Abu Dhabi

Grapevine: Rankings: Vettel ends year on top

Despite never having headed the F1 points before last Sunday, the Red Bull driver has been on top of the Castrol Rankings for the past 34 weeks, assuring himself of world number one status. He cannot now be caught before the end of the year.

Vettel's victory in Abu Dhabi from pole position increased his advantage over his team-mate Mark Webber while Sebastien Loeb, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton retained their top-five spots.

Loeb, who ended his season with victory on Rally GB, began the weekend with a chance of taking the number one spot, but needed to rely on disaster befalling both Vettel and Webber to do so.

A strong ninth place from Jaime Alguersuari (47) gained the Toro Rosso driver nine spots while Robert Kubica's canny tyre strategy ensured a climb of two for the Renault man to 14th.

Losing ground were Kamui Kobayashi, who dropped 10 spots to 62nd, and Kimi Raikkonen (178), who lost both Abu Dhabi GP and Rally GB scores from last year at the same time and replaced them with eighth from this year's Wales-based event.

Carl Edwards (17) won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race since 2008 at Phoenix and gained three spots. There were no position changes for title chasers Jimmie Johnson (8) and Denny Hamlin (11), who sandwich Dario Franchitti (9) and Kevin Harvick (10) in the Castrol Rankings.

Davide Valsecchi's victory in the final GP2 Series race of the year in Abu Dhabi kept him as the highest-ranked driver from the championship - largely down to his dominant GP2 Asia campaign.

The Italian gained three places to move up to 43rd while main series champion Pastor Maldonado made up just one spot to lie 76th after a dismal weekend that was nevertheless better than he managed at Yas Marina last year.

A feature race victory for Sergio Perez (67) gained him five spots while Britain's Oliver Turvey (59) was the biggest climber in the top 100 thanks to his maiden pole position and his second place in the feature race.

Mark Winterbottom (111) gained 21 spots after winning a wet/dry V8 Supercar race at Symmons Plains. Craig Lowndes (153) won the other race and climbed 15 spots while a podium finish for Paul Dumbrell (294) - his first for nine years - made the veteran 29 places.

Holden Racing Team's Will Davison (399) was the big loser. A title contender a year ago, he failed to finish either race better than 23rd and dropped 33 places.

To see the full Castrol Rankings, visit www.castroldriverrankings.com.

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