Date: 14th November 2011 at 10:15am
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The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix witnessed something very rare on Sunday, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel retiring from a race.

The back-to-back Formula One World Champion hadn’t retired from a race all season, with his last retirement coming in Korea last season over 13 months ago.

Abu Dhabi was the place where Vettel was crowed 2010 Formula One World Champion, but in 2011 he lasted just two corners.

After an impressive lap in qualifying was enough to clinch his 14th pole position of the season, Vettel got away from the grid well and under no pressure from Hamilton he went into the first corner leading.

But coming out of the second corner Vettel lost the back end of the car and spun off.

?On the exit of the first corner, everything seemed fine and then turning into the second corner I could feel that something was odd on the rear right. I had to catch the car surprisingly and then the second time, I couldn?t do it anymore, as I?d lost too much air in the rear right tyre. I had a puncture and spun off.’ Sebastian Vettel told formula1.com.

The defending champ nursed his Red Bull back to the pits, but the German was forced to retire with rear suspension damage.

‘When I got back to the pits, the resulting suspension damage meant we couldn?t carry on. There wasn?t anything we could have done better really this weekend; we just need to look at what had caused the puncture. I had a good start and I was very happy with the car up until that point. To lose the race there, so early on, it hurts for sure. There wasn?t much we could do, so after that I took the opportunity to learn a little bit on the pit wall.?

Immediately after the incident Vettel was seen on a computer looking through the data and the telemetry trying to figure out for himself what had caused the tyre failure.

After the race he, his Red Bull team and Pirelli visited the corner, but as 23 other cars didn’t have an issue over the course of the weekend, no-one as yet has been able to come to a conclusion over what happened to the tyre.

?Together with Red Bull Racing, we?re still examining the remains of Sebastian Vettel?s tyre in order to try and piece together what happened. It certainly seems to be a very unusual incident and we?ve already been to look at the place with Sebastian: there seems to be no reason that is immediately obvious and the set of tyres was one that he had already used for qualifying. But until we know for sure, there?s no point in speculating. Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery concluded.