Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Qualifying

The drivers have had three practice sessions to become familiar with this new circuit; fastest the sessions were: LH (1:43.939) in Practice 1, HK (1:41.307) in Practice 2, and JB (1:40.625) in Saturday practice.

There’s a problem with erosion from the wind and sand – it’s making a real mess of the cars’ front wings’ leading edge. The track’s dusty, and the change in temperature (the race spans sunset tomorrow) is going to make it difficult for them to maintain enough grip to keep the cars on
the black stuff. Current conditions: air temperature 30°C; track 33°C; wind 3.1m/s; humidity 55%

At least the grand stands look a little more full that yesterday but it’s still not attracting as many paying spectators as Silverstone does … but that won’t sway Bernie.

Nice to see Ron Dennis in the McLaren garage – he’s only visiting though, after Bernie & Max got their way and ousted him.

Fillipe Massa is on the Ferrari timing wall – looks like the plastic surgeon’s done a great job.

My notes are, as always, after the cut…

Qualify session 1 (Q1):
First out through the tunnel is JA
JA 1:46.161
NR out brakes himself and takes to the run off around Turn 8
RG 1:44.951
NH 1:43.650
15mins left – yet to see LH, MW and SV
NR 1:42.956
RK 1:42.165
JB 1:41.916
RK 1:41.584
HK has spun but recovers
LH 1:41.037
(KR P2)
10mins left of Q1
LH 1:40.365 – that’s faster than anyone’s time in any of the three Practice sessions
LH 1:39.873
5mins left; bottom 5 are NR, VL, KK, RG, GF
(SV P2)
(RK P2)
RG has spun the Renault
(NR P4, demoting KN)
(KN P15, relegating AS)
(KK P13, so JA now in the drop zone)
(MW P2)
1min left; bottom 5 are KN, AS, GF, RG, VL
Chequered flag; bottom 5 now JA, AS, GF, VL, RG
(RG P18)
(JA P14, so HK now P16)
(HK P7, relegating FA)
Big sigh from Luca Di Montezemolo as GF fails to get the Ferrari into Q2
So the back of the grid will be: P16=FA, 17=VL, 18=AS, 19=RG, 20=GF

Qualify session 2 (Q2):
HK is first to leave the pits, through the tunnel
HK 1:40.983
SB 1:40.678
LH 1:40.542 – he’s the only one of the option (medium compound) tyres
BBC report the track temperature is down to 31°C
Yellow flags – HK is being manhandled by the marshals – well, his car is!
MW 1:40.357
McLaren say HK had a transmission problem
3mins left; bottom 5 are KN, JA, SV, NR, KK
SV 1:40.324
MW 1:40.272
90secs left; bottom 5 are KR, KN, NR, JA, KK
JB 1:40.201
SV 1:39.984
LH 1:39.695
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are HK, NH, KN, JA, NR
(NH P8, relegating KK)
(NR P10, pushing KR to P11)
KN tries too hard and messes up his flying lap
Luca Di Montezemolo visibly annoyed KR failed to make it to Q3
The middle of the grid are: P11=KR, 12=KK, 13=HK, 14=KN, 15=JA

Qualify session 3 (Q3):
Battling for the top 10 grid spots are LH, SV, JB, MW, JT, RB, SB, RK, NH & NR
The track seems darker but hopefully the drivers won’t see the difference
Track temperature is still 31°C
SB runs a little wide but keeps his foot down
SB 1:46.967
(RK P2)
(MW P3)
NH 1:44.563
(RB P4)
(JB P6)
(NR P7)
(SV P2)
(JT P3)
5mins gone = 5mins left of Q3; order is NH, SV, JT, SB, RK, RB, MW, JB, NR (no time from LH yet)
SB 1:43.045
RK 1:42.573
MW 1:42.421
(NH P3)
(RB P2)
JB 1:42.366
JT 1:42.318
LH runs wide
3mins left; order is JT, JB, MW, RB, SV, RK, NH, SB, NR, LH
MW runs wide
(RK P2)
RB 1:41.952
LH 1:41.773
1min left; order is LH, RB, JT, RK, JB, MW, SV, SB, NH, NR
(NH P5)
(NR P9)
(SV P7)
(JT P2)
Chequered flag; it’s LH, JT, RB, RK, NH, JB, SV, MW, NR, SB
(SB P9)
(RK P4)
MW 1:41.726
(RB P3)
(JB P4)
(NR P9)
SV 1:41.615
LH 1:40.948
So the front of the grid will be: P1=LH, 2=SV, 3=MW, 4=RB, 5=JB, 6=JT, 7=RK, 8=NH, 9=NR, 10=SB

Which means the provisional grid is: LH, SV, MW, RB, JB, JT, RK, NH, NR, SB, KR, KK, HK, KN, JA, FA, VL, AS, RG, GF.

4 thoughts on “Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Qualifying

  1. The FIA have published the pre-race weights:

    1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 658.5kg
    2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 663
    3. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 660
    4. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 655
    5. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 657
    6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 661
    7. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 654.5
    8. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 664
    9. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 665
    10. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 661.5
  2. Heikki Kovalainen is set to receive a five-place grid penalty from the Yas Marina race stewards after McLaren decided his car needed a new gearbox following Saturday’s qualifying. Kovalainen, who had qualified in 13th, will now start Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from 18th. [FIA]

  3. BBC’s update on pre-race weights, giving us a fuel-adjusted grid:

    1. Lewis Hamilton (lap 17)
    2. Sebastian Vettel +0.496secs (lap 19)
    3. Mark Webber +0.721 (lap 18)
    4. Jarno Trulli +0.854 (lap 18)
    5. Rubens Barrichello +0.971 (lap 16)
    6. Jenson Button +1.001 (lap 17)
    7. Nick Heidfeld +1.186 (lap 19)
    8. Robert Kubica +1.196 (lap 15)
    9. Nico Rosberg +1.388 (lap 19)
    10. Sebastien Buemi +1.651 (lap 18)

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