Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Race

The provisional grid set in Qualifying yesterday was: LH, SV, MW, RB, JB, JT, RK, NH, NR, SB, KR, KK, HK, KN, JA, FA, VL, AS, RG, GF. Since then, HK received a 5-place grid penalty after a gearbox change so he’ll be starting in P18.

Air temperature 31°C; track 33°C, wind 4.6m/s; humidity 44%

My notes are behind the cut as usual…

LH leads everyone away on the formation lap
Looks like everyone’s starting on the hard (prime) tyre – only GF on the option (medium compound)
The track lights are on, ready for sunset
LH seems a long way forward in his start spot

01/55: Good start by LH
Everyone through Turn 1
RB & MW touched in T1 though
RK pushing JT for P6

02: LH, SV, MW, JB, RB, RK, JT, NH
RG has passed Renault teammate FA
HK up from P18 to P13 already

03: LH, SV, MW, JB, RB, RK, JT, NH
LH fastest lap 1:43.788
BBC say Brawn are ready to change RB’s nose but they’re checking the telemetry to see if it’s necessary

04: LH f/lap 1:42.715
Replay of the start shows MW cut across the front of RB in Turn 1 – fair bit of carbon fibre flying up at JB

05/55: LH, SV, MW, JB, RB, RK, JT, NH
LH f/lap 1:42.136
Pit-car for RB tell him he’s still putting in good lap times – only LH is faster and he’s carrying less fuel
FA eased past RG to re-take P17

07: LH f/lap 1:41.277

08: LH f/lap 1:41.205
SV f/lap 1:41.107
MW f/lap 1:41.025

10/55: LH, SV, MW, JB, RB, RK, JT, NH
LH f/lap 1:40.932
MW f/lap 1:40.883
Sun is setting, which is most obvious in Turn 14; the drivers have tinted tear-off strips over a clear visor so they can cope with both the low sun and floodlights

11: LH f/lap 1:40.769 – his lead over SV only 1.7sec

12: LH locked up and ran wide – almost a second slower last lap

13: Pit-car for JB tells him he needs to be a bit quicker in order to jump the 1-stoppers (KK is the first of that group)

14: LH’s lead under 1sec after his mistake on lap 11

15/55: LH, SV, MW, JB, RB, RK, JT, NH
MW f/lap 1:40.571

16: Pit-car for RB encouraging him to close up on teammate JB

17: LH f/lap 1:40.367
RB is the first to pit, followed by RK
RB – 9.0s stop – medium tyres

18: LH pits from P1 … as does JB
LH – 8.6s stop
JB – 10.2s – that’s a slow stop – rejoins just ahead of KK
KK alongside but JB holds him off
KK has the tow (and a lighter car) down the straight and takes the place

19: MW pits from P2, as do JT, NR, SB
Slow moving JA – did he go off?
Pit-car for LH telling him there may be a right-rear brake problem
JA pits, rejoins, but still quite slow

20/55: Replay shows JA entered the Red Bull pit box (he should have stopped at Toro Rosso) but was told to keep going as SV was about to pit
LH pits again … and he’s pushed into the garage 🙁

21: LH is out of the car; Martin Whitmarsh says they’ll see if they can get him out again

22: JA has stopped out on track

24: KK personal f/lap 1:41.625 – he’s the fastest person on track at the moment!
All the 2-stoppers have stopped and so are carrying a heavier fuel load

25/55: SV, MW, KK, JB, RB, KR, HK, NH; retirements: LH, JA

26: BBC interview LH – had a problem stopping the car; probably rear brake problem

27: MW runs wide but recovers

29: BBC interview JA – problem with the gearbox

30/55: SV, MW, KK, JB, RB, KR, HK, NH; retirements: LH, JA
KR pits from P6 – 9.9s stop – option tyre – rejoins ahead of RG

31: KK pits from P3 – a little cautious entering the box but quite aggressive through the tunnel as he exits
GF gets a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane

31: Pit-car for JB telling him he’s neck & neck with KK but needs to pick up the pace before RB starts attacking

32: HK pits from P6
GF serves his drive-through penalty

34: AS takes P16 from RG

35/55: SV, MW, JB, RB, NH, JT, RK, NR; retirements: LH, JA

37: AS puts a good pass on his teammate to take P15 from VL

38: KK is complaining of understeer but the team have told him to adjust the front wing

39: BBC discuss whether Silverstone will be on the 2010 calendar; expect the poison dwarf to use it as a bargaining chip with the teams (who like the circuit)

41: MW pits from P2 – 7.6s stop – rejoins just behind JT

42: RB pits from P4 … and NH from P5
RB – 7.2s
NH – 6.6s
RB stays just ahead as they enter the tunnel

43: RK battling with SB – they touch & RK spins – he’s passed by NR
SV pits from P1
JB pits from P2 – 5.9s
JT pits too
JB rejoins still ahead of RB

45/55: SV, MW, JB, RB, NH, KK, JT, SB; retirements: LH, JA

46: JB closing on MW but there’s still a 4sec gap

47: JB now 3.6s behind MW – at this rate he’ll be very close but probably won’t be able to challenge for P2 … however MW has locked up and run wide a few times

48: Pit-car radio for JB tells him he’s closing at 0.5s/lap and he’s 3.5s behind with 9 laps left

49: SV has a 16.7s lead over teammate MW; JB just 2.2s behind the second Red Bull
Pit-car warns SV that the cars he’s about to lap are fighting for position so be careful

50/55: SV, MW, JB, RB, NH, KK, JT, SB; retirements: LH, JA
JB now just 1.3s behind MW with 5 laps left – maybe he can have a go at taking P2

51: JB’s in the turbulent air now; both MW & JB pushing hard

52: JB’s right on MW’s rear wing – should get a good tow down the long straight

53: Replay of GF passing RG as the Renault runs wide

54: MW posts the fastest Sector 1 time – he’s fighting hard to keep P2
MW slithering and JB thinks about taking a look

55 – final lap: SV f/lap 1:40.279
JB close enough to have a go at MW
MW very defensive
MW & JB side by side
Great battle for P2
SV takes the chequered flag
MW stays just ahead of JB, taking P2 & P3 respectively
P4=RB, 5=NH, 6=KK, 7=JT, 8=SB
P9=NR, 10=RK, 11=HK, 12=KR, 13=KN, 14=FA, 15=VL, 16=GF, 17=AS, 18=RG
Retirements: LH, JA

Great finish to the final race of the season!

Provisional result: SV, MW, JB, RB, NH, KK, JT, SB; NR, RK, HK, KR, KN, FA, VL, GF, AS, RG; DNF: LH, JA.

Is SV crying on the podium? That’s Rubens’ trademark!
Nice to see real trophies, not those ugly blue plastic things
No champagne of course

SV’s win means he takes P2 in the Drivers’ Championship with RB in P3.
Brawn secured the Constructor’s Championship in Brazil, followed by Red Bull, and today’s result means McLaren finish 1 point ahead of Ferrari with both teams failing to score.

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