Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Race

Following Qualifying yesterday, the provisional grid was: WEB, VET, ROS, HAM, RAI, HUL, GRO, MAS, PER, RIC; ALO, DIR, BUT, VER, MAL, BOT; GUT, SUT, VDG, BIA*, PIC, CHI.
*BIA’s penalty will drop him to P22

However, RAI qualified fifth but dropped to back of grid after car failed floor deflection test. [source: FIA]

WEB leads everyone away on the formation lap
Looks like everyone is starting on options (soft compound) except BUT, BOT, GUT, SUT & RAI
BBC report HAM had a last-minute change of brake material, in addition to the fixing the rear-end failure that caused him to spin in Q3
WEB quite aggressive as he stops on his grid position; long wait for everyone to take up their spots

01/55: VET takes the lead into Turn 1 – WEB down to P3 behind ROS too
RAI is off – contact in Turn 1 with PIC – broken front suspension
Radio from BUT – damaged front wing

02: VET, ROS, WEB, GRO, HAM, HUL, MAS, ALO, PER, DIR

03: VET fastest lap 1:47.189
BUT pits to have the front wing replaced

04: VET f/lap 1:46.998

05/55: VET, ROS, WEB, GRO, HAM, HUL, MAS, ALO, PER, DIR; retirements: RAI
VET f/lap 1:46.407
Radio from WEB – “what’s wrong with the KERS?” – team says “It’s a bit low”

06: MAL and BIA pit

07: PER pits; clean stop as he switches to primes
CHI pits too

08: HAM pits, as do RIC and VDG

09: VET leads ROS by 7.5secs
WEB and GRO (P3 + P4) pit nose to tail; slower stop by the Lotus team
Radio for ROS telling him to “kill the tyres” but stay out
WEB down the inside of GUT to take P9

10/55: HUL pits
Radio from ROS saying rear tyres have gone away; gets the instruction to box

11: ROS pits from P2; clean stop
Radio for HAM – “front left still above target”, warning him it’s a bit too warm; pass GUT and cool the tyres

12: order is VET, MAS, ALO, DIR, VER, ROS, SUT, WEB, GRO, GUT
BUT in the pits for a 2nd stop
HAM still struggling to find a way past GUT – he’s going to have to back off for a bit

13: HAM still harrying GUT – hopefully not damaging his tyres

14: Front 5 are all on options; rest of the field on primes
WEB squeezes inside SUT for P7

15/55: VET pits from P1; good stop; rejoins still P1
Order is VET, MAS, ALO, DIR, VER, ROS, WEB, SUT, GRO, GUT but MAS, ALO, DIR, VER, SUT & GUT have yet to pit

16: GRO makes an easy pass on SUT for P8 but overshoots the apex; SUT retakes the position
GUT weaving in front of HAM – expect the stewards to look at that

17: VET f/lap 1:46.037
ALO pits from P3; rejoins P14

18: Radio for DIR telling him to “reduce pedal crossover”
GUT tries to repeat his overtake on GRO
HAM still stuck behind GUT

19: MAS pits from P2, as does GUT

20/55: VET, DIR, ROS, WEB, GRO, SUT, HAM, MAS, HUL, BOT
WEB makes a smart move round ROS to take P2

21: DIR pits from P2 – long first stint
Radio for HAM – “you can afford to push”
ALO looking for a way around PER

22: ALO around the outside of PER to take P10

23: ALO pulls out quite late and sweeps around BOT for P9

24: VET’s lead over his teammate almost 28secs

25/55: VET, WEB, ROS, GRO, SUT, HAM, MAS, HUL, ALO, BOT
Caterham swap their drivers – VDG takes P18 from PIC

26: BOT pits; only SUT has yet to make a stop
MAS looking to pass SUT but instead MAS passes HAM

27: MAS takes P5 from SUT
ALO takes P8 from HUL
HAM inside SUT for P6

28: Radio for HAM telling him to cool the right side of the car
HUL pits, followed by PER; good stop by McLaren; was HUL released too close to PER?

29: Radio for ROS – “push hard now”
SUT finally makes his first stop; RIC in for 2nd stop
Incident involving car 11 (HUL) under investigation – unsafe release

30/55: VET, WEB, ROS, GRO, MAS, HAM, ALO, DIR, VER, GUT
PER and SUT scrapping over P13; both cut corners
HAM pits from P6; rejoins P10

31: GUT pits

32: VET f/lap 1:45.968
Radio for VET – don’t abuse the tyres

33: VET over 30secs ahead of WEB
Drive through penalty for car 11 (HUL) – unsafe release

34: Incident involving cars 15 and 16 (SUT & MAL) under investigation – track limits
WEB and ROS both pit
VET warned again about his tyre wear

35/55: VET, GRO, WEB, ROS, MAS, ALO, DIR, VER, HAM, BOT; retirements: RAI
HUL serves his drive-through penalty; rejoins P17

36: ALO closing on MAS; will Ferrari tell MAS to let his teammate pass? (I suspect not)

37: MAL runs very wide
ROS f/lap 1:45.663

38: VET pits from P1; rejoins still P1 ahead of GRO
GRO pits – couldn’t make a 1-stop strategy work; rejoins P4, inches in front of MAS

39: MAS pits; presumably ALO will have to pit too; bit slow on the front-left; rejoins P9 behind HAM

40/55: VET, WEB, ROS, GRO, ALO, DIR, VER, HAM, MAS, BOT
VET f/lap 1:44.829
BBC report no further action on SUT/MAL off track incident

42: Radio for VET reminding about his tyres again

43: Big front-left lockup from HAM as he tries to catch VER
ROS pushing hard as he closes on WEB

44: HAM all over the rear of VER, but now MAS is right on the tail of HAM

45/55: VET, WEB, ROS, GRO, ALO, DIR, VER, HAM, MAS, BOT
HAM finally finds a way past VER for P7
MAS lines up VER now
ALO pits from P5; rejoins P7 alongside VER; runs wide

46: BOT pits – slow rear-right wheel change

47: MAS inside VER for P8
Incident involving car 3 (ALO) under investigation – track limits
SUT next to look at passing VER

48: SUT takes P9 from VER
GRO f/lap 1:44.677
Now PER lines up VER
ALO f/lap 1:44.660 – he’s on options
PER has to move off line because VER’s car throwing up sparks from the ride-height plank

49: PER past VER for P10
Radio for VET – “be patient” as he catches tail-enders

50/55: VET, WEB, ROS, GRO, DIR, HAM, ALO, MAS, SUT, PER
DIR, HAM and ALO covered by less than 1.5secs
MAL past VER for P11

51: ALO filling HAM’s mirrors; HAM tries to defend but ALO has new tyres; takes P6

52: VET f/lap 1:43.893
ALO sweeps up behind DIR and takes P5
Incident involving car 3 (ALO) will be investigated after the race – track limits

53: VER admits defeat and pits – he should have stopped earlier
ALO f/lap 1:43.609

54: HAM lining up to pass DIR; only 1.5 laps left so he’ll need to make a move soon
DIR’s tyres are 8 laps older than HAM’s

55/55 = final lap: VET 31.5sec ahead of his teammate
PER looking for a way round SUT
ALO f/lap 1:43.577 – that’ll annoy VET 🙂

VET takes the chequered flag – his 11th win of the season
WEB over the line for P2
ROS P3
GRO P4
ALO P5 and f/lap 1:43.434
DIR holds off HAM

Provisional result: VET, WEB, ROS, GRO, ALO*, DIR, HAM, MAS, PER, SUT; MAL, BUT, GUT, HUL, BOT, RIC, VER, VDG, PIC, BIA, CHI; DNF: RAI.
*Remember: Incident involving car 3 (ALO) will be investigated after the race – track limits

VET does doughnuts on the cool-down lap; he was reprimanded for doing that in India so expect a bigger penalty this time

Next race = Austin, USA, November 15-17.