Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Qualifying

Lots of news ahead of the final race of the season; obviously a lot relating to teams’ (lack of) finances:

  • “Swedish Formula 1 rookie Marcus Ericsson has terminated his Caterham contract with immediate effect.” [BBC]
  • “Caterham’s administrator has told the BBC the team has made 230 staff redundant” [BBC]
  • “Caterham have announced that they will retain Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.” [BBC]
  • “Ecclestone has waived freight costs and chartered a plane for [Caterham] staff attending the season-ending race.” [BBC]
  • “Former Marussia reserve driver Will Stevens will make his F1 race debut with Caterham in this weekend’s [race]” [FIA]

In non-Caterham news:

  • BBC calculate how the Lewis Hamilton v. Nico Rosberg battle might play out.
    Current points standings [my blog]
  • “F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone doubts if the ‘stupid’ scenario of double points being awarded at the final race of the season will continue next year.” [BBC] (Hold on – wasn’t it Bernie’s idea in the first place?)
  • “Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi is no longer in an artificial coma and is breathing unaided, his parents have said in a statement.” [BBC]
    “He is breathing unaided and his vital signs are stable, but his condition is still classified as ‘critical’. His treatment now enters a new phase concerned with the improvement of his brain function.” [FIA]
  • “Ferrari have confirmed that Fernando Alonso will leave the team at the end of the 2014 Formula One campaign.” [FIA]
  • “Sebastian Vettel will replace Fernando Alonso at Ferrari next season, after the Italian team confirmed a three-year deal with the four-time world champion.” [FIA]

Free Practice results:

  • FP1: HAM (1:43.476), ROS, ALO, VET, RIC
  • FP2: HAM (1:42.113), ROS, MAG, VET, BOT
  • FP3: ROS (1:41.424), HAM, MAS, ALO, VET

Penalties:

  • Lotus driver Romain Grosjean has been given a 20-place grid penalty at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for changing elements of his power unit. With only 20 cars on the grid, the penalty means that Grosjean will also have to serve a time penalty. Regulations state that an outstanding grid drop of one to five places will equate to a five-second penalty, a drop of six to 10 places equates to a 10-second penalty while qualifying in the bottom 10 will result in a drive-through penalty. [BBC]

OK, so finally on to Qualifying…

Air temperature 26°C; track 33°C; humidity 65%
Temperature will drop as the sun sets – it’s 5pm in Abu Dhabi, and already a degree or so cooler than FP3

Tyre choices: prime = soft (yellow lettering); option = super soft (red)

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Will Stevens (STE) in the Caterham is first out of the pit lane
PER 1:43856 on primes
(STE P2)
MAG 1:43.171
HAM and ROS are on options already, as are about half of the field
BOT 1:42.346
ROS 1:41.308
HAM 1:41.207 despite a couple of errors on that lap
8mins into Q1 and neither Red Bull has left the pits yet
BOT on primes goes P3
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are ALO, PER, RAI, KOB, STE
ALO, PER and RAI all improve
2mins left; bottom 5 are MAL, GUT, SUT, KOB, STE
STE improves his time but still P20, 0.5sec behind his Caterham teammate KOB
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are MAL, GUT, SUT, KOB, STE
MAL to P15, relegating GRO
GUT to P15; MAL back to P16
SUT to P15; GUT P16 again
GRO to P16
Back of the grid: GRO*, GUT, MAL, KOB, STE.
*GRO will only be able to take 4 of his 20 place penalty, so he’ll also have to serve a drive-through penalty in the race tomorrow.

Qualifying session 2 (Q2)
Long wait after the lights turn green before someone leaves their garage – PER is first on track
I’m sure everyone will be on options in Q2
Remember that the top 10 will start the race on the tyres on which they set their fastest Q2 time
PER 1:42.467
ROS cut Turn 9
MAS 1:41.575
HAM 1:40.920 – fastest time of the whole weekend so far
Radio for ALO – lots of mistakes for other people
ROS P2, 0.5sec behind his teammate
BUT and MAG back in the pits without setting a time
Replay of radio for BUT telling him to box urgently – need to top up fuel; BUT “are you serious?”
Presumably MAG was brought back in for the same reason
Radio for RIC – not going to run again (he’s P5)
3mins left; bottom 5 are RAI, HUL, SUT, MAG, BUT
Only HAM, ROS and RIC stay in the pits
1min left; bottom 5 are KVY, VER, RAI, SUT, BUT
BUT to P6; PER to P11
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are HUL, PER, KVY, RAI, SUT
RAI to P9; VER to P11
KVY to P8; MAG to P11
PER can’t improve on P13
(BOT P2)
(MAS P2)
Middle of the grid: MAG, VER, PER, HUL, SUT

If McLaren are still thinking about next year’s drivers, BUT is through to Q3 but MAG isn’t.
The two Williams drivers have split the Mercedes pair.

Qualifying session 3 (Q3)
Top 10 shootout is between HAM, MAS, BOT, ROS, RIC, BUT, ALO, KVY, VET & RAI
BOT first out of the pits
2mins in to Q3; everyone except RAI on track
Radio from HAM noting vibration in the tyres
BOT 1:41.321
MAS 1:41.119
ROS 1:40.697
HAM P2 – couple of errors again
Order is ROS, HAM, MAS, BOT, RIC, VET, BUT, ALO, KVY, RAI (no time from RAI yet)
Quick pit stop and then time for a final flying lap
New options (super soft compound tyres) for everyone
Garages empty out as everyone heads off for one last qualifying lap
Chequered flag
BOT P3
RAI P7
ROS 1:40.480
MAS P4
BUT P7
KVY P7
HAM improves on his time but still P2
Front of the grid: ROS, HAM, BOT, MAS, RIC, VET, KVY, BUT, RAI, ALO
That means there’s been a Mercedes-powered car on pole every race this season.

Provisional grid: ROS, HAM, BOT, MAS, RIC, VET, KVY, BUT, RAI, ALO, MAG, VER, PER, HUL, SUT, GUT, MAL, KOB, STE, GRO*.
*GRO will only be able to take 4 of his 20 place penalty, so he’ll also have to serve a drive-through penalty in the race tomorrow.

3 Replies to “Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Qualifying”

  1. “Red Bull have been referred to the stewards in Abu Dhabi after the FIA’s technical delegate Jo Bauer found that there was excessive flex in the front wing flaps on Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo’s cars.” [FIA]

  2. “Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel have been excluded from qualifying at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for driving illegal cars.” [BBC]

    “The FIA’s technical delegate Jo Bauer referred Red Bull to the stewards after deciding that the front wings of both RB10s had been designed to flex under aerodynamic load – a contravention of Article 3.15 of the Formula One technical regulations which limits moveable aerodynamics.” [FIA]

    Revised provisional grid: ROS, HAM, BOT, MAS, KVY, BUT, RAI, ALO, MAG, VER, PER, HUL, SUT, GUT, MAL, KOB, STE, GRO, VET, RIC.

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