Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Race

It’s the final race of the season; Mercedes have wrapped up the Constructors’ Championship, but which of their drivers will take the Drivers’ Championship?

There’s been lots of talk about Caterham, Marussia and driver shuffles – see my Qualifying notes.

ROS came out ahead in Qualifying; 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; VET and RIC will start from the pit lane after Red Bull were determined to have been running illegal front wings.

Provisional grid: ROS, HAM, BOT, MAS, KVY, BUT, RAI, ALO, MAG, VER, PER, HUL, SUT, GUT, MAL, KOB, STE, GRO, VET, RIC.
MAG & VER still have free choice of tyres, whereas the top 8 must start on the same set of super-soft tyres on which they set their fastest Q2 times.

As the sun sets, the air temperature is 26°C; track 33°C; humidity 63%
Tyre choices: prime = soft (yellow lettering); option = super soft (red)

The mechanics clear the grid; ROS leads everyone away on the formation lap
Radio from HAM – there’s a lot of grip

01/55: HAM blasts off the line and takes P1 before Turn 1
BOT has dropped from P3 to P8
Contact between SUT and MAG

02: HAM, ROS, MAS, BUT, RAI, ALO, KVY, BOT, HUL, PER
GRO serves his drive-through penalty
Both Red Bulls have passed STE on his debut race

03: HAM fastest lap 1:47.142
DRS enabled
Replay of the start shows ROS got a little wheel spin off the line

05/55: HAM, ROS, MAS, BUT, RAI, ALO, KVY, BOT, HUL, PER
ALO around RAI for P5
Radio for ALO – “in this lap”

06: ALO pits – that’s an early stop for the Ferrari
SUT pits too
BOT attacking RAI – takes P6
Radio for BUT – “box this lap”

07: BUT and KVY pit, followed by RAI
ALO makes heavy weather of passing STE

08: HAM is 2.1sec ahead of ROS

09: GRO pits
Radio from ALO complaining about having to fight to pass STE (it was for position, so STE didn’t have to make it easy)
Lap 1 incident involving cars 20 and 27 (MAG and HUL) under investigation – forcing another driver off track

10/55: HAM, ROS, MAS, BOT, HUL, PER, VER, RIC, MAG, VET; no retirements

11: HAM pits from P1; clean stop; rejoins P3
BOT pits too
5sec stop/go penalty for HUL- forcing another driver off track
Mercedes mechanics reset ready for ROS’ stop

12: ROS pits from P1; clean stop too; rejoins P3
RIC right on VER’s tail

13: VER fights back; holds on to P6
MAS still P1 on options
Big lock up from PER
RIC makes another move on VER; takes P6

14: MAS pits from P1; rejoins P3
ROS f/lap 1:46.890
Radio for ROS reminding him to think about his tyres
BOT looking for a way round MAG
BOT attacks; takes P7 easily under DRS

15/55: HAM, ROS, MAS, HUL, RIC, PER… who pits, BOT, MAG, VET, BUT, ALO, KVY
Radio from BOT – pit board on the track

16: Radio for MAS – manage these tyres
HUL pits; serves his 5sec penalty before the team are allowed to service him
KVY stopped off track; marshals quickly move the Toro Rosso behind the tyre wall

17: Radio for ROS – keep gap to manageable time and we’ll run longer (pit later)

18: ROS f/lap 1:46.869; still ~2.5sec behind HAM

20/55: HAM, ROS, MAS, RIC, BOT, MAG, VET, BUT, ALO, RAI; retirements: KVY
Radio for RIC giving him gap to BOT behind; “not in our race”

21: Blue flags as HAM closes to lap STE

22: MAG and VET pit; MAG swaps to options
Replay of VET shows the car stutter as he tries to leave the box
GRO makes 2nd stop

23: Only RIC yet to pit
SUT pits

24: ROS locks his front right; runs wide; recovers; now nearly 4sec behind HAM
BOT closing on RIC; makes a simple pass to take P4

25/55: HAM, ROS, MAS, BOT, RIC, BUT, ALO, RAI, PER, HUL
ROS losing power?
Radio for ROS – ERS has failed; he’s ~3sec off the pace

26: MAS closing on ROS
Radio for MAS telling him about ROS’ issue

27: Radio for ROS discussing ERS problem; ROS says it’s more than just ERS problem – please investigate
MAS takes P2 from ROS
RAI pits

Half-distance

28: RIC pits, as does ALO
MAL pulls off track – lots of flames from his Lotus
Marshals eventually arrive to put out the fire

29: BUT pits; rejoins just ahead of ALO

30/55: ALO attacking BUT for P10
BUT fends off ALO for a couple of turns but ALO finally takes P10
MAG pits

31: HAM’s pace has dropped almost 2sec – does he have a problem too?
VER pits
Radio from HAM – what else do I need to do to manage it?
RIC out-brakes PER for P5

32: HAM pits from P1; clean stop; rejoins P3, just behind ROS
HAM moves quickly to pass his teammate

33: BUT is ahead of ALO again
Radio for ROS – keep me in the top 5 or 6 (because he could still be world champ if HAM fails to finish)

34: BOT past ROS for P3
HAM has picked up his pace
RIC f/lap 1:46.735
Radio for ROS telling him he’ll need to a manual pull-away after his pit stop

35/55: MAS, HAM, BOT, ROS into the pits, RIC, PER, HUL, VET, BUT, ALO
Not a fast stop but at least ROS manages to leave the pit lane
ROS rejoins P7

36: BOT pits from P3; rejoins P4

37: Radio from ROS asking if he’s in the points position he needs if Lewis drops out; engineer says it’s not looking good; ROS asks what he needs to do; told tyres are OK so just drive flat out

39: HAM’s pace on par with MAS and RIC, whereas ROS is only faster than the Caterhams

40/55: MAS, HAM, RIC, BOT, PER, VET, ROS, BUT, ALO, VER; retirements: MAL, KVY
ROS wide in Turn 1; rejoins

41: BUT past ROS for P7
Radio from ROS – throttle is all over the place!

42: VET attacking PER for P5
PER pits

43: HAM f/lap 1:46.166 – will he be told to back off and conserve the car?
Radio from HAM – don’t turn up the car
HUL around ALO for P8
Radio for MAS – box now

44: MAS pits from P1; steady stop; back on options
HAM f/lap 1:45.923
Radio for HAM warning him that MAS has put on super-soft so keep the pace up
KOB pits; he’s pushed into the garage

45/55: HAM, MAS, RIC, BOT, VET, BUT, ROS, HUL, ALO, VER
PER takes P11 from RAI
KOB still in the car in the garage – hoping to get back out?
Radio from ROS asking which position he’s heading for; P5 if he can keep ahead of HUL

46: HAM f/lap 1:45.813
MAS f/lap 1:45.342
ROS tries to defend but HUL easily takes P7
Both RIC and VET (P3 and P5) need to pit for options

47: MAS f/lap 1:44.953 – he’s 9.3sec behind HAM
PER closing on ALO
VET pits; rejoins P10, behind PER

48: MAS f/lap 1:44.826 – 8.0sec behind HAM
PER inside ALO; takes P8
RIC pits; rejoins P4
VET on ALO’s tail – VET is taking ALO’s seat at Ferrari next season

49: ALO defends but VET cuts back and dives inside; takes P9
MAS still closing the gap to HAM

50/55: HAM, MAS, BOT, RIC, BUT, HUL, PER, ROS, VET, ALO, RAI, MAG, VER, GRO, GUT, SUT, STE; retirements: KOB, MAL, KVY
HAM laps GUT
VET on ROS’ tail

It’s the last race of season, and for some drivers their last drive with their current team, so who will make a crazy move to attack another car?

51: VET passes ROS for P8
ROS visibly slowing

52: ROS down to P13, limping along – will HAM lap him before the end?
MAS still pushing hard to close on HAM; gap is 4.6sec

53: MAS about 1sec/lap faster than HAM but gap is 3.5sec with 3 laps left
ALO cuts turn 9
HAM closing on ROS
BBC report Mercedes crew making room in ROS’ side of the garage

54: Radio for ROS – too many problems with the car, box; ROS says he wants to go to the end; given the OK

55 = final lap: HAM still 3.2sec ahead of MAS; ROS down in P13 (and lapped)

HAM takes the chequered flag and becomes World Champion
MAS takes P2, followed by BOT, RIC, BUT, HUL, PER, VET, ALO, RAI

Prince Harry on the pit wall, congratulating HAM
HAM does doughnuts, stops to pick up a British flag 🙂
First Mercedes world champion since Fangio

BUT celebrate in what is probably his last F1 race

Provisional result: HAM, MAS, BOT, RIC, BUT, HUL, PER, VET, ALO, RAI; MAG, VER, GRO, ROS, GUT, SUT, STE
DNF: KOB, MAL, KVY

HAM emotional in the room as he preps for the podium; he looks so short when Toto Wolff hugs him 🙂
ROS has come to congratulate HAM

MAS and BOT on the podium for Williams – great result for them

Glad to see they’ve given podium question duty to someone who can string a question together
HAM: “I’m a bit lost for words”; “means more than the first one” (championship)
MAS: “didn’t expect the pace”
BOT: “I always like to be here” (on the podium)
HAM: “greatest day of my life”

3 Replies to “Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Race”

  1. Result: HAM, MAS, BOT, RIC, BUT, HUL, PER, VET, ALO, RAI [FIA]

    My GridBids picks for this race were: ROS (P14), HAM (P1), MAL (DNF), GRO (P13), HUL (P6), PER (P7).

    “You scored 39 points for this race and have a total of 870 points this season. You ranked 46 for this race and 100 overall.”

  2. FIA has some great stats:

    Lewis Hamilton became the first British driver to win multiple world titles since Jackie Stewart in 1969, 1971 and 1973. Jim Clark and Graham Hill, who both became double champions in the 1960s, are the only other Britons to have won more than one world championship.

    Williams also sealed third place in the constructors’ standings – their best placing since 2003 when they finished second.

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