Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi – Race

Thanks to TSN for showing the pre-race but they forgot to include the commentary.

Provisional grid: ROS, HAM, RAI, PER, RIC, BOT, HUL, MAS, KVY, SAI; VES, BUT, MAL, NAS, GRO; VET, ALO, ERI, STE, MER

News since Qualifying: GRO has picked up a 5 grid spot penalty for a gearbox change, STE’s penalty has no impact (still P19) and MER will start from the pit lane after Marussia made suspension set-up changes to his car under Parc Ferme conditions [FIA]

RIC is a bit later than other drivers getting into their cars as the Red Bull mechanics take a selfie on the grid.

Air temperature 27°C; track 29°C but it’s rapidly approaching sunset

ROS leads everyone (except MER) away on the final formation lap of 2015
Everyone starting on options except VET, ERI, GRO & STE
BBC report that HAM has been on the radio complaining about his brakes

01/55: HAM slow off the grid
HAM holds on to P2
Lotus off in Turn 1 – MAL and ALO off but looks like ALO’s still running
VET fighting his way up the order

02: ROS, HAM, RAI, PER, HUL, RIC, SAI, MAS, KVY, BOT
VET to P12
ALO pits – puncture & new nose

03: ROS fastest lap 1:47.014
BOT and KVY still battling over P9; KVY currently ahead
BOT past KVY but runs wide
VET still P12 behind VES

04: ROS 1.7sec ahead of HAM
GRO pressuring NAS for P14
GRO inside NAS but NAS fighting back
Replay of the start – did NAS hit ALO before Turn 1?

06: Turn 1 incident involving cars 14 (ALO) and 13 (MAL) under investigation
KVY into the pits – looks like a scheduled stop
Late dive from RIC, inside HUL to take P5
HUL reclaims P5 but RIC fights back and takes the position
Drive through penalty for ALO – causing a collision

07: PER, RIC and MAS all pit

08: ROS’s lead now 2.7sec

09: BOT pits – unsafe release!
BOT hits the rear of BUT
BOT’s lost his front wing
ALO serves his drive-through

10/55: Incident involving BOT and BUT under investigation – unsafe release
BOT pits – new nose

11: ROS pits from P1; primes; clean stop
RAI pits too
PER looks inside GRO but no contact yet

12: HAM pits; fractionally quicker than ROS’ stop
5-sec penalty for BOT for unsafe release
HAM rejoins P3 behind VET who started on primes and has yet to pit

14: VET locks up; HAM closing right up
HAM inside VET and takes P2 from the Ferrari

15/55: ROS, HAM, VET, RAI, PER, GRO, RIC, HUL, MAS, KVY; ERI, SAI, VES, BUT, NAS, BOT, STE, MER, ALO; retirements: MAL
SAI inside ERI for P11

16: RAI on the tail of teammate VET; they’re on different tyre strategies
VET lets RAI pass for P3

17: HAM 6.7sec behind ROS

18: VES easily past teammate SAI
ALO pits

20/55: ROS, HAM, RAI, VET, PER, GRO, RIC, HUL, MAS, KVY

21: Radio from VES – flat spot, need to pit
VES pits after just 13 laps since his previous stop

23: HAM f/lap 1:46.744
HAM closing the gap to just under 5secs
STE is between HAM and ROS

24: VET pits – his 1st stop – more primes
ROS is picking up his pace in response to HAM
BUT passes GRO as the Lotus comes out of the pits, but GRO easily passes BUT on a straight

26: HAM has reduced ROS’ lead to 2.6sec
Radio from ALO – discussing retiring the car

27: RIC pits, as does MAS
Radio for HAM telling him ROS looks like he’s suffering with his front tyres

Half distance

28: HAM 1.8sec behind ROS
PER pits from P4
VET f/lap 1:46.078

29: HAM takes another 0.4sec out of ROS’ lead

30/55: ROS, HAM, RAI, VET, PER, RIC, GRO, HUL, KVY, MAS; VES, SAI, ERI, BOT, BUT, NAS, ALO, STE, MER; DNF: MAL
BOT pits; serves his 5-sec penalty then new tyres

32: ROS pits; front wing adjustment

33: RAI pits; front right slow coming off; 6.6sec stop
HAM is running slower so why are Mercedes leaving him out?
Radio for HAM – decided to extend this (tyre) stint

34: ROS f/lap
VES easily past SAI again

35/55: ROS still quicker than HAM; don’t understand why they’re not pitting HAM
RAI closing on teammate VET

36: Radio for ROS encouraging him to pick up the pace a bit
Ferrari arrange for RAI to pass VET, taking P3

37: Radio from HAM asking about the tyres on “the other car”

38: RAI f/lap 1:45.352
Radio for HAM telling him he’d come out 6sec behind ROS if he pits now; HAM asks how much longer to stay out; told there’s 18 laps left (Are they considering not pitting?)

39: Radio for PER telling him VET has to make another stop for options

40/55: VET pits; clean stop; rejoins behind RIC

41: Radio from HAM asking how much to back off to conserve these tyres; engineer says tyres won’t last; HAM says tyres are fine

42: HAM pits; clean stop; primes, same as ROS – at least it’s a new set

43: Radio for KVY telling him to “follow the beeps”, i.e. change gear when told
VET f/lap 1:45.156
BUT passes ERI for P12

44: HAM is 12secs behind ROS with 12 laps left; RAI is 6sec behind HAM
Radio for KVY – charge 14 for one straight but you have to commit
HAM f/lap 1:44.713
Forceful but clean pass from VES

45/55: ROS, HAM, RAI, PER, VET, RIC, GRO, HUL, KVY, MAS, SAI, BUT, VES, NAS, BOT, ERI, ALO
GRO pits
HAM f/lap 1:44.517
VET right on the tail of PER
PER defends, makes VET drive deep across the marbles

46: VES attacking BUT
BUT defends; VES runs wide, off-track, but returns ahead of BUT
Surely VES should let BUT reclaim position?
ROS laps BUT, which makes things more complicated

47: VES still ahead of BUT
Replay shows VES gain an advantage

48: Turn 9 incident involving cars 22 and 33 (BUT and VES) under investigation
HAM 7.8 sec behind ROS

49: 5-second penalty for VES but he’s almost 7sec ahead of BUT now
Radio for HAM – flat out to the end; no reply from HAM

50/55: ROS, HAM, RAI, VET, PER, RIC, HUL, MAS, KVY, SAI; GRO, VES, BUT, BOT, ERI, NAS, ALO, STE, MER; DNF: MAL

51: ROS 6.8sec ahead of HAM with 5 laps to go
Radio for HAM telling him “Strat mode 10” (turn the engine down) but if he doesn’t comply they’ll let ROS go “Strat mode 6” (presumably more power)

52: Radio for ROS “Strat mode 6”
Radio for HAM “Strat mode 10; that is an instruction”
Radio for ROS “Strat 10 please”

53 = 3 laps remaining: GRO inside SAI to steal P10

54: GRO catching KVY; slipstream and DRS; dives inside and takes P9
BOT closing on BUT

55 = final lap: Incident under investigation – car 33 (VES) ignoring blue flags

ROS takes the chequered flag; 6th win of the season; first F1 hat-trick

Provisional result: ROS, HAM, RAI, VET, PER, RIC, HUL, MAS, GRO, KVY; SAI, BUT, BOT, ERI, NAS, VES*, ALO, STE, MER
DNF: MAL

*Max Verstappen had five seconds added to his race time for leaving the track and gaining advantage during a battle for position with Button, and then received a post-race drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags, dropping the Toro Rosso driver from 12th to 16th. [FIA]

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