Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi – Qualifying

It all comes down to the final race of the 2016 season. Mercedes are Constructors’ Champions again, but which of their drivers will win the other title? Rosberg is just 12 points ahead of Hamilton after the GP of Brazil, so it’s still up in the air.

HAM was fastest in Free Practice 1 and FP2, but it was VET in FP3.

Just ahead of the start of Quali, the air temperature is 26°C; track 29°C

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
The Toro Rosso pair of KVY and SAI are keen to get on track as soon as the lights turn green
Radio from KVY asking about his brakes – told “we have new brakes, as discussed”
KVY 1:43.007
GUT 1:42.492
MAG 1:42.142
Radio from GRO – same problem as yesterday
BUT 1:41.806
HAM 1:39.487
(ROS 1:40.511 for P2)
RAI runs wide out of Turn 3; recovers
VET has to move well out of the way to let his teammate finish his quick lap
VET P2
RAI P2
5mins left of Q1; bottom 6 are PAL, KVY, SAI, ERI, OCO, NAS
NAS P16, bumps WEH to P17 and potentially not in to Q2
Radio conversation with GRO – sounds like he’s very frustrated with his Haas and they’re not sure how to help him
Chequered flag
BUT jumps up to P9
OCO P17
PAL P15
WEH P16
Back of the grid: KVY, MAG, NAS, OCO, SAI, ERI

Qualifying session 2
HAM first out of the pits, followed by ROS and RAI
HAM taking it very gently on his out lap, not pushing the purple ultra-soft tyres
Radio for RAI telling him ROS is slower on the straight; RAI backs off to make space for his quick lap
HAM 1:39.382
ROS P2 – closer than in Q1 but still just over 0.1sec slower than his teammate
Both Red Bulls on track and they’re on red super-soft tyres
RIC P5, and then VES P4, so the super-softs are quick enough
Remember the top 10 drivers will start the race with the same tyres that they set their fastest Q2 times
Everyone has set a lap time; bottom 6 are ALO, GUT, GRO, PAL, WEH, BUT
Replay shows HAM all over the rear wing of MAS but neither was on a quick lap
Radio for RIC telling him to start a quick lap (on ultra-softs) but be ready to abort the lap
Chequered flag
ALO P10, relegating BOT
BUT P12
GRO P13
GUT P13
PAL P15
WEH P16
Middle of the grid: BOT, BUT, GUT, GRO, PAL, WEH
VES and RIC didn’t improve their times, so they’ll start the race on their super-soft sets

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between HAM, ROS, RAI, VES, VET, RIC, HUL, PER, MAS & ALO
HAM at the end of the pit lane a second before the green lights
HUL close to HAM on their out lap, but HUL seems content to sit behind the Mercedes
On-board with HAM, showing him changing his brake balance a few times on his quick lap
HAM 1:39.013
HUL P2
ROS P2 – 0.34sec slower than HAM
RAI P3
PER P5
RIC P4
VET P5
VES P5
ALO P9
Order is HAM, ROS, RAI, RIC, VES, VET, HUL, PER, ALO and no time yet from MAS
Everyone on track for a final flying lap
HAM pushing a little harder on his out lap
HAM 1:38.755
ROS P2 – 0.3sec slower again
RAI P3
RIC P3
Yellow flag briefly – VES wide in Turn 11
MAS P9
PER P8
ALO P9
VET P5
Front of the grid: HAM, ROS, RIC, RAI, VET, VES, HUL, PER, ALO, MAS

Provisional grid: HAM, ROS, RIC, RAI, VET, VES, HUL, PER, ALO, MAS, BOT, BUT, GUT, GRO, PAL, WEH, KVY, MAG, NAS, OCO, SAI, ERI.

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