Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi – Race

For the final time this season, it’s race day 🙂

Only one penalty to apply which actually doesn’t change the Qualifying order as HAR was already right at the back.
Grid: BOT, HAM, VET, RIC, RAI, VER, HUL, PER, OCO, MAS, ALO, SAI, VAN, MAG, STR, GRO, GAS, WEH, ERI, HAR

BOT leads everyone away on the formation lap
Air temperature 24°C; track 31°C
Looks like everyone starting on ultrasoft tyres except WEH, ERI & HAR who are on supersofts

01/55: BOT hangs on to P1 this time (he lost it to VET in Brazil)
MAG spins, rejoins P20

02: BOT, HAM, VET, RIC, RAI, VER, HUL, PER, OCO, MAS, ALO, SAI, STR, GRO, VAN, GAS, WEH, HAR, ERI, MAG
Radio from PER complaining HUL has to give the position (P7) back after cutting a corner

03: BOT fastest lap 1:43.166
VAN struggling for grip
Incident involving HUL and PER is under investigation – leaving the track and gaining an advantage

04: HUL given 5-sec penalty

05: BOT, HAM, VET, RIC, RAI, VER, HUL, PER, OCO, MAS, ALO, SAI, STR, GRO, VAN, GAS, WEH, HAR, ERI, MAG
HAM f/lap 1:43.137

06: BOT f/lap 1:43.011
GRO dives inside STR to steal P13 but STR fights back and reclaims the position

07: BOT f/lap 1:42.826

08: BOT f/lap 1:42.825
BOT has 1.8sec lead over HAM, who in turn is 2.5sec ahead of VET

09: GRO still harrying STR over P13

10/55: BOT, HAM, VET, RIC, RAI, VER, HUL, PER, OCO, MAS, ALO, SAI, STR, GRO, VAN, GAS, WEH, HAR, ERI, MAG

11: HAM f/lap 1:42.698
GRO attacks again, and this time he makes the move stick

12: BOT f/lap 1:32.522
STR pits; rejoins P20

13: Radio for HAM telling him to use 2nd gear in Turn 9 to reduce vibration – that feels a bit close to driving advice but hopefully it’s clear to the FIA that it’s safety/reliability related
VAN pits

14: Radio for GRO telling him to “obey the Turn 11 dotted line – do not go to the other side of the dotted line”; he sounds like a spoiled kid when he replies “I can crash if you want – I am fed up with the rules”

15/55: VER pits; rejoins P9

16: RAI pits; rejoins P7
VER dives inside OCO for P8

17: BOT f/lap 1:42.457
Radio for HAM telling him to adjust his brake balance as the rear is getting too hot
PER pits
GAS spins
Radio for GAS asking if the car’s OK; GAS says he “lost the rear completely”

18: HUL pits; serves his 5-sec penalty; rejoins P12, just ahead of PER, so expect PER to complain that the penalty was ineffective
Radio from VAN complaining about grip; “it’s like driving a rally car”

20/55: BOT, HAM, VET, RIC, RAI, VER, OCO, MAS, ALO, SAI, HUL, GRO, PER, WEH, MAG, HAR, GAS, ERI, STR, VAN
BOT f/lap 1:42.439
RIC pits
GRO takes P11 from HUL

21: VET pits
HUL reclaims P11
RIC pulls off track, across the track
Radio for RIC confirming “hydraulic problem”

22: BOT pits from P1; rejoins P2
HAM f/lap 1:42.421
ALO pits
Marshals push RIC’s car away under double waved yellow flags

23: MAS pits, as does MAG
MAS rejoins alongside ALO
Wheel to wheel battle between MAS and ALO over P11
ALO comes out ahead

25/55: HAM pits; BOT reclaims P1; HAM rejoins P2 comfortably ahead of VET
BOT f/lap 1:42.204

26: Only OCO, SAI and GRO yet to pit

27: HAM f/lap 1:41.734
HAM 1.1sec behind BOT – will he challenge for P1?

Half distance

28: Slow-mo replay of STR hitting a kerb really hard and shock waves ripple through the whole body of the Williams

29: HAM now under 1sec behind BOT, so he has DRS to help him attack his teammate
WEH pits

30/55: BOT, HAM, VET, RAI, VER, OCO, SAI, HUL, PER, GRO, ALO, MAS, GAS, ERI, STR, VAN, MAG, WEH, HAR; retirements: RIC

31: STR pits; rejoins P19

32: GAS and ERI pit
Now OCO and SAI pit
SAI has a problem as he exits the pits – front left wheel wasn’t properly attached
SAI parks on the grass; his team will probably get a penalty for unsafe release

33: Marshals making a mess of clearing SAI’s car – they’ve turned too tight against the barriers

34: HAM closing on BOT again

35/55: BOT, HAM, VET, RAI, VER, HUL, PER, OCO, ALO, MAS, GRO, VAN, MAG, WEH, HAR, GAS, STR, ERI; retirements: SAI, RIC
ERI easily past STR for P17
STR has been complaining that his Williams is “undrivable”

36: Radio from ALO asking where VAN is (P12) and what can he do to help VAN get some points

37: STR pits again – stop #3
GAS locks up, runs wide
VER closing on RAI as they deal with some backmarkers

39: HAM still sitting about 1.1sec behind BOT
Tweet from Force India suggests they’re going to let PER and OCO fight it out (they’re 5secs apart in P7 and P8 respectively)

40/55: BOT, HAM, VET, RAI, VER, HUL, PER, OCO, ALO, MAS, GRO, VAN, MAG, WEH, HAR, GAS, ERI, STR

41: WEH leaves the door open and MAG steals P13

42: BOT f/lap 1:41.577
HAR closing on WEH

43: BOT f/lap 1:41.406
HAM complains that he’s struggling to follow BOT

45: BOT, HAM, VET, RAI, VER, HUL, PER, OCO, ALO, MAS, GRO, VAN, MAG, WEH, HAR, GAS, ERI, STR

46: Radio for VAN telling him he’s doing a good job – feels like something left unsaid
Radio for HAR reminding him to drink

48: BOT closing on ALO (P9) to lap him
Radio for ERI telling him GAS has problems with vibration so attack now

49: HAM brakes a little later and gets very close to BOT
Unfortunately HAM can’t stay that close to BOT

50/55: BOT, HAM, VET, RAI, VER, HUL, PER, OCO, ALO, MAS, GRO, VAN, MAG, WEH, HAR, GAS, ERI, STR; retirements: SAI, RIC

51: VET f/lap 1:41.244

52 = 4 laps remaining: BOT f/lap 1:40.750
HAM dropped back to 3sec behind BOT – is he taking it easy or is there a problem?

53: BOT f/lap 1:40.650

55 = last lap of the 2017 season: all a bit processional, anticlimactic end of the year – it used to be more exciting when Brazil was the last race

BOT takes the chequered flag
HAM P2
VET P3, so he’s P2 in the Drivers’ Championship

Provisional result: BOT, HAM, VET, RAI, VER, HUL, PER, OCO, ALO, MAS; GRO, VAN, MAG, WEH, HAR, GAS, ERI, STR
DNF: SAI, RIC

In the pre-podium room, HAM tells VET “It is impossible to pass here, they have to change the track”
Absolutely! It’s boring! Definitely not the way to finish the season.

So now it’s time to unveil the new F1 logo… https://twitter.com/F1/status/934798729915146241 … meh

Time to start the countdown to March 25th 🙂

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