Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi – Qualifying

Despite this being the last race weekend of the season, there’s still plenty of action: there’s still friction between VER and OCO after OCO collided with VER on lap 44 in Brazil, and then the post-race shoving of OCO by VER which resulted in VER having to serve 2-days of community service for the FIA.

Robert Kubica has been confirmed as a Williams driver for next season alongside George Russell. [BBC] [updated driver change chart]

Haas has filed a protest claiming (the new) Force India aren’t a constructor, which could jeopardise their prize money from last season. [BBC] Update: the stewards have dismissed Haas’ claims. [F1]

There’s been some discussion about the “sausage” kerbs following the horrific accident in last weekend’s Formula 3 race in Macau in which Sophia Floersch fractured her spine and four others were injured after her car was launched over the barriers by a sausage kerb. [BBC]

HAM is sporting number 1 on his car (as well as his official #44) and a gold helmet.
ALO’s McLaren has a new colour scheme – they’ve added yellow, red and blue stripes (representing his home region of Asturias in northern Spain) across the engine cover [F1] (VAN is also leaving McLaren but no special paintwork for him.)
ALO’s “helmet is painted on one side as his very first helmet when he entered F1 – and on the other side as his 2018 helmet, with the addition of a stripe at the front, with all his victories. Also, gold is replacing yellow.” [BBC]

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: VER (1:38.491), RIC, BOT, HAM, OCO
  2. FP2: BOT (1:37.236), VER, RIC, HAM, RAI
  3. FP3: HAM (1:37.176), RAI, VET, VER, BOT
    LEC spins; wrecks the Sauber’s rear wing
    RIC retired his Red Bull again – apparently it’s a water leak which caused the engine to shut itself down
    GRO collides with GAS; the Haas was on a cool-down lap and should have been off the racing line; they have both been summoned by the stewards

Tyre choices this weekend are: supersoft (red), ultrasoft (purple), hypersoft (pink).
Air temperature 28°C; track 32°C; there’s not a cloud in the sky, but the sun will set soon

No penalties as yet, but GRO and GAS are under investigation for their FP3 collision.

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
LEC 1:38.968
GAS 1:38.707
RAI 1:37.010
VET 1:36.946
(HAM P3)
(BOT P4)
(RIC P4)
(VER P5)
VET 1:36.775
3mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are MAG, ERI, VAN, SIR, STR
Bodywork flying off MAG’s Haas
Chequered flag
(OCO P4!)
ERI P11; ALO P16
MAG P13; PER P16
PER P9
ALO P14; HAR P16
VAN P18
GAS lost power out of the final turn
Back of the grid: HAR, GAS, VAN, SIR, STR
That also means ALO has out-qualified teammate VAN every time this season

Qualifying session 2
HUL released right in front of RIC
Race control: no further action on the GRO/GAS FP3 incident
Some jostling for track position on the out lap
HAM 1:35.693 – that’s a new track record
(BOT P2)
(RIC P3)
(RAI P3)
(VET P4) – a little distracted by a slow-moving GRO
A Ferrari is called to the weighbridge – if it’s VET then I hope he behaves better than in Brazil!
(VER P10)
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are MAG, ERI, OCO, PER, ALO
Radio for OCO – “Do you think you can go faster on another ultra(soft tyre)?”; “Not a lot”
Floodlights becoming more obvious as the sun sets
Chequered flag; VER down in P12
OCO P8
VER P2
Radio for RIC – “Abort Daniel abort, slow down, slow down, slow down…” (He was P10 and putting in a quicker lap in case someone bumped him down, but he’s on tyres they don’t want to start the race on)
Middle of the grid: SAI, ERI, MAG, PER, ALO

VER will start the race on hypersofts; the rest of the top 6 will be on ultrasofts

Qualifying session 3 starts shortly…
Top 10 shootout is between HAM, VER, VET, BOT, LEC, HUL, GRO, RAI, OCO & RIC
GRO 1:36.192
HAM 1:35.295
BOT P2
RIC P3
VER P4
RAI P4
VET P2
Order after 1st run: HAM, VET, BOT, RIC, RAI, VER, GRO, HUL, LEC, OCO
3mins left
Everyone heads out for their final run
Chequered flag
OCO P8
LEC P8
HAM 1:34.794
BOT P2
RIC P4
VER pits
RAI P4
VET P3
Front of the grid: HAM, BOT, VET, RAI, RIC, VER, GRO, LEC, OCO, HUL

Mercedes are the first team to have 5 consecutive front-row lockouts at the same circuit

Provisional grid: HAM, BOT, VET, RAI, RIC, VER, GRO, LEC, OCO, HUL, SAI, ERI, MAG, PER, ALO, HAR, GAS, VAN, SIR, STR

HAM: “It was emotional because it is the last time in this car.”

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