Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi – Race

Final race of the 2018 F1 season, but it’s only 110 days until the start of the next race weekend 🙂

VER used a different strategy in Qualifying and will start the race on hypersofts; the rest of the top 6 will be on ultrasofts.
Provisional grid: HAM, BOT, VET, RAI, RIC, VER, GRO, LEC, OCO, HUL, SAI, ERI, MAG, PER, ALO, HAR, GAS, VAN, SIR, STR
There was just one potential penalty (GRO and GAS were under investigation for their FP3 collision) but they announced in Q2 that there would be no further action.

The sun will set midway through the race, so the floodlights are already on
Currently air temperature 32°C; track 35°C; there are some fluffy clouds in the distance but no forecast of rain (FIA say 40% chance but no-one’s convinced)

Ferrari crew applaud RAI as he leaves the garage for the dummy grid
Radio from STR – “My seat is broken”!?
Mercedes mechanics are taking a close look at HAM’s car; they’ve taken a side pod off
ALO says he plans on giving things a wide margin at the start; “I don’t want to have a silly accident”

Mechanics clear the grid
HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap
Radio from HAM asking if it’s hotter than the previous sessions
Further down the grid, most are on supersofts but ALO, PER, HAR and SAI are on ultras

01/55: Clean start; HAM stays ahead of BOT
Slow start from VER; he’s down to P10, behind OCO!
Contact; HUL flipped over!
Radio for HUL – “you ok?”; “I’m hanging here like a cow; get me out; there’s fire!”
Marshals taking their sweet time in getting to the car – disgraceful!
Fortunately the FIA medical car stops but there’s no sign of marshals
Safety Car deployed
Radio from GRO reporting rear puncture
Radio from HAM – “no risks”

02[SC]: HAR pits; new front wing
Replay of HUL and GRO coming together; HUL was fractionally ahead but turned across GRO

03[SC]: HUL’s car has been removed; clean up should be quick
No further action in the GRO/HUL incident

04[SC]: SC pitting at the end of this lap
HAM, BOT, VET, RAI, LEC,RIC, GRO, OCO, VER, PER, SAI, ERI, GAS, ALO, STR, MAG, VAN, SIR, HAR; retirement: HUL
Incident involving SAI and ERI noted – leaving the track and gaining an advantage

05/55: HAM pulls away from BOT at the restart
It’ll be a couple of laps before DRS is available
OCO and PER pass VER
VER fights back; passes OCO
Radio for VER giving him some setting changes
OCO ahead of VER again

06: HAM fastest lap 1:43.982
VER makes a forceful pass on OCO; contact but both continue
OCO reclaims P8
VER attacks again; takes P8

07: RAI slowing; parks the Ferrari on the main straight
Virtual Safety Car deployed
Mercedes get ready for a pit stop

08[VSC]: HAM pits, followed by LEC, GRO
Marshals push RAI’s car through the pit wall and into the pit lane

09[VSC]: VSC ending
DRS enabled
Radio from HAM – “did you know we’d come out behind these guys?” (He’s P5, behind VER) Confirmed; “you’re going to the end”
HAM easily past VER for P4
VER uses DRS to reclaim P4

10/55: BOT, VET, RIC, VER, HAM, OCO, PER, ERI, SAI, GAS, ALO, MAG, LEC, STR, VAN, SIR, GRO, HAR; retirements: RAI, HUL
RIC 1:43.861
Replay of HAR running wide, onto some dust, sliding into the wall but surviving ok; I think that was lap 4 or 5, just after the SC

11: VER closing on RIC

12: VET locks up as he tries to stay ahead of RIC
SAI closing up on ERI

14: SAI takes P8 from ERI

15/55: BOT, VET, RIC, VER, HAM, OCO, PER, SAI, ERI, GAS, ALO, LEC, MAG, STR, VAN, GRO, SIR, HAR

16: VET pits from P2; right rear a bit slow coming off; supersofts go on; rejoins P6, just behind OCO
VET quickly makes a move on OCO for P5; the Force India doesn’t fight him

17: BOT pits from P1; supers on; rejoins P4
GAS attacks ERI; GAS almost turns into ERI but the Sauber holds on to P9

18: VER pits; supers go on; rejoins P5
VET f/lap 1:43.602

19: BOT f/lap 1:43.095
Sky commentators report “it’s raining downtown”!

20/55: RIC, HAM, BOT, VET, VER, PER, SAI, ERI, GAS, ALO, LEC, MAG, STR, VAN, GRO, SIR, HAR, OCO
Radio for HAM – “We expect RIC to go long”
Radio for RIC – “All the top cars now are on supersofts except us”
How long before RIC pits?

21: Radio for HAM – “There’s a threat of rain later in the race”

24: OCO has pitted; passes SIR for P16
There’s rain visible in the floodlights
It’s still 33°C so it’ll probably boil off quickly

25/55: RIC, HAM, BOT, VET, VER, PER, SAI, ERI, GAS, ALO, LEC, MAG, STR, VAN, GRO, OCO, SIR, HAR
SIR runs wide; HAR steals P17
ERI slowing; falling down the order; radio from ERI “No power at all”

26: ERI pulls off track and parks the Sauber
LEC takes P9 from ALO

27: PER pits; supersofts go on; rejoins P11
Radio from HAM – “My tyres definitely don’t feel great”

Half distance

28: ALO pits

29: Lightning in the distance!

30/55: RIC, HAM, BOT, VET, VER, SAI, GAS, LEC, PER, MAG, STR, VAN, GRO, OCO, HAR, SIR, ALO; retirements: ERI, RAI, HUL
BOT f/lap 1:43.017

31: VER f/lap 1:43.000
VAN, GRO, OCO are 3-abreast on the back straight
VAN comes out ahead
GRO briefly airborne after taking a lot of kerb

32: OCO around the outside of VAN for P11; OCO runs wide but stays ahead

33: BOT f/lap 1:42.975

34: RIC pits from P1; supers go on; rejoins P5
Race control: OCO under investigation for gaining an advantage

35/55: HAM, BOT, VET, VER, RIC, SAI, LEC, PER, MAG, STR, OCO, GRO, VAN, GAS, HAR, SIR
GAS inside VAN for P13
5-sec penalty for OCO
VAN reclaims P13
VET right under BOT’s rear wing – did BOT have an incident which let VET close up? Yes, he locked up in Turn 5

36: VET steals P2 from BOT
RIC f/lap 1:41.249
BOT locks up and runs wide; VER now on his tail

37: Radio for RIC – “Tyre wear not a concern so you can get stuck in” 🙂

38: SAI pits from P6; rejoins still P6
BOT still looking scrappy
VER lines up BOT
BOT defends but VER takes P3; wheel to wheel contact but both continue

39: RIC now closing on BOT
RIC dives inside the Mercedes to take P4
BOT fights back and is alongside into the chicane but RIC holds on to P4

40/55: HAM, VET, VER, RIC, BOT, SAI, LEC, PER, MAG, OCO, STR, GRO, GAS, ALO, HAR, VAN, SIR; retirements: ERI, RAI, HUL

41: BOT pits for a 2nd time; ultrasofts go on; rejoins still P5

42: RIC closing on teammate VER

43: BOT f/lap 1:40.953

44: HAM posts a personal fastest lap; he’s ~5.5sec ahead of VET but VET is about 0.5sec/lap quicker

45/55: HAM, VET, VER, RIC, BOT, SAI, LEC, PER, OCO, GRO, GAS, MAG, ALO, HAR, STR, VAN, SIR

46: Smoke from OCO’s engine; radio telling him to be careful because there might be oil on his tyres
OCO heads for the pits; loses power in the pit entrance; marshals are trying to push him but now there’s just a gaggle of people standing in the pit entrance
Force India mechanics are running down the pit lane with a dolly so they can move OCO’s car

48: Now GAS’ engine is looking smokey but he’s still pushing hard
Radio for GAS – “stop in a safe position”
GAS pulls off and parks the Toro Rosso

50/55: HAM, VET, VER, RIC, BOT, SAI, LEC, PER, GRO, MAG, ALO, HAR, STR, VAN, SIR; retirements: GAS, OCO, ERI, RAI, HUL
Frustration over the radio from VER – “Mate listen, listen, I’ve got engine braking!”; his engineer calmly replies “I am listening, you don’t need to tell me to listen”

53: PER lining up LEC

55 = final lap: VET f/lap 1:40.867
5-sec penalty for ALO for cutting a corner

HAM takes the chequered flag
Provisional result: HAM, VET, VER, RIC, BOT, SAI, LEC, PER, GRO, MAG; ALO, HAR, STR, VAN, SIR
DNF: GAS, OCO, ERI, RAI, HUL

HAM and VET make a mess of the track with some doughnuts
Some nice thank you & farewell messages over the team radios
ALO joins HAM and VET as they do more doughnuts on the main straight

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