Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi – Qualifying


It’s the last race weekend of the season; there’s not much left to fight over, but will Vettel and Leclerc still be battling amongst themselves? Ferrari say the intra-team squabbling is over, but LEC says VET “should not have made move” which put them both out of the GP of Brazil.

It’s also the last time we’ll see HUL and KUB in F1 (at least for now) as Esteban Ocon will join RIC at Renault and Nicholas Latifi will be alongside RUS at Williams.

BOT will take grid place penalties for engine changes after the Mercedes was retired on lap 52 at the previous race. [FIA]

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: BOT (1:36.957), VER, HAM, ALB, VET
    HAM has #1 on his car for FP1 but will continue to use #44 next season
    VET spun and bashed his Ferrari’s rear right into the wall
    RIC’s Renault engine let go, spraying oil over GAS; BOT was just behind them and almost lost the Mercedes on the oil
  2. FP2: BOT (1:36.256), HAM, LEC, VET, VER
    BOT and GRO collide! BOT was adjudged to be at fault and given a reprimand [FIA]
    LEC touched the astroturf, got bit of a tank-slapper and slammed into the armco barrier
    GIO spun in the same spot that LEC went off
  3. FP3: VER (1:36.566), HAM, BOT, ALB, VET

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Air temperature 27°C; track 33°C; humidity 60%
KVY’s car is still being worked on in the garage
ALB 1:37.699 on soft compound tyres
VER 1:36.390
VET has spun on the main straight and is facing the wrong way
HAM 1:36.231
Radio from HAM reporting that his seat is clicking
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are RAI, GRO, RUS, GIO, KUB
BOT 1:36.200
KVY released right in front of GRO
HAM 1:35.851
Pit lane incident involving KVY and GRO will be investigated after the session
RAI P15
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are STR, MAG, RUS, GIO, KUB
MAG P10, KVY P16
KVY P10, GIO P16
STR P10, GRO P16
RUS P19
Back of the grid: GRO, GIO, RAI, RUS, KUB
So RUS out-qualified teammate KUB every single race this season

Qualifying session 2
Mechanics are working on KVY’s Toro Rosso again
Looks like Mercedes have sent HAM out on medium tyres; Red Bull do the same for VER and ALB
Radio from ALB asking why he’s the first on track again
Ferrari are running both VET and LEC on softs
ALB 1:36.718
HAM 1:35.634
(VER P2)
(VET P2)
(LEC P2)
(BOT P2)
3mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are KVY, NOR, STR, GAS, MAG
STR a little squirmy under braking; goes P10
Chequered flag
GAS P10, STR P11
MAG P15
NOR P8, GAS P11
HUL P10, PER P11
LEC 1:35.543 on mediums – faster than his lap on softs!
Middle of the grid: PER, GAS, STR, KVY, MAG

This means LEC and BOT* will start the race on mediums, and the rest of the Top 10 will be on softs
*Despite his grid place penalty meaning BOT will start at the back, he’ll still have to start on those used mediums

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between LEC, HAM, BOT, VET, VER, SAI, ALB, NOR, RIC, HUL
HUL 1:37.515
NOR 1:37.167
SAI 1:36.479
HAM 1:34.828
BOT P2
VET P3
LEC P3
VER P2
Order after first run: HAM, VER, BOT, LEC, VET, ALB, SAI, NOR, HUL; no time from RIC
Radio for LEC telling him “Third sector, we’re losing six tenths”; LEC sounds shocked
RIC P7, so the order now is HAM, VER, BOT, LEC, VET, ALB, RIC, SAI, NOR, HUL
Time for a final run; everyone on soft tyres, of course
Chequered flag – LEC didn’t make it across in time!
HAM 1:34.779
VER P3
BOT P2
SAI P8
VET P5
Front of the grid: HAM, BOT, VER, LEC, VET, ALB, NOR, RIC, SAI, HUL

That’s HAM’s first pole since Germany.

Reminder: Pit lane incident (in Q1) involving KVY and GRO will be investigated after the session

Provisional grid: HAM, BOT*, VER, LEC, VET, ALB, NOR, RIC, SAI, HUL, PER, GAS, STR, KVY, MAG, GRO, GIO, RAI, RUS, KUB
*BOT will start at the back of the grid due to engine penalties