Paul Henman formula1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Race

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Race

No Quali notes from me – I was out with Toronto Photowalks celebrating our 13th anniversary.

Lots of celebrations of VET’s last F1 race. Others not returning in 2023 will be: RIC (will be Red Bull’s test driver), SCH (Mercedes reserve driver?) and LAT.
Here’s what the 2023 driver line-up will look like:

Grid: VER, PER, LEC, SAI, HAM, RUS, NOR, OCO, VET, ALO, TSU, SCH, RIC, STR, ZHO, MAG, GAS, BOT, ALB, LAT
Air temperature 29°C; track 35°C – the sun’s setting so temps will drop during the race

VER leads everyone away for the final formation lap of 2022
Everyone starting on medium compound tyres except MAG and BOT on hard, and GAS (P17) on softs

01/58: VER leads into Turn 1
NOR takes P6 from RUS
SAI tags HAM’s front-left; the Mercedes bounces across the corner

02: VER, PER, LEC, HAM, SAI, NOR, RUS, OCO, VET, ALO, TSU, STR, SCH, RIC, ZHO, ALB, MAG, GAS, LAT, BOT
RIC inside SCH for P13

03: VER fastest lap 1:30.541
DRS enabled
Race control decide SAI didn’t push HAM wide on lap 1, and now they’re considering whether to penalise HAM for cutting that corner

04: VER f/lap 1:29.968
Radio for HAM, “We’ve been asked to give the position back to SAI”
HAM lets SAI take P4

05/58: VER, PER, LEC, SAI, HAM, NOR, RUS, OCO, VET, ALO, TSU, STR, RIC, ZHO, SCH, ALB, GAS, MAG, LAT, BOT
HAM has DRS to close on SAI
HAM reclaims P4

06: RUS on SAI’s tail now

07: SAI has DRS behind HAM; radio from RUS wanting HAM to open the gap and deny SAI use of DRS

08: SAI lines up HAM, sweeps past to take P4
VET takes P8 from OCO… but OCO fights back and reclaims it

09: Radio from RUS, “What’s going on?”; “You’re free to race”
HAM defends P5 from his teammate
RUS has DRS and passes HAM for P5

10/58: VER, PER, LEC, SAI, RUS, HAM, NOR, OCO, VET, ALO, TSU, STR, RIC, ZHO, ALB, SCH, GAS, MAG, BOT, LAT
Radio from HAM, “I’m losing power – what’s going on?”
VET has another look at OCO; the Alpine stays ahead

12: Radio for PER advising him to change his line through Turn 12

13: VET still looking for a way around OCO
HAM runs wide; 2nd warning for exceeding track limits

15/58: OCO pits from P8; hard tyres go on; rejoins P15
Radio from RUS, “Fronts are gone – consider plan B”

16: PER pits from P2; hards; rejoins P6
RUS pits too; hards; slow stop; unsafe release; rejoins P9
NOR and ZHO pit

17: PER takes P5 from VET

18: SAI pits from P3; hards go on; rejoins P7
RUS f/lap 1:29.864
ALO closing on VET
Radio from HAM, “I think the floor is broken”

19: HAM pits from P3; hards; clean stop; rejoins P9
SAI inside ALO for P5

20/58: VER, LEC, PER, VET, SAI, RUS, ALO…pits
PER f/lap 1:29.798
ALO pits, followed by RIC
SAI easily past VET for P4

21: VER pits from P1; hards; rejoins P2
5-sec penalty for RUS for the unsafe release

22: LEC pits from P1; a bit slow; rejoins P3
Yet to pit are VET, BOT and MAG
RUS takes P5 from VET

23: VER 2.2sec ahead of PER

24: ALO takes P11 from TSU

25/58: VER, PER, LEC, SAI, RUS, HAM, NOR, VET, OCO, STR, ALO, TSU, BOT, ALB, ZHO, RIC, MAG, SCH, GAS, LAT

26: SCH takes P17 from MAG
VET pits; hards; rejoins P19

27: GAS fights his way past MAG for P17

28: ALO pits, retires – that’s the end of his time with Alpine
VET dives inside GAS for P16

29: LEC f/lap 1:29.744
MAG pits; that just leaves BOT yet to stop

Half distance

30/58: VER, PER, LEC, SAI, RUS, HAM, NOR, OCO, STR, TSU, ALB, ZHO, RIC, SCH, BOT, VET, GAS, LAT, MAG; out: ALO
Radio from PER, “I’m being held up by Max” – the team’s not going to tell VER to let him pass though
Radio from SAI asking if Red Bull are 1-stopping

31: VET and GAS pass BOT
BOT finally pits

32: Radio from RUS, “I don’t want to pit too early”

33: Radio for SAI, “Pit opposite Red Bull”

34: PER pits; hards again; rejoins P6

35/58: VER, LEC, SAI, RUS, HAM, PER, NOR, OCO, STR, TSU
Radio for VER asking for “increased tyre management”; the usual whiny response from VER

36: PER f/lap 1:29.212

37: PER f/lap 1:29.199
Radio for PER, “Expecting LEC to go to the end – let’s reel him in”

38: PER f/lap 1:29.065
HAM now has DRS behind RUS

39: Yellow flag – SCH and LAT have collided and tapped the tyre wall
Both get going again; LAT has a puncture
PER’s lap time deleted for exceeding track limits

40/58: SAI and RUS both pit
SAI gets new hards; rejoins P6
RUS serves his 5-sec penalty; mediums go on; rejoins P9
Radio from HAM, “Don’t leave me on a one (stop)”

41: Replay of SCH looking inside LAT but misjudged it and made contact

42: 5-sec penalty for SCH for causing a collision
RUS f/lap 1:29.042

43: VET looks at the outside of ZHO but the Alfa Romeo holds on to P10

44: VET takes P10
STR has a go at passing ZHO but locks up, runs wide, and has to let ZHO reclaim P11

45/58: VER, LEC, HAM, PER, SAI, RUS, NOR, OCO, RIC, VET
NOR f/lap 1:28.391
PER inside HAM to steal P3 but HAM re-takes it

46: PER has another go and this time takes P3 from HAM

47: Has Ferrari’s strategy ruined LEC’s chances?

48: Radio from HAM, “Are we too late to stop?”; he’s told he could battle back to P5 (i.e. pass RUS)
STR takes P10 from teammate VET

49: PER closing on LEC; 8sec gap
Radio from VET asking “How did we get the strategy so wrong?”
Radio for LEC, “Tyre saving on Turn 3”; “Ok, leave me alone please”

50/58: VER, LEC, PER, HAM, SAI, RUS, NOR, OCO, RIC, STR, VET, TSU, ALB, GAS, ZHO, SCH, BOT, MAG, LAT; out: ALO
STR takes P9 from RIC
SAI closing on HAM

52: Black and white flag for HAM for exceeding track limits
Radio for PER, “It’s going to be tight” (to catch LEC)

53: PER 5-sec behind LEC and 5 laps remaining
SAI 3-sec behind HAM

54: HAM about to lap BOT (P16) and SCH (P17)
SAI passes them too

55/58: HAM has a gearbox problem; SAI takes P4
RUS passes HAM too

56: PER gesticulates at GAS as he laps the Alphatauri
HAM pits; retires
LAT’s retired too

57: PER just over 2-sec behind LEC

58 = final lap: PER 1.9sec behind, so no DRS

VER takes the chequered flag
LEC P2

Provisional result: VER, LEC, PER, SAI, RUS, NOR, OCO, STR, RIC, VET; TSU, ZHO, ALB, GAS, BOT, SCH, MAG
DNF: HAM, LAT, ALO
f/lap: PER

VET onto the main straight of the pit lane; doughnuts in front of the roaring crowd
He won Driver of the Day with 56% of the vote

Drivers’ Championship: VER*, LEC, PER, RUS, SAI, HAM, NOR, OCO, ALO, BOT
Constructors’: Red Bull*, Ferrari, Mercedes, Alpine, McLaren, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Haas, AphaTauri, William
*Red Bull broke the budget cap so they “won” by cheating

[2022 calendar and line-up]

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