Tag Archives: Abu Dhabi GP

Kimi Raikkonen takes stunning win in breathtaking Abu Dhabi GP

Kimi Raikkonen has taken a surprise victory in one of the most tense and exciting races in recent times – in Abu Dhabi, of all places.

The Finn inherited the lead after Lewis Hamilton’s engine expired, and he was unbeatable in terms of raw pace. Fernando Alonso did well to move up to second place, but Sebastian Vettel was the star of the day, dropping to the back twice, and still fighting his way through to a podium finish.

In contrast to expectations, the race was jam-packed with unpredictability, and brilliant racing. Here is what happened:

At the start, Mark Webber had an absolute howler of a getaway, allowing Kimi Raikkonen to waltz into 2nd place from 4th. Jenson Button was quickly passed by Fernando Alonso, as the Ferrari made its way into 4th place.

A 4-car clash occurred at the first corner, as Nico Hulkenberg squeezed Bruno Senna, Paul di Resta and himself into an unavoidable accident. Romain Grosjean was then clipped by Nico Rosberg, and the Lotus crawled back to the pits.

Up front, Lewis Hamilton made a mistake on lap 2, nearly being passed by Kimi Raikkonen, but the McLaren just about held his position.

At the back, Sebastian Vettel began to make progress, but clipped his front wing against Bruno Senna’s Williams, suffering minor damage. Sebastian wasn’t fazed though, and made his way up as far as 13th before lap 10.

However, the race took another sharp twist, with the safety car deployed for a scary crash between Rosberg and Narain Karthikeyan. The HRT backed off going into turn 16, and the Mercedes smashed over Narain, forcing both cars out on the spot.

Red Bull took this opportunity to pit Vettel, dropping him to the back of the field. At the restart, the sister Red Bull put Alonso under huge pressure, but Fernando managed to hold onto 4th place.

From 19th, Sebastian got to work again, passing both Paul di Resta and Romain Grosjean within a matter of corners. However, he passed Grosjean off the track, and was forced to allow the Lotus past. A lap later, the Red Bull sailed past again to secure 17th place.

Then, as if the title battle didn’t need another twist, it got another one – Lewis Hamilton suffered a sudden engine failure, causing him to coast to a halt. A dejected Lewis exited his car, and at the same time, Alonso found his way past Pastor Maldonado for 2nd place.

Mark Webber then closed in on the Venezuelan, but put the Williams under too much pressure, clashing with Pastor at turn 12, spinning the Red Bull and leaving him in 7th. Vettel quickly closed in on his teammate, and a conveniently timed pit stop for Mark ensured that there was no inter-team battle.

After his stop, Webber began to battle with Felipe Massa, resulting in yet another clash at turn 16. They clashed wheels, with Webber running wide, and Massa suffering an embarrassing spin.

The majority of the frontrunners pitted around lap 30, with Button finding his way past Maldonado in the meantime. Vettel stayed out, but it became clear that his used tyres were beginning to wear. He had found his way up to 2nd, but Alonso was now reeling him in at several tenths per second.

Red Bull made the sensible call, and pitted Vettel on lap 37, with Sebastian emerging in 4th place. Within a lap, a bizarre crash caused another safety car, and a perfect opportunity for Vettel.

In the battle for 5th, Paul di Resta shoved Sergio Perez off the track, who clashed with Romain Grosjean once he rejoined the circuit. A damaged Grosjean then moved into Webber’s path, eliminating all 3 cars on the spot.

On the restart, there were no major changes of position, but the battle at the front began to intensify. Button in 3rd was under pressure from Vettel behind, while Alonso began to slowly reel in Raikkonen.

The last 10 laps were incredibly tense. With only a few laps to go, Sebastian made a brave move on Jenson to take 3rd place, and reduce the damage to his championship lead. Meanwhile, Fernando was able to close the gap to a single second on the last lap, but Kimi was able to keep it together, and took an incredible victory.

Pastor Maldonado had a quiet run to 5th, followed by Kamui Kobayashi, Felipe Massa, Bruno Senna, Paul di Resta and Daniel Ricciardo.

The gap between Vettel and Alonso is 10 points, and despite Kimi’s win, he has now been ruled out of the title bid. The F1 circus will roll up in Austin in two weeks time, where the next plot twist will take place…

Vettel thrown out of qualifying, will start from 24th after fuel infringement

In a stewards’ decision which may well prove to be the pivotal point of the 2012 season, Sebastian Vettel has been thrown to the back of the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel pulled over at the end of Q3 today, and failed to make it to parc ferme. After inspection, the stewards found that his car had only 850ml of fuel in it – less than the 1 litre required for a fuel sample.

The same breach of rule occurred to Lewis Hamilton in Spain, with the same reprocussions.

Fernando Alonso will now start from 6th position, and is in a perfect position to claw back the 13-point deficit. Tomorrow’s race has taken an extremely exciting twist…

Update: Team principal Christian Horner has stated that Vettel will start from the pit lane. This implies that Red Bull will be changing bits and pieces on Vettel’s car overnight.

Hamilton back on form, takes pole in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton has taken his first pole position in Abu Dhabi since the Singapore Grand Prix. The McLaren driver was miles ahead of anyone else, taking pole by over 0.3 seconds ahead of Mark Webber.

Sebastian Vettel was disappointed with 3rd, but Fernando Alonso was even angrier with 7th position. Here is what happened:

Q1

Pastor Maldonado was the first driver to set a 1:42, while the Lotuses could only manage 1:43s.

Fernando Alonso was out on track early, but could only pip Maldonado’s time. Jenson Button could only take 3rd place, even when most frontrunners hadn’t left the pits yet. Surprisingly, Maldonado set another good lap time, retaking the fastest time by 0.2 tenths.

Lewis Hamilton had a momumental lock-up on his first flying lap, ruining his front right tyre. Alonso retook the lead, until Lewis’ next attempt slashed the top time by 0.6 seconds.

Sebastian Vettel typically left his laps until late, but scraped the barrier on his first lap, causing a huge array of sparks to come out of his right rear tyre. His next lap left him 5th, while Mark Webber took 2nd.

Jean-Eric Vergne had a huge spin while lying 18th, which sealed his exit from Q1. Charles Pic impressed his team by splitting the Caterhams.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:44.048

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:44.956

20) Charles Pic – 1:45.089

21) Vitaly Petrov – 1:45.151

22) Timo Glock – 1:45.426

23) Pedro de la Rosa – 1:45.766

24) Narain Karthikeyan – 1:46.382

Q2

Again, Maldonado impressed right away in Q2, setting a 1:41.9 to take top spot in the early parts of Q2, until he was displaced by both Lotus drivers.

Following a dominative lap in Q1, Hamilton again went fastest in Q2. Vettel’s first lap was aborted, after he took too much kerb on the exit of a corner.

On his next lap, he took 2nd place, while teammate Webber pipped Hamilton’s time by just under a tenth of a second. However, that didn’t last long, as Lewis immediately responded with a 1:40.901.

It appeared as if Mercedes were going to have another embarassing exit from Q2, but Nico Rosberg pulled off a good lap to put himself 7th. After their impressive showing in Friday practice, Force India could only manage 11th and 13th.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Nico Hulkenberg – 1:42.019

12) Sergio Perez – 1:42.084

13) Paul di Resta – 1:42.218

14) Michael Schumacher – 1:42.289

15) Bruno Senna – 1:42.330

16) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:42.606

17) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:42.765

Q3

Kimi Raikkonen was the first out of the pits, his Lotus sparking heavily as he undertook his first lap. A 1:41.756 set the benchmark, which was quickly annihilated by Alonso, Rosberg, Hamilton, Button and Webber.

Sebastian Vettel took 2nd, but was almost half a second away from the charging Hamilton. A lock-up for Felipe Massa put him out of contention, with the second Ferrari only taking 6th place.

After good showings in Q1 and Q2, Pastor Maldonado was able to split the Red Bulls, taking 3rd position. After Mark Webber displaced the Williams and his teammate, Vettel was unable to improve, finishing in 3rd. He pulled over at the end of the session, indicating a car problem.

Fernando Alonso struggled on his final lap, and was knocked all the way down to 7th place by Button and Raikkonen.

Hamilton was left unchallenged to pole, and was absolutely ecstatic as he aborted his final lap. The championship battle has taken another twist, with both Vettel and Alonso further back than they would have wanted.

Maldonado and Alguersuari handed time penalties

Both Jaime Alguersuari and Pastor Maldonado have been given time penalties for failing to respect blue flags during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Alguersuari was handed a drive-through penalty, which was converted into a 20 second penalty after the race. Meanwhile, Maldonado was given a stop/go penalty – as he had already been given a drive-through earlier in the race for the same offence – and will be docked 30 seconds.

However, neither driver will move positions in the official classification, with Pastor and Jaime finishing 14th and 15th respectively.

Both penalties were issued for failing to allow Felipe Massa and Mark Webber through.

Points standings after Abu Dhabi GP

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 374
2 Jenson Button 255
3 Fernando Alonso 245
4 Mark Webber 233
5 Lewis Hamilton 227
6 Felipe Massa 108
7 Nico Rosberg 83
8 Michael Schumacher 76
9 Vitaly Petrov 36
10 Nick Heidfeld 34
11 Adrian Sutil 34
12 Kamui Kobayashi 28
13 Jaime Alguersuari 26
14 Paul di Resta 23
15 Sebastien Buemi 15
16 Sergio Perez 14
17 Rubens Barrichello 4
18 Bruno Senna 2
19 Pastor Maldonado 1
20 Vitantonio Liuzzi 0
21 Jerome D’Ambrosio 0
22 Heikki Kovalainen 0
23 Narain Karthikeyan 0
24

25

26

27

28

Jarno Trulli

Pedro de la Rosa

Timo Glock

Daniel Ricciardo

Karun Chandhok

0

0

0

0

0

Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 607
2 McLaren-Mercedes 482
3 Ferrari 353
4 Mercedes GP 159
5 Renault 72
6 Force India-Mercedes 57
7 Sauber-Ferrari 42
8 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 41
9 Williams-Cosworth 5
10 Lotus-Cosworth 0
11 HRT-Cosworth 0
12 Virgin-Cosworth 0


Hamilton takes commanding win in Abu Dhabi

Vettel leads at the start, but not for long...

Vettel leads at the start, but not for long...

Lewis Hamilton was back on form for the first time in months, as he drove fantastically to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel didn’t even make it around the first lap, resulting in a surprisingly exciting race on the Yas Marina track.

Fernando Alonso drove the wheels off his Ferrari to take 2nd, with Jenson Button 3rd after a relatively slow race. Here is the full report:

At the start, Vettel retained his lead at Turn 1, but for no longer. A puncture exiting the corner blew a rear tyre, reducing Sebastian to a crawl for the entire lap.

Lewis Hamilton leaped into the lead, while Fernando Alonso shoved his way into 2nd place, ahead of a struggling Jenson Button. Meanwhile, after pitting, it became clear that Vettel’s right rear suspension was ruined, and the world champion retired from the race.

The battle for the lead was between Hamilton and Alonso, as the two traded fastest laps, with Button and Webber squabbling behind. Further back, Paul di Resta and Sebastien Buemi battled for 9th place, with the double DRS resulting in constant passes and re-passes.

Kamui Kobayashi, who pitted on Lap 6, began his ascent through the field, passing both HRT cars in a single corner, as Liuzzi and Ricciardo tussled for position.

Button’s lack of pace was explained by a radio message stating that there was “still a problem” –  which became apparent as a KERS failure. Felipe Massa was the first to pit on Lap 16, taking on more soft tyres.

Hamilton and Alonso stopped a lap later, with Button not far behind in the pits. Webber pitted on Lap 18, but a slow tyre change resulted in the Red Bull dropping down the order, behind Felipe Massa. Replays showed Vitaly Petrov running wide and losing places to Adrian Sutil and Michael Schumacher.

Paul di Resta was instructed to allow Sutil past into 8th place, while Sebastien Buemi retired with an ailing car. It became clear that Di Resta was on a one-stop strategy, losing up to 3 seconds per lap on the medium tyre. He eventually pitted for the option tyre on Lap 28 – a risky call.

Pastor Maldonado was given a drive-through penalty for ignoring blue flags. Button’s lack of KERS meant he was slowly caught by Massa and Webber. Mark was the first to make a move, slicing past the Ferrari, but Felipe re-took the position at the second DRS zone.

Their battle was interrupted by Pastor Maldonado, who, after not learning anything after his first drive-through, held up both drivers as he swerved around the track.

Webber pitted for soft tyres on Lap 36, indicating he was on a three-stop strategy. Button stopped a lap later, taking on the harder compound. At the front, Alonso began chopping into Hamilton’s lead, bringing the gap down to 3.9 seconds.

Webber gets by Button while on a different strategy

Webber gets by Button while on a different strategy

Sergio Perez got past Vitaly Petrov for 10th place. Mark Webber set fastest lap after fastest lap on the option tyres. Lewis Hamilton pitted with 14 laps to go, to cover Alonso’s excellent pace.

While Fernando stayed out, Webber’s race began to slowly unravel, as he was stuck behind Jenson Button, despite two instances of DRS helping the Red Bull. Eventually Mark pushed his way past the McLaren, but as he needed to stop again, Jenson didn’t bother defending his position.

A poor pit stop for the Ferrari ruined his chances of jumping Hamilton in the stops. Rosberg and Webber in 3rd and 4th both needed to stop again, but battled it out on track regardless. Mark got past the Mercedes, but it became clear he had lost his chance of a podium finish.

Massa spins after yet another poor race

Massa spins after yet another poor race

Kamui Kobayashi eaasily passed teammate Sergio Perez for 10th place with 8 laps to go. Felipe Massa spun at Turn 1, ensuring that Webber would remain ahead of the Ferrari after his final stop.

Daniel Ricciardo became the final retirement of the day, pulling off the track with 3 laps to go. As expected, Webber pitted on the final lap, dropping him to 4th place.

Lewis Hamilton crossed the line to take his first win since the Nurburgring, ensuring a return to form at the end of the 2011 season. Alonso pushed as hard as he could, but a win was too much to ask for. Button took a steady 3rd after his KERS issues.

After a troubled year, Hamilton is back on top

After a troubled year, Hamilton is back on top

Webber led Massa home, while Nico Rosberg beat teammate Michael Schumacher, who pulled over on the cool-down lap to conserve a fuel sample.

The Force Indias performed well, with Sutil and Di Resta 8th and 9th after utilising different strategies. Kobayashi grabbed the final point after a difficult string of races for the Japanese driver.

Vettel pips McLarens to Abu Dhabi pole

Sebastian Vettel pulled out another last-gasp lap to steal pole position off Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Jenson Button was 3rd, just 0.009 seconds off his teammate. Mark Webber was 4th, with the Ferraris 5th and 6th. Here is what happened:

Q1

Both Williams cars will start on the back row

Both Williams cars will start on the back row

Rubens Barrichello failed to set a lap time in his Williams, after suffering an oil leak earlier on that day. He will start in 24th place alongside his teammate, who took a 10-place penalty for an engine change.

With this, there was no shootout to see what midfield car would be knocked out. Both Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher went out on soft tyres late on in Q1, but abandoned their laps when it became clear Rubens wasn’t taking part.

Heikki Kovalainen out-qualified Jarno Trulli for the 15th time this year, while Daniel Ricciardo did well to out-perform both his teammate and Jerome D’Ambrosio.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:42.979

19) Jarno Trulli – 1:43.884

20) Timo Glock – 1:44.515

21) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:44.641

22) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:44.699

23) Vitantonio Liuzzi – 1:45.159

24) Rubens Barrichello – No time set

Q2

Schumacher passes a stray bollard

Schumacher passes a stray bollard

The Red Bulls and McLarens battled it out at the top of the timesheets for a while, before the red flags came out.

Felipe Massa, and then Jenson Button, had dislodged a bollard at Turn 8, and it landed on the racing line. When racing resumed, Hamilton remained ahead of Sebastian Vettel at the top.

Pastor Maldonado was 17th, and with his grid penalty, will start on the back row alongside his fellow Williams driver.

Both Force Indias made it through to Q3, while a mistake by Sebastien Buemi ensured he only qualified 13th.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Sergio Perez – 1:40.874

12) Vitaly Petrov – 1:40.919

13) Sebastien Buemi – 1:41.009

14) Bruno Senna – 1:41.079

15) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:41.162

16) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:41.240

17) Pastor Maldonado – 1:41.760

Q3

Vettel heads both McLarens for tomorrow's race

Vettel heads both McLarens for tomorrow's race

Q3 saw a fantastic shoot-out between the McLarens and Vettel, each driver just pipping the other after every lap.

A cooling track resulted in times being slower than in Q2. Lewis initially led Sebastian going into the final run, but Jenson Button threw himself into the mix by taking top spot on his final lap.

Hamilton then snatched the lead back, but only just – a gap of 0.009 seconds separated the McLarens. However, just when it looked as if it could be a McLaren front row lockout, Vettel smashed his Red Bull into pole position by 0.141 seconds.

It was his 14th pole position this year, equalling Nigel Mansell’s record from the 1992 season. However, it must be considered that there were only 16 races that year.

Interestingly, while Vettel and Button managed to go faster in Q3 despite the dropping temperatures, Lewis Hamilton felt that his Q2 lap was much better.

Mark Webber and the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa never challenged for pole, each finishing 4th, 5th and 6th. Nico Rosberg was 7th, with Michael Schumacher and Adrian Sutil considerably further back. Paul di Resta was the only driver not to set a time.

Hamilton fastest in Abu Dhabi second practice

Hamilton kept McLaren on top

Hamilton kept McLaren on top

McLaren once again dominated practice in Abu Dhabi, but this time it was Lewis Hamilton on top of the timesheets.

Hamilton led teammate Button by nearly two tenths of a second, with the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa behind. Mark Webber was 5th, with Sebastian Vettel 6th.

Both Vettel and Alonso crashed at the same spot in second practice. At the entry to Turn 1, both cars hit the barriers, with Vettel rejoining the session later, and Alonso suffering damage to the back of the car.

Mark Webber also spun out, at Turn 18, but managed to rejoin the track.

Michael Schumacher was 7th, ahead of the two Force India and two Sauber drivers. Nico Rosberg was 20th and 4.5 seconds off the pace, despite setting over 40 laps.

Times from FP2:

 1.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1:39.586          31
 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:39.785   0.199  30
 3.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1:39.971   0.385  20
 4.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1:39.980   0.394  34
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1:40.104   0.518  35
 6.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1:40.132   0.546  26
 7.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1:40.553   0.967  34
 8.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:40.951   1.365  34
 9.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1:41.021   1.435  37
10.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1:41.490   1.904  34
11.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1:41.565   1.979  34
12.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:41.680   2.094  33
13.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                1:41.947   2.361  31
14.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:41.983   2.397  34
15.  Bruno Senna           Renault                1:42.369   2.783  36
16.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:42.798   3.212  35
17.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1:42.910   3.324  34
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault          1:43.562   3.976  36
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault          1:44.050   4.464  38
20.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1:44.265   4.679  41
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth        1:45.486   5.900  34
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1:46.142   6.556  32
23.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth           1:46.249   6.663  21
24.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth           1:46.328   6.742  34

Button heads Abu Dhabi first practice

Button was fastest in a McLaren-dominated session

Button was fastest in a McLaren-dominated session

Jenson Button was fastest in first practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The McLarens dominated the session, before Mark Webber went 2nd near the end. This session also saw the introduction of Pirelli’s new experimental soft tyre.

World champion Sebastian Vettel was 4th, ahead of the Ferrari drivers who had a difficult session. Both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa spun off the track within several minutes of each other. Alonso in particular seemed to struggle with the handling of his car.

Jean-Eric Vergne tested for Toro Rosso, finishing 11th and only 0.2 seconds behind Jaime Alguersuari. Romain Grosjean drove for Renault in place of Bruno Senna, taking 12th.

Robert Wickens also drove in his first ever Formula 1 session, and was slowest of all the drivers. Rubens Barrichello was last, after retiring with engine problems after 3 laps.

Times from FP1:

 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1:40.263          21
 2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        1:40.389   0.126  26
 3.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes        1:40.403   0.140  27
 4.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        1:40.755   0.492  27
 5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 1:40.801   0.538  25
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 1:41.260   0.997  17
 7.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    1:41.340   1.077  23
 8.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                1:42.130   1.867  26
 9.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    1:42.151   1.888  28
10.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:42.377   2.114  26
11.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:42.633   2.370  26
12.  Romain Grosjean       Renault                 1:42.685   2.422  29
13.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                 1:43.118   2.855  13
14.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth       1:43.255   2.992  29
15.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes                1:43.389   3.126  24
16.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari          1:44.412   4.149  28
17.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari          1:44.484   4.221  18
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault           1:44.565   4.302  27
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault           1:44.898   4.635  25
20.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth            1:46.385   6.122  28
21.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth            1:46.532   6.269  27
22.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth         1:48.024   7.761  20
23.  Robert Wickens        Virgin-Cosworth         1:48.551   8.288  23
24.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth                          3

Abu Dhabi to feature double DRS

Abu Dhabi DRS zones

Abu Dhabi DRS zones

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will feature two instances of the Drag Reduction System per lap.

The activation zones will be placed on the two longest straights on the track, each activated about a third of the way through each of the straights.

Unusually, the second DRS zone, occuring after Turn 9, will have the detection zone after the previous corner.

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