Vettel takes pole while Webber struggles in Abu Dhabi

Sebastian Vettel took pole position ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He was ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Mark Webber was 5th, and has a huge task for the race tomorrow. Here is what happened:


The Toro Rossos got the ball rolling, setting 1.43’s. A 1.41.2 from Lewis Hamilton put him on top, while Sebastian Vettel was up to 8 tenths off his pace. Fernando Alonso went fastest, but 10 seconds later Lewis took the position back.

Vettel was held up slightly by Christian Klien, but still improved to 1st place, before Hamilton once again went back on top. Vettel went even faster, while Mark Webber didn’t trouble the top 2.

Kamui Kobayashi, the last driver to set his first time, initially only went 17th, before going 12th. In the dropout zone, Jaime Alguersuari was 18th, just behind his team-mate. However, Jaime improved on his time, leaving Buemi knocked out of Q1.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Sebastien Buemi

19) Jarno Trulli

20) Heikki Kovalainen

21) Timo Glock

22) Lucas di Grassi

23) Bruno Senna

24) Christian Klien


The Ferraris went out first, with Fernando Alonso beating Felipe Massa by half a second. Jenson Button then topped that time by 2 extra tenths. His team-mate Hamilton had problems with his first two laps, running wide and out-braking himself, while Button improved by another tenth.

Halfway through the sesssion, the Red Bulls finally came out on the super-soft tyres. Mark Webber locked a brake, so he went 3rd before Vettel went fastest of them all.

Hamilton stayed in the pits after his problem, and still hadn’t set a time to get him into Q3. He went out on the soft tyres with 3 minutes to go, but was held up by traffic. Worse still, replays showed, while Hamilton was on an out-lap, he turned right into Felipe Massa at Turn 4, knocking over a camera bollard after realising the Ferrari was there. A stewards’ investigation may occur later.

Despite this though, he went 2nd, and Massa’s next lap got him 6th. Robert Kubica was in 11th with 30 seconds to go, and was 8 tenths faster than 10th placed driver in the middle sector, but made a mistake in the last sector, and stayed 11th. In fact, it is the first time this year that the Renault driver failed to make it to Q3.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Robert Kubica

12) Kamui Kobayashi

13) Adrian Sutil

14) Nick Heidfeld

15) Nico Hulkenberg

16) Vitantonio Liuzzi

17) Jaime Alguersuari


Jenson Button, Massa and Alonso all exited the pits first, all on the super-soft tyres. Webber and the rest soon left the garage, while Sebastian Vettel stayed in the garage.

Lewis Hamilton was the first to give it a try, blitzing all 3 sectors and setting a 1.39.5. Alonso was half a second slower, and Webber made a mistake in the first sector. Both Red Bulls were 1 tenth down in sector 2, Webber went 3rd, while Vettel got an extra tenth to go fastest.

Alonso fired up for another lap with 2 minutes to go, while the Red Bulls went out again. This time, Webber was again slower, while Vettel took another tenth off the fastest lap.

However, with a minute to go, amazingly, Sebastian went even quicker than his last 2 laps in the first sector. Meanwhile, a huge queue of cars, involving Hamilton and the Ferraris meant they started their laps slightly slow.

Neither of the Red Bulls managed to improve, so the focus was on Hamilton and Alonso. Lewis was a few thousands of a second faster in sector 2, but fell to 2nd, while Alonso’s final lap got him 3rd, ahead of Mark Webber in 5th.

While Webber struggled badly and paid the price, Alonso’s final lap could prove to be completely decisive in the championship battle tomorrow.

Jenson Button was 4th, Felipe Massa 6th, Rubens Barrichello 7th, Michael Schumacher 8th, Nico Rosberg 9th, and Vitaly Petrov 10th.

So, going into tomorrow, Fernando Alonso still has the advantage, Sebastian Vettel should be on course to take the race win, but Mark Webber has it all to do.


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