Daily Archives: November 3, 2012

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.

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