Hamilton on Pole in the floodlights of Abu Dhabi
Lewis Hamilton claimed Pole Position for tomorrow’s inaugural Abu Dhabi GP ahead of the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. 2009 World Champion Jenson Button could only manage 5th. This is the first qualifying session in F1 to take place at the Yas Marina Circuit (which I have to say looks stunning!) and it will be the first F1 race to start during the day, but finish in the dark of night.
Q1 claimed the scalps of double World Champion Fernando Alonso in his final drive for Renault and his team mate Grosjean. Also out went both Force India’s and Fisichella for Ferrari.
Q2 saw a transmission problem for Heikki Kovalainen who stopped out on track. At the front both Red Bulls, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton all looked fast. Birthday boy Sebastian Buemi secured himself a top 10 grid position, unlike his team mate Alguersuari who was eliminated along with Kimi Raikkonen, Kazuki Nakajima, Kamui Kobayashi and of course Kovalainen.
Q3 saw a lot of mistakes from a lot of dr ivers, running wide and having to abort their laps, leaving it pretty late to set competitive times. But yet again Hamilton looked to have the strongest package. Early on Kubica, Trulli and even Buemi all set fastest times. The Brawns looked strong but fell away in the later stages. The Red Bulls sprang from nowhere to take a double front row start, Vettel ahead of Webber. But in the dying seconds Lewis Hamilton stole pole with a incredible lap that that was 0.6 secs faster than second place man Vettel.
In the end although it was a great lap, I think it was still a comfortable pole position for Hamilton, the 17th of his career. We will have to wait for the fuel weights to be known (I will add them here later), but I suspect he will be lighter than the pursuing pack. However the scene is nicely set for the battle for runner-up in the Championship, with Vettel 2nd and Barrichello 4th - that will be a good fight tomorrow. Mark Webber may even be acting as a bit of a rear gunner for Vettel.
Ferrari look dead and buried for claiming 3rd in the constructors unless something horrific happens to McLaren tomorrow, the ‘prancing horse’ has look pretty awful all weekend. My money is on Hamilton for the win, I think that McLaren is just in a different league to everyone else. But behind him it should be a good fight between Red Bull and Brawn, particularly Vettel and Barrichello.
01 Hamilton - McLaren - 658.5
02 Vettel - Red Bull - 663.0
03 Webber - Red Bull - 660.0
04 Barrichello - Brawn - 655.0
05 Button - Brawn - 657.0
06 Trulli - Toyota - 661.0
07 Kubica - BMW-Sauber - 654.5
08 Heidfeld - BMW-Sauber - 664.0
09 Rosberg - Williams - 665.0
10 Buemi - Toro Rosso - 661.5
11 Raikkonen - Ferrari - 692.0
12 Kobayashi - Toyota - 694.3
13 Kovalainen - McLaren - 697.0
14 Nakajima - Williams - 704.0
15 Alguersuari - Toro Rosso - 696.5
16 Alonso - Renault - 708.3
17 Liuzzi - Force India - 695.0
18 Sutil - Force India - 696.0
19 Grosjean - Renault - 710.8
20 Fisichella - Ferrari - 692.5
Fuel weights show that as expect Lewis Hamilton is lighter on fuel than the perusing Red Bull, but not by much. Hamilton's wish that the team had fuel him more heavily might come back to kick them in the race. Both Red Bull are heavier than the Brawns showing they have good pace and that Vettel did a better job than Webber. Lightest man in the top 10 is Kubica whereas the Renault's look to being going long, hoping to climb up the order. Should be interesting tomorrow.
|2||S Vettel||Red Bull||1:41.615|
|3||M Webber||Red Bull||1:41.726|
|7||R Kubica||BMW Sauber||1:41.992|
|8||N Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||1:42.343|
|10||S Buemi||Toro Rosso||1:42.713|
|15||J Alguersuari||Toro Rosso||1:41.689|
|17||V Liuzzi||Force India||1:41.701|
|18||A Sutil||Force India||1:41.863|