Formula One Second Half Review pt. 6 – Abu Dhabi

Formula One Second Half Review pt. 6 – Abu Dhabi

In qualifying, Mark Webber entered the record books by equalling fellow Australian Jack Braham’s thirteen pole positions with a blinding 1.39.57. However the pole sitter has never won here in Abu Dhabi in its four years of holding the event, with twice the leader retiring. Vettel claimed a mistake prevented him from gaining pole but the true mistake appeared at Ferrari where Fernando Alonso could not make it through to the final section of qualifying after abandoning his first flying lap and losing out of grip on his soft tyres. Alonso started eleventh but was promoted to tenth due to Kimi Raikkonen, who had gained fifth, being excluded due to failing the front floor deflection test. This problem simply compounded Kimi’s bad weekend after problems with the team not paying him and not turning up till late on Friday morning, stating he considered not even driving this weekend and only agreed due to an agreement with Lotus on his payment for the season. Lewis Hamilton, the Abu Dhabi master gaining pole here twice, had issue on his final flying lap and started fourth behind his teammate Nico Roseberg. Hulkenberg gained a fantastic fifth for Sauber, Grosjean sixth and Massa seventh.

On the race start the curse of the Abu Dhabi pole sitter took effect with Mark Webber moved down to third as his teammate Vettel and Nico Rosberg moved past him. Further back Hamilton also had a bad start to be passed by the Lotus of Romain Grosjean. At the back of the field Kimi Raikkonen suffered his first first-lap retirement since 2006 after colliding with Charles Pic. Further contact inflicted Jenson Button, causing an emergency pit stop that placed the McLaren driver at the back of the grid.

The theme of this season tyre degradation made an appearance early with pit stops coming as early as lap eight with Lewis Hamilton, Webber and Grosjean all disposing of their soft tyres as soon as possible. Hamilton was unable to jump Webber in the pits, and Webber’s quick pass of Gutierrez’s Sauber as he exited the pits allowed him some breathing space to Grosjean behind.

Slower cars became the issue of the day with Gutierrez holding up Hamilton stuck behind, and Sutil holding Webber behind for three laps allowing Sebastian Vettel to extend his incredible lead. By lap fifteen Webber managed to pass, but Vettel had already pitted and regained the lead.

By lap sixteen a train had formed behind Gutierrez with Hamilton and Hulkenberg tucked up closely behind, with Massa joining the fight after Hulkenberg pits.

Behind the rarely seen race leader some true battles were emerging throughout the field, Webber on lap twenty passed Roseberg for second place, three laps later Fernando Alonso had fought his way up to ninth and a rare occurrence of team orders in the backmarker team Caterham emerged with Pic being asked to move over for his teammate Van de Gierdo. The team orders were ignored but Van de Gierdo made his way through two laps later.

Another train of cars emerged on lap twenty five with Hamilton, Hulkenberg and Alonso all stuck behind the slower Force India of Adrian Sutil driving fantastically on a different strategy. Hamilton makes his way past but Sutil passed back straight away with Massa seizing the opportunity and passing as well. A lap later Alonso moved up on Hulkenberg but due to the two DRS zones at the Abu Dhabi circuit Hulkenberg managed to move straight back past as well. Ahead Massa passed Sutil and Alonso managed to make the move stick on Hulkenberg down into turn seven. A lap later both Hamilton and Alonso past Sutil Alonso now seventh and Hamilton gained sixth.

The fantastic job Hulkenberg was doing was drawn to a close on lap twenty seven when he was found guilty of an unsafe release into the path of Perez in the pits and gained a drive through penalty. Meanwhile Sutil took to the escape road to pass Perez and Maldonado and escaped penalisation by the stewards, a controversial decision.

Another controversial move came after the second round of pit stops with Fernando Alonso running side by side with Jean Eric Vergne’s Torro Rosso as he exited the pit lane, Alonso went off the road to stay ahead but the stewards deemed this acceptable due to the fact Alonso had fresher tyres and would have inevitably made the move on Vergne so therefore Vergne did not technically lose a place. During eh move Alonso hit a bump and suffered an impact of 28G causing injuring to his back, the injury has delayed his preparations for the USA grand prix as he required treatment.

The injury did not stop him from charging on however and by lap fifty-one he had past both Hamilton and Di Resta for fifth place.

The race was another astonishingly dominant display from Sebastian Vettel and he celebrated yet again in style with some donuts on the escape road (despite his fine in India). Webber brought the car home for a Red Bull one two finish with Roseberg securing a valuable podium finish for Mercedes to extend second in the constructors above Ferrari by twenty points. Grosjean took fourth with Alonso fifth ahead of Paul di Resta. The next race is in the United States and is the penultimate race of the season.



  1. Formula One Second Half Review pt. 5 – India | InQuire Live
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