Home » Abu Dhabi GP, Headline, Qualifying

Vettel Edges Abu Dhabi Pole

By Mav | 12 Nov 2011 | 9 Comments | 1,276 views

That man Sebastian Vettel clinched pole yet again, his fourteenth of the season – equalling Nigel Mansell’s 1992 record in the process (all be it over a longer season.) His late run of 1 minute 38.481s pushed the McLaren duo of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button back into second and third respectively by just over a tenth of a second. Questions remain, however, about the circuits ability to allow overtaking.

On Pole

Hamilton was quickest in Q1 and Q2 and led the final shootout after the first runs. He further improved his time on his final run but the Red Bull of Vettel was still out on track and the German produced the perfect lap just when he needed it, edging out the McLaren driver by just 0.141 seconds.
 
Red Bull Racing/Mark Thompson/Getty Images
   
Delight
With both cars through to the final shoot-out, even if Paul di Resta never bothered contesting it, Force India set out from a strong position tomorrow in which to score points and open up the gap between them and the resurgent Toro Rosso.

Disappointment
The drivers shouldn’t have too much to be disappointed by although Tonio Liuzzi will be frustrated to come back from his break and qualify behind his team mate, Daniel Ricciardo. Kamui Kobayashi also finds himself five places behind his team mate although he shouldn’t beat himself up too much after a very closely thought midfield battle separated by less than four tenths of a second.

Disaster
Some said Kimi Raikkonen would be announced as a Williams driver this weekend. Instead the bad news for Rubens Barrichello came in the form of an engine problem which prevented him from even starting qualifying. With team mate Pastor Maldonado taking a 10-place grid penalty for exceeding his engine quota for the season, it sees the once mighty team hit an all time low as they line up on the last row of the grid – an event that was given added poignancy by Vettel equaling Mansell’s achievements with the outfit.

VGrid_AbuDhabi_2011

Predictions
For the third year in a row, Vettel and Hamilton line-up on the front row at the Yas Marina and the dirty side of the grid has yet to hamper either. Vettel holds the ace but McLaren’s race pace should give them a chance – if they can get past.

Talking Point
Organisers were so confident that 2011’s changes would solve Abu Dhabi’s failings that they decided to delay any changes to the track. Now the FIA have decided to extend the DRS zone on the long back straight by 75 m after skepticism over its effectiveness. However, based on his experiments in free practice, Jenson Button remains unconvinced: “I was trying DRS from the exit of Turn 7 all the way down to Turn 8, and I was struggling to overtake cars. So lengthening it by 75 metres or whatever is not going to make a big difference because it is only half the straight we will be using.”

1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:38.481
2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.622
3. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:38.631
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:38.858
5. Alonso Ferrari 1:39.058
6. Massa Ferrari 1:39.695
7. Rosberg Mercedes 1:39.773
8. Schumacher     Mercedes 1:40.662
9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes     1:40.768
10. di Resta Force India-Mercedes No time set
           
Q2 cut-off time: 1:40.554    
11. Perez Sauber-Ferrari     1:40.874
12. Petrov Renault 1:40.919
13. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:41.009
14. Senna Renault     1:41.079
15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:41.162
16. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari     1:41.240
17. Maldonado* Williams-Cosworth       1:41.760
           
Q1 cut-off time: 1:42.605
   
18. Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault 1:42.979
19. Trulli Lotus-Renault 1:43.884
20. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:44.515
21. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth     1:44.641
22. d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1:44.699
23. Liuzzi     HRT-Cosworth 1:45.159
24. Barrichello* Williams-Cosworth No time set

107% time: 1:46.766

Notes:
Maldonado qualified 17th but starts 24th after taking a 10 place grid drop.
Barrichello did not take part in qualifying, he starts 23rd.

Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3 Speed Trap
Vettel    17.408 s    Vettel 41.857 s Hamilton    38.886 s Perez 323.4 km/h
Button    17.429 s Button 41.905 s Vettel 38.933 s Kobayashi 322.8 km/h
Alonso    17.440 s    Hamilton    41.908 s    Webber    39.235 s    Alguersuari    320.2 km/h

 
What are your predictions for the race? Who will win? Who should have done better?

Photo: Red Bull Racing/Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Tagged: , , , ,
Bookmark and Share

9 Comments »

  • saltire

    I have a sneaky feeling that this is the race that Vettel won’t finish, don’t ask me why, he’s had bullet proof reliability but I just have this feeling.

    I also think that he must really sandbag during the FP sessions, he’s certainly not topped all the time sheets of late yet still manages to do the business on the day.

    Question for people: Does Webber have access to the same equipment?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • Kimster

    Yes, Webber does.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • saltire

    Yes, Webber does.

    There were a few comments yesterday evening over on spc that suggested he doesn’t. My opinion is that if he doesn’t he would say so. It’s back to the old argument of would you sign if you as an experienced driver knew you would be number 2?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • Mav (author)

    Yes, Webber does.

    I agree but I wonder about the level of support. I believe this year’s car or regulations are not to his liking, be it the way the car handles, the tyre behaviour, off-throttle diffuser, whatever. They have failed to get on top of the reason and make adjustments, either to the car or his driving style. If the title battle had been tight, I could understand focusing on Vettel but it seems they could give a bit more time to Webber to have sorted out what the issue is. Afterall, Webber struggling is not a lot of help to them next year if the problem continues.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • Mav (author)

    I have a sneaky feeling that this is the race that Vettel won’t finish

    Ooooh! Mystic Meg is in town!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • saltire

    Ooooh! Mystic Meg is in town!

    Ha! I’m still no good at predicting for the prediction game though

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • Kimster

    Mav,

    Webber’s touch isn’t as fine as Vettel’s. So he struggles with durability with the Pirelli’s. He is therefore either going too quick, or too slow. That is his race problem.

    Then he just isn’t as quick on a single lap too.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • Mav (author)

    Then he just isn’t as quick on a single lap too.

    That suggests it isn’t just the tyres. Webber was much closer to Vettel in qualifying last year

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • Kimster

    Vettel didn’t like the EBD as much last season either. Once he got a hold of it he started to eek out a bit more every race. It’s been a more consistent thrashing this year.

    You have to remember that Vettel is still improving.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.