Abu Dhabi: Free Practice 3 & Qualifying

Free Practice 3:

  • Ferrari: Massa gets a fast lap in quickly but it isn’t long before he has to relinquish it to a McLaren. Alonso’s car is being worked on, and Massa was out early for set up work. On the front wings, Alonso keeps his but Massa has given up on it, and has reverted back to anon-flexible version.
  • Force India: Sutil puts in some hard work and with 12 minutes left he puts himself in third between Massa and Hamilton.
  • Hispania: Quiet session for the pair with Liuzzi coming out on top.
  • Lotus: Trulli has an early gearbox problem that ends his session early without setting a time.
  • McLaren: Continuing their dominant form the duo stride out into the front, and are consistant in their presence despite others staying close. Hamilton does something very special on the harder compound (10 minutes) and puts himself in fourth where all around him are on the options. Hamilton’s final lap is faster (thanks in part to DRS and KERS) than anything set in 2010.
  • Mercedes: Rosberg is in the mix, the top five towards the end of the session but surprises them all when he goes fastest with 12 minutes to go, although he can’t hold on to the top spot.
  • Red Bull: As others hasten to join the grid, the team are waiting for the track to cool down to give a more representative reflection of what they can expect during the race. Vettels sets some good laps but doesn’t feel comfortable in the car, and Webber’s car is in pieces being worked on. Webbers gets back and in the last 5 minutes his goes from first with the first sub 1:40 time to fifth, Vettel nabs second.
  • Renault: Boullier used one of the teams joker cards when he broke curfew (by15 minutes) to attend a meeting.
  • Sauber: Kobayashi and Perez end the session evenly matched.
  • Toro-Rosso: The speed the team found at the last race weekend has been hard to find.
  • Williams: The team are out to improve balance issues.
  • Virgin: Kept themselves off the bottom of the pile with a little help from a non-running Trulli.

Top FP3 times:

Position Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:38.976
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:39.403
3 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:39.427

Read: Full FP3 Results

Qualifying:

Q1

Lots of cars from the midfield and below are out early to get a lap in, and Senna is the first to get out on the track this afternoon. Barrichello’s car is still in parts after the oil leak, but Williams has a view to get him out before Q1 finishes. Webber is first from the top teams to set a front running time before the rest join him. Alonso and Schumacher have a few scrappy moments over the kerbs, the former getting on 3 wheels the latter fighting to keep it pointing in the right direction. What is sure from this session is that the medium tyre is taking some warming up before the times come good. With 9 minutes left the McLarens are continuing with their form from practice, Webber being the first of the top goes P1 to beaten by the McLarens. Ricciardo is making the best of his Abu Dhabi experience from last year to set a great time for the Hispania team. Renault, Williams, Schumacher and Massa among others put the options on. Kovalainen puts in another great performance for Team Lotus, and Barrichello did not make it out of the pits to set a time.

Drop zone: KOV, TRU, GLO, RIC, DAM, LIU, BAR

Q2

The Toro Rosso pair are first out as the track as the temperature drops by two degrees. Schumacher is given the hurry up as the Red Bulls swap fastest sector times, before McLaren join in. Hamilton is ‘on the bubble’ as he smashes the top time set by Vettel. The session is red flagged for debris at turns 8/9, Massa is seen kicking up a bollard base into the track following a car that hit the bollard initially. This causes problems for Renault and Force India who used an extra set of options. Some replys of Vettel’s front wing some typical flexibility, but not on the scale of Massa’s. Rosberg and Massa are first to tacke to the track after the red flag. Schumacher is out on a new set of optiond and Webber uses anused set to take to grid despite being safe for Q3. Both Force Indias are on it as they look to head into Q3 with the 1:40.5 considered the delta, cut off point. Maldonado has a 10 grid place drop for using his nineth engine and so doesn’t push it 100% ahead of his sole timed lap. No surprises in the drop out zone.

Drop zone: PER, PET, BUE, SEN, ALG, KOB, MAL

Q3

McLaren is the firs team out with Button just ahead, Red Bull hang back and Rosberg goes out on the prime tyre. The floodlights are on now as the sun has set. The McLarens fly cross the line, Alonso can’t quite manage to beat them but Webber splits Hamilton and Button before Vettel just nips ahead of his team mate. Force India and Mercedes are slow to leave the pits and look unlikely to really go for it in the pole position shoot out. Button is the first out in the second run with Alonso, Hamilton, Massa, Webber next and Vettel places himself last. As the front runners go out Force India and Mercedes slot themselves inbetween. Button is fastest through the first and second sector as the other follow, Webber finds traffic in the form of Sutil and as the time runs out Button sits in pole position, before Hamilton gets ahead. Webber can only get fourth, Alonso fifth and Vettel is the last out on track. 14th pole position of the year for Vettel, equally Mansells record. “Good evening Mr Mansell’ says his race engineer. Di Resta did not set a time and so was beaten by his teammate. Rosberg sits in his oft seen 7th with Schumacher behind, Massa finds P6 again.

Top Qualifying times:

Position Driver Team Time
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:38.481
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:38.622
3 Jenson Button McLaren 1:38.631

Read: Full Qualifying Results

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