Abu Dhabi GP - Saturday - Qualifying Session Report
The Red Bull drivers qualified first and second for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But in a switch from the previous practice sessions were Sebastian Vettel has been quickest, it was Mark Webber who won the pole while Vettel qualified second.
The ambient air temperature at the start of the 60-minute session was 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was also 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius).
Everybody except Red Bull's Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel along with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso took to the track as the 20 minute Q1 began. Jean-Eric Vergne laid down a maker with a time of 1:43.442 in his Toro Rosso, but the times came down quickly with Nico Rosberg topping them after setting a 1:42.567 in his Mercedes.
Most of the drivers were doing long lap runs on Pirelli's medium compound tires.
9 minutes into the session, Rosberg improved to a 1:42.279. His teammate Lewis Hamilton was second with a 1:42.573. The Red Bulls still had not been out. With 7 minutes remaining in the session the Red Bull drivers headed out on the soft compound tires.
With 6 minutes remaining in the session Hamilton took the lead with a time of 1:42.231.
With 4 minutes remaining in the session Vettel's first lap clocked in at 1:41.683 and Webber did a 1:41.568. Other drivers were now also lapping on the softs.
With 3 minutes remaining in the session Kimi Raikkonen topped the times with a 1:41.276 and his Lotus teammate slotted into second with a 1:41.447.
In the final moments of the session Felipe Massa went quickest with a time of 1:41.254 in his Ferrari. But Hamilton beat that with a 1:40.693. Raikkonen was third as Pastor Maldonado jumped to fourth in his Williams ahead of Alonso.
Rosberg, Romain Grosjean (Lotus), Webber, Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) and Paul di Resta (Force India) rounded out the top 10.
The six drivers eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber), Adrian Sutil (Force India), Guido van der Garde (Caterham), Jules Bianchi (Marussia), Charles Pic (Caterham) and Max Chilton (Marussia.)
Paul di Resta was the first out in the 15 minute session. He also set the first time: a 1:41.477. He and the rest of the drivers were on the soft tires. Hulkenberg beat that with 1:41.147.
With 10 minutes remaining in the session, Raikkonen topped the times with a lap of 1:40.971.
With 9 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg sliced in a 1:40.473. Hamilton moved into second and Vettel third.
With 6 minutes remaining in the session, most drivers were back in the pits preparing for their final runs. Alonso and Jenson Button (McLaren) were outside the top 10 at the time.
With 3 minutes remaining in the session, all the drivers were back out there except for Rosberg and Vettel.
With 1 minute remaining in the session, Alonso and Button were still missing from the top 10. And they stayed out.
The six drivers eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Alonso, di Resta, Button, who said the car was so off the pace that it was unreal, Vergne, Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas (Williams.)
The top 10 drivers at the end of Q2 were: Rosberg, Hamilton, Webber, Vettel, Sergio Perez (McLaren), Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso), Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Raikkonen and Massa.
Everybody except Massa took to the track as the 10-minute session began. All were on the soft compound Pirellis.
Hulkenberg clocked the first time: 1:41.379, but quickly fell back as a number of drivers went quicker with Vettel's 1:40.091 being the best ahead of Rosberg (1:40.419) and Hamilton (1:40.501.)
Ricciardo, Massa and Perez did not go out on the first run.
With 4 minutes remaining in the session, the first runs were over and it was back to the pits.
With 2 minutes remaining in the session, everybody was on track.
Webber came across the finish line first, and was now in first with a 1:39.957. Vettel wound up second with a 1:40.075. Rosberg took third with a 1:40.473.
Hamilton had a spin but still ended up fourth with his previous time.
Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Massa, Perez and Ricciardo rounded out the top 10 qualifiers.