Abu Dhabi GP - Saturday - Qualifying Session Report

The Opening Advantage

Nico Rosberg, Abu Dhabi GP 2014

Nico Rosberg, Abu Dhabi GP 2014 

 © The Cahier Archive


Nico Rosberg has the opening advantage in his championship battle with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton after winning the pole which will give him a head start in the race. Hamilton qualified second.

The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Centigrade.) The humidity was 65 percent.

The 20 driver line-up was as follows: Red Bull Renault– Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo; Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg; Ferrari – Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen; Lotus Renault – Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado; McLaren Mercedes– Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen; Force India Mercedes – Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez; Sauber Ferrari – Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez; Toro Rosso Renault – Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat; Williams Mercedes – Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas; Caterham – Kamui Kobayashi and Will Stevens.

Qualifying 1

Five drivers would be eliminated at the end of Q1.

Perez and Stevens were the first out on track as the final qualifying session of the year got underway. Q1 began at 5 p.m. local time, the same time the race will start on Sunday.

Magnussen set the bar with a time of 1:43.171. Bottas beat that with a 1:42.436.

5 minutes into the session, Rosberg clocked a 1:41.308. Hamilton topped that with a 1:41.207 using the super soft tires.

8 minutes into the session, Perez was in 15th place and on the bubble with Raikkonen in 16th place. The Red Bull drivers had yet to set a time.

10 minutes into the session, Vettel and Ricciardo headed out.

11 minutes into the session, Bottas, Kvyat and Massa were third, fourth and fifth.

With 4 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel jumped up to fourth and Ricciardo to third.

With 3 minutes remaining in the session, Button was 15th and Alonso 16th and Raikkonen 18th.

Then Alonso grabbed 11th and Raikkonen 5th. Button went up to 3rd.

Grosjean was now on the bubble ahead of Grosjean.

The top 10 at the end of Q1 were: Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, Magnussen, Button, Ricciardo, Kvyat, Bottas, Vergne and Raikkonen.

The five drivers eliminated at the end of Q1 were: Grosjean, Gutierrez, Maldonado, Kobayashi and Stevens.

Qualifying 2

Perez was the first out for the 15-minute Q2. Hulkenberg and Raikkonen followed him out through the tunnel. Within a couple of minutes all 15 drivers were on the track.

Perez got things rolling with a time of 1:42.467. But Massa then set the bar at 1:41.575.

With 8 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton went to the top with a 1:40.920 while Rosberg had a wild slide and was only 12th quickest. But Rosberg made amends and moved to second with a time of 1:41.459.

With 6 minutes remaining in the session, Vergne was 10th and on the bubble ahead of Raikkonen and Hulkenberg. Button and Magnussen had yet to set times. Button had been called back into the pits because his car needed fuel.

With 2 minutes remaining in the session, Button, Sutil, Magnussen and most of the rest were on track. Magnussen got up to ninth and Button to sixth. Raikkonen continued to struggle, but he bumped Magnussen down to 11th by claiming 10th.

The top 10 at the end of Q2 were: Hamilton, Massa, Bottas, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Button, Alonso, Kvyat, Vettel and Raikkonen.

The 5 drivers eliminated at the end of Q2 were: Magnussen, Vergne, Perez, Hulkenberg and Sutil.

Qualifying 3

This was it. Hamilton and Rosberg going for the pole position that would give them the opening advantage for the race in the 12-minute Q3.

Bottas and Vettel were out first.

Everybody, of course, was on the super soft tires.

Vettel clocked a 1:42.164, and Bottas beat that with a 1:41.321, and Rosberg beat that with a 1:40.697. Hamilton slid off and ended up second with a 1:41.021.

So after the first runs the order was Rosberg, Hamilton, Massa, Bottas, Ricciardo, Vettel, Button, Alonso Kvyat and Raikkonen.

With 5 minutes remaining in the session, everybody was in the pits and preparing for their last qualifying laps of the season.

With just under 4 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel and Ricciardo were the first out for the final run.

Rosberg headed out before Hamilton.

Bottas grabbed third as Rosberg improved to keep the pole. Hamilton crossed the line but even though he improved his time he could not beat Rosberg.

So Rosberg won his 11th pole of the season. Hamilton gridded second, Bottas third, Massa fourth and Ricciardo fifth. Vettel, Kvyat, Button, Raikkonen and Alonso rounded out the top 10.

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