2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Practice Review

 

Abu_Dhabi_Grand_Prix.JPG_843180934Nico Rosberg wins the Brazilian Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton in second place and Sebastian Vettel in third place. Force India, Red Bull and Williams managed to also achieve points finishes in the race as well.

Heading into the final weekend of the Formula One calendar, it was announced on Wednesday morning that the F1 Commission has rejected an alternative engine proposal to save costs in  the sport. To read more about this, then please read my article here:- https://jonesonf1.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/f1-commission-rejects-alternative-engine-proposal/.

Also, it is Romain Grosjean’s last race for Lotus as he moves on to drive for the Haas F1 team for the 2016 season. Even though both parties have had good times and bad times, they will miss each other and will have fond memories. And I hope they have a good weekend and get a result that is worthy of the time they have worked together.

The Yas Marina Circuit is located on Yas Island, about 30 minutes from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Approximately 50,000 spectators can view the action on the circuit from permanent, covered grandstands that protect visitors from the desert sun. It is the only motorsports venue in the world where all of the grandstands are covered.

The circuit is 5.55 kilometers long and can be split into two smaller tracks of 3.1 kilometers and 2.4 kilometers, which can operate simultaneously where desired. A total of 21 corners with 9 right turns and 12 left turns.

The width of the circuit fluctuates from 12-16 meters. The direction is anti-clockwise. The track has a lot of hairpins and long straights and there is few potential overtaking places. The pit lane entry is very challenging, as is the exit, which runs underneath the track in a tunnel.

At 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, for the first time in Formula 1 history, a race was scheduled to start in daylight and end during night-time. The race was started approximately one hour before sunset. The permanent lighting system was turned on from the start of the race to ensure a seamless transition from daylight to dark.

The world’s largest indoor theme park, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, is also located on Yas Island. The park hosts more than 20 rides and attractions. One of the attractions, Formula Rossa, has the same G force one would feel driving in an F1 car and braking at maximum speed. It is the world’s fastest roller coaster, powered through the 2.07 km track at speeds up to 240 km/h, reaching 0-100 km/h in less than two seconds.

Practices 1, 2 and 3

The main headline from the Practice sessions is Mercedes look to have the driver-car package to beat this weekend as weather conditions and tyre management which will test the drivers, teams and the cars throughout Friday and Saturday practice sessions.

Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets in FP1.

Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets in FP1.

Practice 1 saw Lewis Hamilton topping the timesheet with a time of 1.43.754 followed closely by Nico Rosberg with a gap of 0.141 seconds behind, Kimi Raikkonen was in third with a gap of 0.746 seconds behind, Daniil Kvyat was in fourth 0.948 seconds behind and Sebastian Vettel was in fifth place 1.006 seconds behind Hamilton.

Nico Hulkenberg was in sixth 0.997 seconds behind, Daniel Ricciardo was seventh 1.139 seconds behind, Sergio Perez was eighth 1.180 seconds behind, Pastor Maldonado was ninth 1.560 seconds behind and Felipe Massa rounded off the top ten and was 1.679 seconds behind Hamilton.

Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets in FP2.

Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets in FP2 and FP3.

Practice 2 saw Rosberg topping the timesheet with a time of 1.41.983 followed closely by Hamilton with a gap of 0.138 seconds behind, Perez was in third with a gap of 0.627 seconds behind, Ricciardo was in fourth 0.644 seconds behind and  Vettel was in fifth place 0.734 seconds behind Rosberg.

Kvyat was in sixth 0.815 seconds behind, Raikkonen was seventh 0.866 seconds behind, Hulkenberg was eighth 0.945 seconds behind, Alonso was ninth 0.972 seconds behind and Maldonado rounded off the top ten and was 1.448 seconds behind Rosberg.

During FP2, the Mercedes drivers were battling each other once again. Hamilton had led the way all the way through the session at the Yas Marina circuit by 0.141 seconds over Rosberg. Following the opening stint on the softs in practice two, Hamilton again held sway over Rosberg, but come the switch to Pirelli’s super-softs, Rosberg seized the advantage.

We also saw during the session that Sainz Jr lost power on the circuit with 30 minutes remaining of the session and parked his car on a safe place on the Yas Marina circuit.

But the biggest surprise of the session was the pace of Sergio Perez who despite having his session ended twenty minutes early due to a brake issue on his Force India car; at the team’s 150th Grand Prix this weekend at the Yas Marina circuit.

Practice 3 saw Rosberg topping the timesheet with a time of 1.41.856 followed closely by Hamilton with a gap of 0.281 seconds behind, Vettel was in third with a gap of 0.329 seconds behind, Perez was in fourth 0..592 seconds behind and Raikkonen was in fifth place 0.771 seconds behind Rosberg.

Ricciardo was in sixth 0.870 seconds behind, Hulkenberg was seventh 1.003 seconds behind, Massa was eighth 1.317 seconds behind, Bottas was ninth 1.383 seconds behind and Sainz Jr rounded off the top ten and was 1.573 seconds behind Rosberg.

During FP3, we saw Sebastian Vettel spinning off at Turn 1. Vettel managed to get the car back under control and continued on during the session. We also saw Lewis Hamilton spinning out of Turn 6 after carrying too much speed but he was able to recover from this and carry on with the session.

You would be stupid not to bet against the Mercedes drivers of Hamilton and Rosberg to gain pole position again this weekend. As the Mercedes drivers seem to be performing brilliantly at the moment and the momentum is with them from all the track mileage and their strong form from the last race.

But Raikkonen and Vettel are both looking strong this weekend and could snatch pole from them. However, Perez, Hulkenberg, Massa and Bottas also cannot be discounted for the pole also as they are consistently within the top ten places at the moment.

However, I think that Lotus have shown that they could throw themselves into the mix and could qualify well here to be in the hunt for some decent points this weekend. We all look forward to the qualifying session of the Grand Prix with excitement…

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