But heading into Qualifying, it would seem that Mercedes are looking like the team to beat heading into the session that look set to gain Pole Position ahead of the race on Sunday. But Ferrari, Toro Rosso or Force India may spring a surprise and throw a spanner into the works based on their early pace and promise within the Practice sessions.
Let the battle for Pole Position begin…
In Q1, Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets with a time of 1.40.974, Nico Rosberg was second, Sergio Perez was third, Nico Hulkenberg was fourth and Daniel Ricciardo was fifth. Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Daniil Kvyat, Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean managed to get 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th places for their teams. At the end of Q1, we lose Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Marcus Ericsson, Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi.
But we saw in Q1 Fernando Alonso picking up a rear left puncture on his McLaren-Honda and this hampered his process in the session.
In Q2, Hamilton tops the timesheets with a time of 1.40.758, Rosberg was second, Perez was third, Raikkonen was fourth and Ricciardo was fifth. Bottas, Hulkenberg, Kvyat, Massa and Sainz Jr managed to get 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th places for their teams. At the end of Q1, we lose Max Verstappen, Jenson Button, Pastor Maldonado, Felipe Nasr and Romain Grosjean.
During Q2, Nico Hulkenberg’s race engineer informs him that they have a deflating front left tyre and to “take it easy on the straights”. We also saw Romain Grosjean’s race engineer asking him to bring the car home as they have a problem with the hydraulics which led to him stopping in the final minute of Q2.
The battle for Pole Position is on…
In Q3, Rosberg takes his sixth Pole Position of this season, his sixth consecutive Pole in a row and his twenty-first Pole of his career at the Abu Dhabi GP with a lap time of 1.40.237 and showing that he can still challenge ahead of Hamilton who was 0.377 seconds behind Rosberg and also ahead of Raikkonen who did a super job to finish in third 0.814 seconds behind Rosberg.
Perez finished in fourth place 0.947 seconds behind Rosberg, RIcciardo finished in fifth 1.207 seconds behind Rosberg, Bottas finished in a credible sixth 1.419 seconds behind Rosberg, Hulkenberg finished in seventh 1.449 seconds behind Rosberg, Massa finished in eighth 1.522 seconds behind Rosberg, Kvyat finished in ninth 1.696 seconds behind Rosberg and Sainz Jr finished in tenth place 2.471 seconds behind Rosberg.
It would seem that Mercedes genuinely has the pace to challenge for the race win again this weekend despite their form in Qualifying. Both of the Mercedes drivers seem to have the cars underneath them to do this and have been consistent and fast throughout every session so far this weekend.
You cannot discount Raikkonen, Perez, or Ricciardo even to be challenging also for the race win and could also be the dark horses to take the win away from Mercedes (and also Ferrari in Mercedes’ case) that could see gaining some points on their rivals to leapfrog in the Constructors Championship.
Kvyat, Hulkenberg, Massa, Bottas or Sainz Jr could also have a decent race tomorrow and pick up some much needed points for their respective teams. Will it rain tomorrow? I do not know. Who will win the Grand Prix on Sunday? I really don’t know.
Let’s see what happens tomorrow on the Yas Marina circuit on race day today…