Ferrari’s Raikkonen fastest on first day of Abu Dhabi F1 tyre test
Kimi Raikkonen set the pace on day one of the post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Pirelli Formula 1 tyre test, as Robert Kubica completed his first run in a 2017 Williams.
The Ferrari driver clocked a 1m37.768s on the new-for-2018 hyper-soft tyre to finish 0.298 seconds clear of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who hands over to Max Verstappen on Wednesday.
Raikkonen, who recorded 99 laps, is splitting driving duties with Sebastian Vettel at the test, with the German to take over for the final day on Wednesday.
All of the current race drivers will get at least some running on the 2018 tyres as they are keen to get some mileage on Pirelli’s new range, which will be softer next season.
World champion Lewis Hamilton ended the day third quickest, 0.782s off the pace, after clocking up 136 laps.
Romain Grosjean was fourth for Haas ahead of Fernando Alonso, who crashed during the morning session, damaging the front wing of his McLaren and bringing out a red flag.
The Spaniard got back out again and ended the day with 111 laps on the board.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was sixth, with a tally of 80 laps, ahead of Force India development driver Nikita Mazepin.
Kubica amassed 100 laps in an incident-free session, with a best lap of 1m41.296s to end up ninth quickest.
He finished 1.2s adrift of Lance Stroll, who took over running for the final couple of hours, but the two were believed to be running different programmes.
The Pole will be back in the car for the final couple of hours on Wednesday, with the focus expected to be on performance runs.
Williams is using the test to evaluate whether or not to sign Kubica for next season, alongside Stroll.
Kubica is understood to be favourite for the seat.
Sean Gelael was 10th fastest in the Toro Rosso, ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, with Oliver Turvey 11th for McLaren.
McLaren was permitted to run two cars to make up for the loss of running when the recent Pirelli test at Interlagos was cancelled because of security concerns.
All of the day’s fastest times were set on the hyper-soft tyre except for Kubica’s lap, which was completed on the soft tyre.
Kimi Raikkonen: Mercedes’ Abu Dhabi GP dominance ‘a one-off’
The Mercedes Formula 1 team’s dominant pace advantage in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a "one-off", according to Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton secured a comfortable one-two for Mercedes at Yas Marina, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finishing 19.330 seconds off the pace in third.
Raikkonen was a further 26s adrift and said his race to fourth was "boring" and like "endurance racing" because the Yas Marina track requires significant fuel-saving.
When asked if he was concerned about the deficit to Mercedes, Raikkonen said: "I don’t think so. It’s just a one-off race.
"Obviously we’ve seen in some other races that one team is stronger than others.
"At the last race of the year obviously we want to do as well as we can but they were strong."
Ferrari looked a match for Mercedes in the 2017 title fight until a turbulent September in which both its cars were eliminated in the Singapore GP start crash and then a run of reliability woes began.
But Ferrari still came from a win-less 2016 to take five GP victories this season.
Raikkonen is optimistic about Ferrari’s chances of challenging next year and going the distance, having just had its best season since 2008.
"Next year, new cars for everybody, new things and I don’t think we should worry too much," he said.
"We always try to improve in all areas and obviously be the fastest and we’re not going to be happy until we are one-two all the time. But it’s not going to be easy.
"For sure [Mercedes] were strong [in Abu Dhabi] but I’m not really worried for next year.
"We had a pretty strong car everywhere [this year]. Obviously some places were stronger than others. Some the other way around.
"We’ll do our job and we have to improve here and there and minimise the issues and apart from that we should be up there."
Raikkonen: ‘Boring’ Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ‘like endurance racing’
Kimi Raikkonen says Formula 1’s fuel limits meant the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was "more like endurance racing" because he had to save so much fuel.
The Ferrari driver finished fourth, fending off Max Verstappen for the whole race and gaining a position when Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull retired ahead of him.
But Raikkonen said he did not enjoy the race, as the Yas Marina track requires significant fuel-saving.
"The car was most of the time pretty good, but to be honest it was not a lot to do with racing because the fuel saving was a lot," he said.
"I tried to keep the guys behind, but tried to be on the limits that you’re allowed to use so it was a kind of boring race.
"But this is what the rules are and some races it’s more and others not. It shouldn’t be like that. It’s more like endurance racing. But that’s how it is.
"It’s the rule and we have to respect it. But as racers, nobody’s happy because we want to race."
He said the whole field would have been in the same situation and it was not a case of Ferrari needing to improve its fuel economy.
"I don’t think it’s just us. For sure, it’s the other teams also," Raikkonen added.
"Maybe some teams have to do less than others and there are always a lot of things to do with how you run the cars and this and that, but I don’t think we are any worse than other teams."
Raikkonen said his battle with the Red Bulls was entirely governed by fuel-saving.
"You were thinking ‘should I go after him?’ because you knew at some point it was going to have to be painful to get back under the limit that we have," he said.
"It’s not a lot of fun. I think Max was more or less the same story.
"As we were close to each other it looks OK but if you look closely you were lifting off 200 metres before the corners."
Raikkonen’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel said he had to save fuel at the beginning of the second stint, which meant he lost touch with the Mercedes drivers ahead, eventually finishing 19 seconds behind race winner Valtteri Bottas.
While it was a disappointing way for Ferrari’s season to end, Vettel said the team could be pleased with the way it took the fight to Mercedes this year.
"You saw today we weren’t quick enough," said Vettel, who finished 25s ahead of Raikkonen.
"I don’t think it’s a shame to come second [in the championship] in the way that we did, but it’s not what we want.
"Overall we had a very good run – I don’t think there was an awful lot more to grab."
Daniel Ricciardo: Kimi Raikkonen should’ve outscored me by miles
Daniel Ricciardo shrugged off losing fourth in the 2017 Formula 1 championship to Kimi Raikkonen at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as he feels Raikkonen should have outscored him comfortably.
Ricciardo arrived at Yas Marina seven points ahead of Raikkonen in the F1 drivers’ standings and was on course to beat him to fourth place in the race too.
But a hydraulic failure on Ricciardo’s Red Bull and Raikkonen’s fourth place finish meant the Ferrari driver took fourth in the championship by five points.
When asked how disappointed he was to lose fourth in the standings, Ricciardo told NBC: "If I’m brutally honest, with that car he should have been a long way in front in the championship. So, yeah, I don’t think it’s a big deal." […]
Valtteri Bottas resists Lewis Hamilton to win Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Valtteri Bottas held off Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton to win the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina.
Bottas retained the lead from pole at the start and though he lost it briefly when he pitted first, he absorbed pressure from Hamilton to secure his third win of the season.
World champion Hamilton crossed the line 3.8 seconds adrift, with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel completing the podium in third.
Once Bottas got through Turn 1 in the lead, he quickly opened up a one-second lead over Hamilton before gradually building it up to two seconds before the stops.
He was the first of the Mercedes drivers to pit, swapping the ultra-softs for super-softs and rejoining in second place.
Hamilton stayed out for three further laps, clocking the fastest lap in the process, but couldn’t make up enough ground and rejoined behind Bottas.
The world champion attacked his team-mate, briefly getting within DRS range, but locked up at Turn 17, running off track before rejoining.
Hamilton kept up the pressure and even got within 0.5s after Bottas had a lock-up of his own, but his team-mate responded by putting the hammer down and pulling away.
The result was Mercedes’ third one-two of the season.
Vettel had a quiet race in a lonely third place ahead of Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was on course to finish fourth, but pulled off track and retired the car with a hydraulic problem shortly before the halfway point.
His team-mate Max Verstappen finished fifth, just 0.8s behind Raikkonen with Nico Hulkenberg sixth to secure sixth place in the constructors’ championship for Renault.
Hulkenberg escaped with a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage when battling Sergio Perez on the first lap.
By the time Hulkenberg took the penalty at his pitstop, he had comfortably built enough of an advantage to negate it.
His team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr retired for the fourth time in six races after the team did not attach the front-left tyre properly at his pitstop.
But for the incident, Sainz had been on course to leapfrog Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa into ninth place by running long before pitting.
Perez finished seventh, 6.8s clear of Force India team-mate Esteban Ocon.
Alonso signed off the McLaren-Honda partnership with ninth place, securing the team’s third consecutive points finish.
Massa completed his 269th and final grand prix in the points in 10th and celebrated with a few doughnuts after the chequered flag.
He had been ahead of Alonso in the first stint but the McLaren passed the later-stopping Williams on its out-lap.
Romain Grosjean was involved in the race’s most entertaining battle, squabbling with Lance Stroll over 13th in the first stint and eventually coming out on top after multiple passes and repasses.
The Haas driver finished 11th, ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne, with Kevin Magnussen recovering from a first lap spin that dropped him to the back of the field to finish 13th.
Stroll ended up making three pitstops on a day everyone else stopped once and fell to last.
|5||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||55||46.269s|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||55||1m32.062s|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||55||1m38.911s|
|9||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||54||1 Lap|
|10||Felipe Massa||Williams/Mercedes||54||1 Lap|
|11||Romain Grosjean||Haas/Ferrari||54||1 Lap|
|12||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren/Honda||54||1 Lap|
|13||Kevin Magnussen||Haas/Ferrari||54||1 Lap|
|14||Pascal Wehrlein||Sauber/Ferrari||54||1 Lap|
|15||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Renault||54||1 Lap|
|16||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Renault||54||1 Lap|
|17||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||54||1 Lap|
|18||Lance Stroll||Williams/Mercedes||54||1 Lap|
|–||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||20||Hydraulics|
Kimi Raikkonen: Abu Dhabi F1 GP qualifying problems due to tyres
Kimi Raikkonen says he could not use the full performance of his Ferrari Formula 1 car in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying due to inconsistent tyre behaviour.
Raikkonen will start the F1 season finale only fifth, having qualified seven tenths of a second away from polesitter Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes.
The sister Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel was over half a second off the pace in third, with Daniel Ricciardo getting ahead of Raikkonen for fourth in the final moments of qualifying.
"I think the car was very good but it was tricky to make the tyres work consistently," said Raikkonen.
"It was a good feeling with the car but the tyres were some corners very good and then a bit too snappy and hard to make them work well."
Asked where in particular the tyres had been a problem, Raikkonen replied: "It gave good grip but it just snapped a little bit and there was oversteer on the last lap and oversteer in [Turn] 11 on the exit that compromised the next few corners.
"I felt there was a lot of speed but I couldn’t really use it."
Vettel said he had struggled with the complex leading onto the back straight, but believes Ferrari will be quicker in the race.
"I was fighting a bit in qualifying with the sequence of [Turns] 5/6/7, but overall we are happy with the car around the lap," he said.
"A bit of a shame to be that far back.
"Tomorrow we have good pace so should be closer. It should be a good race, overtaking is not straightforward but it’s not impossible. Let’s see."
[…] Kimi lost fourth place to Daniel Ricciardo in the very last moments of the session: “It was not an easy qualifying and fifth position is far from ideal. The car felt good all day, I had good feelings. In Q1 we did few laps and it was very easy, but then it got tricky with the tires. For whatever reason, I struggled to make them work and trust them on a flying lap. In some runs, they were ok, then in another one it was more difficult. It was a bit of a guessing game. I’m sure that tomorrow the race is not going to be easy. The start is the easiest place to overtake, but even after that the race is far from over”.
Bottas denies Mercedes F1 team-mate Hamilton Abu Dhabi GP pole
Valtteri Bottas narrowly beat Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton to pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as Mercedes locked out the front row of the grid.
Hamilton led the way throughout free practice at the Yas Marina circuit, and was fastest in Q2 as well, but Bottas was fractionally quicker than Hamilton in Q1 and got back ahead during the first runs in Q3, taking provisional pole with a 1m36.231s lap.
That proved enough for top spot when neither Mercedes driver found time on their second runs, Hamilton falling short by 0.172 seconds.
Sebastian Vettel was third fastest in the best of the Ferraris, improving to a 1m36.777s best on his final Q3 run but ending up almost four tenths down on the Mercedes drivers.
Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was provisionally fourth quickest until a last-gasp effort from Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull displaced Raikkonen from the second row by just 0.026s.
Max Verstappen rounded out the top six, 0.353s down on Raikkonen.
Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault was best of the rest in seventh, less than a tenth clear of Sergio Perez, who in turn was only 0.023s clear of team-mate Esteban Ocon.
Ocon was compromised by battling for track position with Bottas on their final Q3 out-lap.
Felipe Massa’s Williams completed the top 10, 0.153s further back after only completing one run in Q3.
Massa was one of only six drivers to find time on his second run in Q2, which proved enough to bump Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Honda out of the top 10 by 0.071s.
Carlos Sainz Jr was another of those to find time after a "poor out-lap" ruined his first run. He got his Renault up to 12th ahead of the second McLaren-Honda of Stoffel Vandoorne, despite suffering a problem with his engine at the last corner.
Kevin Magnussen was 14th for Haas, almost half a second adrift of Vandoorne but well clear of the second Williams of Lance Stroll, who could not lap faster than 1m39.6s however hard he tried.
Stroll at least made Q2 for the eighth time this season, his passage from Q1 coming at the expense of Romain Grosjean, whose Haas missed the cut by just 0.013s as Stroll pulled the first of those 1m39.6s laps out of the bag at the end.
"Oh God that was everything!" said Stroll over the radio upon learning he’d made the top 15.
Pierre Gasly put the best of the Toro Rossos 17th, two tenths slower than Grosjean and two tenths clear of Sauber pair Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson, who were separated by just six hundredths of a second.
Brendon Hartley qualified slowest of all by some distance in the second Toro Rosso. Porsche’s World Endurance champion delivered a "scruffy" first lap, improved on his second run, but finished the session nearly half a second down on Ericsson.
Qualifying last negates Hartley’s grid penalty for taking a ninth MGU-H on his Renault engine ahead of practice.
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m36.959s||0.728s|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m37.328s||1.097s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.374s||2.143s|
|9||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m38.397s||2.166s|
|17||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m39.724s||–|
|20||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.471s||–|
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two in practice
Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton led a Mercedes one-two in the final free practice session of the 2017 season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton set the fastest lap of the weekend so far to end up 0.273 seconds ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas at the chequered flag.
The hour-long daytime session was incident-free for the most part but featured a memorable virtual safety car interruption midway through, initiated after wind had left an umbrella on the racing line at the Turn 8 left-hander.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen set the early benchmark in the session with a 1m38.999s on ultra-softs – and despite the Finn having locked his left front tyre on the entry to the Turn 7 hairpin, neither team-mate Sebastian Vettel, nor Bottas could surpass him with their first attempts.
Yet Hamilton could, logging a 1m38.702s on his first try to go top. Bottas then went 0.065s quicker, but the 2017 champion strung together three session-best sectors in response for an overall lap time of 1m38.159s.
He then tried two more flying laps on the same set as the session approached halfway point but couldn’t improve, his earlier lap still enough for him to end the run half a second in the clear.
When the frontrunners went out again, having bolted on new ultra-softs, Raikkonen reclaimed the top spot for Ferrari by just 0.002s – with Vettel then slotting in 0.017s behind.
But Hamilton responded again, producing a 1m37.627s lap that surpassed the weekend benchmark the Brit himself had set in the twilight practice session on Friday.
Bottas, who narrowly avoided a major off at the final corner, then slotted into second – and with no further improvements within the top four, Raikkonen and Vettel were left half a second off the pace in third and fourth at the flag.
Daniel Ricciardo led the way for Red Bull in fifth, 0.713s off the pace and two tenths up on Max Verstappen, his team-mate audibly frustrated by the handling of the RB13.
The two McLarens led the midfield pack, Fernando Alonso ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne in seventh, with Renault newcomer Carlos Sainz Jr and Force India’s Sergio Perez making up the top 10.
Williams driver Felipe Massa ended his final practice session in F1 in 11th, more than a second ahead of team-mate Lance Stroll.
Toro Rosso, narrowly ahead of Renault and Haas in the fight for sixth in the constructors’ standings, had a rough session – with Pierre Gasly only 18th and Brendon Hartley, who will be taking his fourth grid penalty in four F1 races, last.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.340s||0.713s||16|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.587s||0.960s||14|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.367s||1.740s||19|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.500s||1.873s||18|
|18||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.737s||3.110s||21|
|20||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.883s||3.256s||23|
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Friday practice: Hamilton fastest for Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton beat Sebastian Vettel to the fastest time in second practice for the Formula 1 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Mercedes driver Hamilton clocked a 1m37.877s to finish 0.149 seconds clear of Vettel’s Ferrari with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo a tenth and a half further back in third.
Hamilton, who was pipped to the quickest time in first practice by Vettel, set the early benchmark with a 1m39.720s, with Ricciardo just 0.040s off in second.
The Briton continued with that run and improved again, with a 1m38.912s, to move 0.848s clear of Ricciardo as the sun set at Yas Marina.
Valtteri Bottas was the first driver to complete a qualifying simulation, clocking a 1m38.609s to go quickest in his Mercedes.
The Finn was usurped by Vettel before Hamilton became the first and only man to dip into the 1m37s.
With just over 40 minutes to go, attention turned to long-run data gathering, with Bottas and Hamilton focusing on the ultra-softs.
Hamilton then joined Vettel on running the super-softs for the final part of the 90-minute session, which provided conditions that would be similar to those in the race.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was fourth quickest, 0.475s off the pace, with Bottas two tenths further back in fifth.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was a second off the pace in seventh and 0.7s slower than team-mate Ricciardo.
Force India duo Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, who were separated by just 0.010s, were eighth and ninth respectively.
Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso completed the top 10.
Felipe Massa, contesting his last grand prix weekend, was the leading Williams in 11th, seven tenths ahead of team-mate Lance Stroll.
Romain Grosjean spent most of the session in the garage as his Haas team worked on fixing an electrical problem, and completed just 12 laps.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.180s||0.303s||34|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m38.894s||1.017s||34|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.323s||1.446s||33|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Force India/Mercedes||1m39.333s||1.456s||36|
|15||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m40.694s||2.817s||39|
|19||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.496s||3.619s||39|
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel fastest in first Abu Dhabi GP practice
Sebastian Vettel beat Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton to the quickest time in first practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Ferrari driver Vettel clocked a 1m39.006s on the ultra-soft Pirelli tyres to end the 90-minute session 0.120 seconds clear of Hamilton at Yas Marina.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was only 0.028s further back in third place, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen fourth, half a second off the ultimate pace.
Hamilton was the early pacesetter, clocking a 1m41.135s on the soft tyres, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas focusing on the super-soft tyres.
Raikkonen, whose Ferrari featured a Red Bull-style diffuser as part of the team’s experiments for 2018, then went quickest on the ultra-softs.
The Finn improved again to a 1m39.741s, but was then demoted as Hamilton and Bottas fitted the ultra-soft tyres just before the halfway mark.
Bottas was the first to cross the line, moving to the top of the pile with a 1m39.741s, but Hamilton beat that by an impressive 0.615s.
Though Verstappen’s first effort on the ultra-softs was just a fraction off Hamilton’s pace, both were bumped down when Vettel did his ultra-soft run.
Bottas ended the session fifth quickest, ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez, who was 1.287s off the pace.
Fernando Alonso didn’t set a laptime until the second half of the session, with the McLaren driver slotting straight into the top 10 on the ultra-soft tyres.
He ended up seventh, 1.516s off the pace and just 0.037s ahead of McLaren team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne in eighth.
Felipe Massa, contesting his final F1 grand prix weekend, was ninth for Williams with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo rounding out the top 10.
Mercedes protege George Russell borrowed Esteban Ocon’s Force India for first practice and ended up 11th fastest, eight tenths adrift of Perez.
Antonio Giovinazzi was the other non-race driver to take part in the session, running in place of Kevin Magnussen at Haas and going 18th quickest.
Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr and Nico Hulkenberg were down in 15th and 17th respectively, but they did not run the ultra-soft tyre. Hulkenberg also had a quick spin out of Turn 14 at the end of the complex that follows the track’s second long straight.
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.154s||0.148s||15|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.293s||1.287s||24|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m40.773s||1.767s||29|
|11||George Russell||Force India/Mercedes||1m41.131s||2.125s||26|
|14||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.646s||2.640s||29|
|20||Brendon Hartley||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m42.585s||3.579s||35|
Yas Marina – The last racing weekend of the season got underway as the Scuderia Ferrari drivers tried their hand at the 21-turn circuit which hosts the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Both Kimi and Seb used Ultrasoft tires during the first session, run in daylight, and switched to a combination of Ultra and Supersofts for the second session which took place after sunset.
“On Friday, we always try to make progress in the set-up of the car”, said Kimi. “For sure there are things we have to improve; there is some work to be done, but that’s the normal story. Today, it was not easy to put a good lap together; the car felt very good in some places, while in some others it could have been better. It’s too early to have a clear idea; later this evening we’ll analyze all the data that we gathered in both sessions and we’ll try to do our best over the weekend”.