Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – “Not an easy race”
Kimi: car was ok but suffered with tires
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was not an easy race for me, the car was pretty ok, but I suffered with the tires, to make them last. I was constantly trying to keep the fronts alive. After the start I was in a good position, but I struggled with the first set of Softs: at the end of the stint they kind of came back and improved, but we kept losing places. When Seb came close to me, I knew that he was on a different strategy and I let him go. Obviously it has been quite a tricky year, far from what we want as a team, but lately we have been working well, doing the right things. Now we need to keep working this way and hopefully next year, with the new car, we’ll be where we want to be.”
Nico Rosberg seals 2016 F1 championship, Lewis Hamilton wins race
Nico Rosberg clinched his maiden Formula 1 world championship by holding off Sebastian Vettel to finish second in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as rival Lewis Hamilton won the race.
Rosberg entered the 21st and final grand prix of the season with a 12-point lead and simply needed to be third or higher to take the title no matter where Hamilton finished.
Hamilton kept the pace slow in the final stint when leading Rosberg, backing the German into the pack, despite persistent calls from his Mercedes team to up speed.
But the tactic failed to pay off, with Rosberg soaking up the pressure from Vettel to guide his car home second.
As a result, Rosberg won the world title by five points at Yas Marina to become F1’s 33rd world champion, 34 years after his father Keke achieved the feat.
Hamilton led Rosberg away at the start but the duo did not pull away from Kimi Raikkonen, who jumped Daniel Ricciardo, and Vettel.
Rosberg pitted a lap after Hamilton, ditching the ultra-softs for the softs, and like Hamilton was held in his box while a Ferrari entered the pits.
He rejoined behind Max Verstappen, who had spun at the first corner after contact with Nico Hulkenberg and had cut his way back through the field on the super-softs and was looking to extend his stint.
Mercedes told Rosberg he needed to pass Verstappen because the Dutchman was driving purposefully slow, setting up a tense couple of moments as the two went wheel-to-wheel with the Red Bull holding firm.
After backing off for a few laps, Mercedes told Rosberg to attack again and this time, the German made a pass stick through Turns 8 and 9 before covering the line into Turn 11 to retake second.
The second stops for both Hamilton and Rosberg were smooth, with the duo retaining formation as they rejoined second and third behind Vettel, who was running a long second stint, until the German pitted.
The gap hovered around the one-second mark for much of the remainder of the race, with Hamilton appearing to attempt to back Rosberg into the chasing pack.
The main threat was Vettel, who was last of the frontrunners to make a final stop and took on fresh super-softs. He passed both Red Bulls and closed in on the two Mercedes, bringing Verstappen with him.
Rosberg complained Hamilton was too slow while Mercedes instructed Hamilton to up the pace, including a message from technical boss Paddy Lowe, but the Briton replied at one point "let us race".
Ultimately, it didn’t pay off as Hamilton crossed the line to win his 10th grand prix of the season, compared to nine wins for Rosberg, with his team-mate second.
Vettel, Verstappen, Ricciardo and Raikkonen completed the top six.
Force India’s Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez were seventh and eight respectively, securing fourth place in the constructors’ championship for the outfit for the first time.
Felipe Massa finished the final race of his F1 career in ninth, with Fernando Alonso completing the top 10.
The Spaniard’s McLaren team-mate Jenson Button had a disappointing final race before his likely retirement, the Briton hitting a kerb at Turn 10 hard, causing damage to the steering and forcing him out.
Carlos Sainz Jr retired with a gearbox problem, moments after he was hit by Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, while his Toro Rosso team-mate Daniil Kvyat also failed to finish.
RESULTS – 55 LAPS:
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes|
|–||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari|
|–||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari|
FINAL DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:
FINAL CONSTRUCTORS’ STANDINGS:
Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who lines up fourth, said he hasn’t focused too much on set-up changes or getting distracted by the unrepresentative practice sessions.
"We know from every year here there’s always a bit of a difference with the weather," said Raikkonen.
"It’s hot during the daytime so it’s a bit of a waste of time, those sessions.
"We know what will happen for the evening, to make the right choices and make it work when it actually matters.
"I hardly changed my car – I changed a little bit for FP3 just to get a better feeling.
"It was not ideal at that time of day but you know the pace is going to improve, so we pretty much kept the car the same."
Kimi: car good for 3rd, lap just wasn’t perfect
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a pretty good qualifying, the car has behaved well all day. Today we went a lot faster than we had been in practice, we did our best and it was almost enough for third place, but my last lap was not perfect in some places. It’s hard to say if we’ll be able to fight with the Mercedes tomorrow: usually in race conditions we are a bit closer, but I’m sure they will also be very strong. Tomorrow we can only do our best, we’ll try to make a good start and then we’ll see.”
Lewis Hamilton beats Nico Rosberg to Abu Dhabi GP F1 pole position
Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for his Formula 1 world championship showdown with Nico Rosberg, with a commanding performance in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton held provisional pole after the initial runs in Q3, just over three tenths quicker than Rosberg, and eventually completed two laps good enough for pole by breaking into the 1m38s on his final run.
Championship leader Rosberg also improved on his second Q3 run, but ended up more than three tenths behind Hamilton.
If Hamilton wins Sunday’s race, Rosberg only needs to finish third to clinch his first F1 world title.
Daniel Ricciardo qualified his Red Bull third fastest, nicking ahead of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari by just 0.015 seconds on his final Q3 run.
Ricciardo and his Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen, who qualified sixth fastest, will both start the race on the super-soft tyre, after progressing through Q2 without the ultra-soft favoured by Mercedes and Ferrari.
Sebastian Vettel was fifth fastest in the second Ferrari, less than a tenth slower than Raikkonen.
Vettel suggested he lost time in Turns 16, 17 and 18, and that he went the wrong way on set-up for qualifying.
The Force Indias of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez locked out row four, just 0.018s apart, while Fernando Alonso qualified his McLaren a tenth faster than Felipe Massa’s Williams, which rounded out the top 10.
Massa’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas just missed out on making Q3 in the second Williams, finding time on his final Q2 lap but narrowly losing out to Alonso, who was quicker than Bottas by just 0.040s.
Jenson Button qualified 12th in the sister McLaren, dropping two tenths to Alonso in the middle sector and suggesting his car picked up understeer in the cool conditions.
Esteban Gutierrez beat Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean to 13th on the grid by just under a tenth of a second, while Jolyon Palmer was 15th in the best of the Renaults, 0.175s clear of Pascal Wehrlein, who put his Manor into Q2 for the fifth time this season.
Both Toro Rosso drivers fell in Q1, after losing most of Friday’s second practice to FIA safety checks to its cars, following punctures suffered on Daniil Kvyat’s car.
Kvyat was only 17th quickest, a tenth slower than Wehrlein, while Kvyat’s team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr qualified on the last row of the grid.
Renault apologised to Kevin Magnussen after he failed to go quicker on his final Q1 run and wound up 18th, ahead of Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, who complained of an ERS problem exiting Turn 14.
Esteban Ocon was 20th in the second Manor, after a slow first sector, while the second Sauber of Marcus Ericsson qualified last, the Swede apologising to the team for locking up under braking for Turn 17 and ruining his final flying lap in Q1.
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.589s||0.834s|
|6||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m39.818s||1.063s|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.501s||1.746s|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m40.519s||1.764s|
|17||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m42.003s||3.248s|
|21||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m42.393s||3.638s|
Abu Dhabi GP FP3: Sebastian Vettel tops F1 final practice
Sebastian Vettel was a surprise fastest in the final Formula 1 free practice session ahead of the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had set the pace with just over half of the one-hour session completed having been among a group of drivers to set times on ultra-soft Pirellis early on, which included Daniel Ricciardo and Vettel.
With just over forty minutes to go, Nico Rosberg, who had been fifth fastest behind Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton with both using the slower super-soft Pirellis early on, went fastest after bolting on the fastest tyre.
Seconds after Rosberg knocked Raikkonen off top spot, Hamilton posted a time 0.103s quicker to take top spot.
But Vettel, on a fresh set of ultra-softs, then went 0.137s faster than Hamilton with 11 minutes remaining to secure top spot.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and Raikkonen slotted in second and third on their late runs on ultra-softs, which left Hamilton and Rosberg, who remain favourite to qualify on the front row, down in fourth and fifth after completing their qualifying simulation runs before everyone else.
Ricciardo ended the session a distant sixth, a second off the pace, after failing to exploit the potential of his ultra-soft tyres.
Force India driver Sergio Perez was seventh fastest, less than a tenth off Ricciardo, while team-mate Nico Hulkenberg ended up eighth after missing half of the session with a fuel system problem.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas and Haas’s Esteban Gutierrez, who took a fresh Ferrari engine ahead of this session, rounded out the top 10, ahead of McLaren driver Fernando Alonso.
Renault’s Jolyon Palmer was 12th fastest ahead of Jenson Button, while Felipe Massa didn’t get the best out of his final set of tyres after a spin at Turn 6 right at the start of his run.
Toro Rosso returned to the track after stopping running in yesterday’s session amid concerns it and the FIA had about safety following two punctures believed to be car-related.
Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat completed only 23 laps between them, with Sainz best placed in 18th place.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||0.137s||21|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1.056s||20|
|7||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1.110s||19|
|8||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1.292s||13|
|18||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||2.526s||10|
|21||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||3.330s||13|
Lewis Hamilton leads second Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice too
Lewis Hamilton ended the second free practice session for Formula 1’s world championship deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on top of the timesheets.
After failing to complete a proper fast lap on his first set of soft-compound tyres and complaining about flatspots, Mercedes driver Hamilton deposed team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg from first place with 50 minutes remaining by 0.079 seconds, with both using ultra-soft Pirellis.
This came shortly after Rosberg had knocked Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who was the first to go fastest using the ultra-softs having bettered team-mate Kimi Raikkonen’s super-soft time, off top spot.
Vettel later suffered a gearbox failure with 10 minutes remaining and stopped on track.
Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fourth and fifth and separated by just one thousandth of a second, the latter improving on his second quick lap on the ultra-softs.
Verstappen later complained he was losing power coming off corners and that it was "like a handbrake" on corner entry, with Ricciardo earlier suffering his own brief loss of power at Turn 1.
Valtteri Bottas, who was briefly fastest early in the session on super-softs and came close to reclaiming the spot after dropping behind both Ferraris, ended up seventh ahead of Force India duo Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.
Felipe Massa rounded out the top 10 during the final Friday of his F1 career.
Fernando Alonso was 11th fastest, with McLaren team-mate Jenson Button slotting into 12th in the second half of the session – albeit 0.457s slower – after having a brief off-track moment at Turn 8 earlier on.
Romain Grosjean was 13th fastest, although his session was interrupted by a water pressure problem that led to the Haas team calling him to return to the pits after 17 laps.
The two Manor drivers has a solid session, with Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein in 16th and 17th and separated by 0.154s, putting them ahead of the Saubers of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen’s Renault.
Toro Rosso duo Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat completed only nine laps between them and sat out much of the 90-minute session.
This followed Daniil Kvyat suffered his second left-rear puncture of the day, having suffered a similar fate in practice one, and spinning at Turn 17.
He returned to the pits, with F1 technical delegate Jo Bauer and the team inspecting Kvyat’s wheel, and neither Toro Rosso returned to the track again.
PRACTICE TWO TIMES:
|4||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.389s||0.528s||24|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.390s||0.529s||33|
|8||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.041s||1.180s||35|
|9||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.264s||1.403s||36|
|21||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m44.478s||3.617s||5|
|22||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m45.948s||5.087s||4|
Lewis Hamilton fastest in first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice
Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg to the fastest time in first practice for the Formula 1 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Reigning world champion Hamilton, who trails Rosberg by 12 points with 25 still available, put in a 1m42.869s on the Pirelli soft compound tyres to finish 0.374 seconds ahead of his team-mate.
Red Bull was the closet challenger, with Max Verstappen half a tenth adrift of Rosberg in third and Daniel Ricciardo fourth.
Mercedes ran the ultra-soft tyres early in the session, with Rosberg holding the early edge before being usurped by Hamilton, who then had a low-key spin at the Turn 5-6 complex.
Hamilton moved to the soft tyres and went slightly quicker to extend his lead at the top and remain unchallenged for the remainder of the session.
Teams were limited with what they could learn in first practice as the session takes place in afternoon daylight conditions while qualifying and the race are run under floodlights.
Track evolution delivered a confusing picture, with Hamilton faster on the ultra-soft and the soft while Rosberg was on a similar pace on each compound.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who ran the halo cockpit protection device for his opening 11 laps, was fifth quickest, 1.136s off the pace.
Sergio Perez was the leading Force India in sixth, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Carlos Sainz Jr.
Felipe Massa, competing in his 250th and final F1 race weekend, and Marcus Ericsson, on the super-soft, completed the top 10.
Alfonso Celis Jr, standing in for Nico Hulkenberg, was 11th quickest, 1.4s slower than Perez, with Romain Grosjean 12th.
Grosjean was unhappy with his Haas, reporting he lost the car three times on left-handers before a spin at Turn 1, which damaged his tyres and ended his session early.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat was bottom of the timesheets after completing just four laps having had his running cut short when he picked up a left-rear puncture and had to park on track.
Jordan King finished 21st quickest, 1.1s slower than regular Manor driver Pascal Wehrlein, on his second F1 practice outing.
PRACTICE ONE TIMES:
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.297s||0.428s||26|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m43.362s||0.493s||27|
|6||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m44.155s||1.286s||23|
|8||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||1m44.685s||1.816s||21|
|11||Alfonso Celis||Force India/Mercedes||1m45.476s||2.607s||26|
|22||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||2m01.989s||19.120s||4|
Kimi: “just couldn’t put a lap together”
Today we had a very normal Friday practice, trying different things. The car was working pretty fine: it’s just that I could not put a decent lap together, but overall it was a “basic” day. We had some tire graining, but this is very normal on the first day on track and it was not a big issue, as it’s going to change for the race. Now we just have to work here and there and we should be ok.
Q: Thank you for that. Coming to you Kimi, how are you feeling: two of your contemporaries are leaving the scene, are you going to miss them?
Kimi RAIKKONEN: I mean I left once already so I kind of know how it feels. Obviously, it’s their choice and I’m sure they will have a lot of fun and I wish them all the best for whatever they do in their lives. For sure, things will change in F1 in the future and all of us will leave one day and that’s just how it goes. They’ve both had a good long career in it and I’m sure they will have some other things to do now.
Q: Your world title win in 2007 is a good example that anything can happen in a Formula One title showdown race. Hamilton needs something similar to what you got to win the title on Sunday. Tell us how you approach an ‘anything can happen’ mentality and what do you think will happen on Sunday?
KR: I don’t know what will happen on Sunday obviously, we’ll see on Sunday and over the weekend. When I was in that situation obviously we had nothing to lose, so we go as any other race. We had a strong weekend and a strong last part of the year so obviously that helped. I don’t think there’s a point in doing anything different than you normally do. You always come to a race and try to do the maximum. Our only chance was to try to win and then see what happens to the other guys. As a team they did a very good job of it and then obviously had some luck involved and all things fell into place, so who knows what will happen on Sunday but whoever wins deserves it.