2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Santa Swami, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. Santa Swami

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    The sun sets on F1 2019 in Abu Dhabi this weekend, unfortunately this has been a very poor addition to the calendar, a lacklustre circuit to say the least.

    Swami
     
  2. Santa Swami

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    Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas top despite bizarre Romain Grosjean crash
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    By Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Abu Dhabi

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    Listen to final practice and qualifying on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and the BBC Sport website from 09:55 GMT on Saturday
    Valtteri Bottas led Lewis Hamilton to a Mercedes one-two in second practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    Bottas was 0.310 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who was 0.076secs faster than Ferrari's Charles Leclerc as the season's final race weekend began.

    In an unusual crash for a practice session, Bottas and Haas' Romain Grosjean collided at a chicane.


    The Finn dived for the inside at the end of the second long straight and Grosjean turned in having not seen him.

    Both cars suffered extensive damage and showered the circuit with debris, causing the session to be stopped for seven minutes while the track was cleared.

    Until his crash, Bottas was on excellent form around Yas Marina on Friday, fastest in both sessions, but he has a grid penalty for excessive engine usage and will start the race from the back of the grid.

    Report
    Hamilton, Leclerc and the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel were covered by just 0.125secs, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen fifth and 0.435secs off Bottas' pace but nearly half a second ahead of his team-mate Alexander Albon.

    In an unusual feature, the Ferrari drivers' times were set on a second timed lap, the team choosing to run two sets of soft tyres on low fuel rather than the usual one.

    And Leclerc's time came following a heavy brush with the barriers on his first run at Turn 19, where team-mate Vettel crashed in the first session.

    Alfa Romeo's Antonio Giovinazzi also came to grief at Turn 19, although he managed to spin while avoiding hitting anything.

    Mercedes ended the session emphasising their strength with some impressive pace on the race-simulation runs, with Hamilton comfortably quicker than Verstappen and Leclerc when running the soft tyre with a heavy fuel load.



    Beating Vettel is a great challenge - Leclerc
    "It's been a bit of an unusual Friday for me," said Hamilton. "I was struggling to get into the rhythm, but you have your good and bad days.

    "I've been trying to explore some new avenues with the car. We already know where it works well, so I'm pushing the car into different places, just trying to see if there's anywhere else I can exploit the car and the tyres for the future."

    Bottas said: "It's been a good day out on track; the car was well-balanced from the get-go.

    "The end of my FP2 session was compromised by a minor incident with Grosjean; I thought he had seen me going for the overtake on the inside, but by the time I realised that he hadn't seen me, there was no way for me to escape anymore."

    Vettel said: "We are pretty much fighting the same things as the last couple of races, so all these medium- and low-speed type of corners we are lacking speed compared to the others. Sector three is where it really hurts us."

    Swami
     
  3. Santa Swami

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    Lewis Hamilton takes dominant Abu Dhabi pole position
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    By Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer in Abu Dhabi

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    Sunday's race live on 5 Live Sports Extra and the BBC Sport website at 13:10 GMT
    Lewis Hamilton secured a superb pole position for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    The world champion, who had not had a pole since the German Grand Prix in late July, beat Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.194 seconds.

    Red Bull's Max Verstappen was third, 0.360secs behind, as there was yet another foul-up at Ferrari.


    Charles Leclerc did not cross the line in time to start a final lap and seemed to blame team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

    Leclerc still managed to qualify fourth, ahead of Vettel, but the incident comes hot on the heels of the last race in Brazil where they crashed together, putting both cars out of the race.

    "We are not going to make it," Leclerc said over the radio, after being told earlier in the lap that they were tight on time. "Seb is slowing down."

    In this instance, though, it seems Vettel was not at fault and that the team simply let the cars out too late.

    Red Bull's Alexander Albon took sixth place, with Lando Norris best of the rest in seventh.

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    Ferrari's qualifying nightmare won't help Leclerc in his bid to finish above rival Verstappen in the championship
    Hamilton was thrilled to end his season with a pole - he has admitted the fact Bottas had one more than him up to this point was rankling with him.

    "Definitely a very good qualifying session for us," he said. "It has not been the easiest for us this year but we have kept plugging away. The car is well suited to the track and it has been feeling good. Yesterday was difficult and I had to reset myself for today. The first lap felt special and the second one was an improvement.

    "I don't think my qualifying has been terrible but not up to my usual standard. It's my last qualifying session with this car and it has been a really incredible journey with it this year so to finish it with a pole is a really good feeling."

    Bottas will not be able to challenge Hamilton in the race as he will start from the back of the grid because of a penalty for using too many engine parts.

    The race battle - if there is one - is likely to be between Hamilton and Verstappen, who will start on the front row alongside the Mercedes following Bottas' penalty.

    Verstappen said: "We just seemed to lack a bit of grip compared to them. They are always really dominant on this track and we are just lacking a bit too much in that last sector. We have to be realistic and I think Mercedes is really quick but we will give it everything we have in the race."

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    A new gold lid for Hamilton in Abu Dhabi, complete with six stars - one for each title
    Ferrari - seriously?
    This has been a season characterised by problems at Ferrari, whether errors by the drivers or team, that have handicapped their season.

    In the end, this one probably did not affect anything. Ferrari had not looked quick enough to challenge for pole, and Verstappen had also been ahead of Leclerc on the first runs in final qualifying.

    And the situation did not favour Vettel because although Leclerc did not get a chance to improve his time, and Vettel did, the German did not improve on his final lap and stayed 0.12secs behind his team-mate.

    In truth, the fault this time seemed to lie with the team for sending out Leclerc too late.



    Beating Vettel is a great challenge - Leclerc
    The two Ferraris were at the back of a queue of cars, with Hamilton leading Verstappen, Bottas, Albon, Vettel and Leclerc.

    All backed up trying to get the optimum starting position for their laps, it seems as if Leclerc was just the unfortunate victim of that.

    Team boss Mattia Binotto admitted the error, explaining that because Ferrari were lacking pace, they wanted to send the drivers out as late as possible so they could have the best track conditions.

    He said he knew there was a risk that they would not make it across the line in time, and that is indeed what happened.

    For the race, the Ferrari drivers have chosen a split strategy, Leclerc starting on medium tyres like the Mercedes and Red Bull drivers, while Vettel will start on the softs.

    Behind the big three, Norris ended an excellent rookie season with seventh on the grid, ahead of Renault's Daniel Ricciardo, the second McLaren of Carlos Sainz and the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg.

    At the back, George Russell kept up his perfect qualifying record against Williams team-mate Robert Kubica, who he has out-qualified at every single race this year.

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    "Title challenge next year then?"
    [​IMG]
    Red sky at night: Sunset in Abu Dhabi provides a stunning backdrop to qualifying

    Swami
     
  4. Santa Swami

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    Lewis Hamilton dominates in Abu Dhabi GP for 11th victory of the season
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    By Andrew Benson

    Chief F1 writer at Yas Marina

    • 54 minutes ago
    • From the section Formula 1
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    Lewis Hamilton dominated the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to end the season in which he won a sixth world drivers' title on a high.

    The Mercedes driver led away from pole position and cruised off in the distance, untroubled by anyone behind.

    In a soporific race, Red Bull's Max Verstappen took a comfortable second after Ferrari slipped backwards.


    Charles Leclerc ran second in the early laps, ahead of Verstappen, but slipped back to third.

    Leclerc held off an attack from Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages, the Finn right on his gearbox on the final lap, after an excellent race from the back of the grid.

    But Leclerc could yet lose third place as Ferrari are under investigation for a fuel discrepancy before the race - the amount Ferrari said was in his car being different from the amount that was in it when it was measured by governing body the FIA.

    Total domination from Hamilton
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    Hamilton gave the fans a season-ending donut
    Hamilton's victory was his 11th of the 21 races that have been held this season, and equals his previous best performance, achieved in 2014 and 2018.

    It also moves his career total to 84 wins, just seven behind the all-time record held by Michael Schumacher.

    It sets the 34-year-old Briton up to potentially exceed Schumacher's win tally and match his all-time record of seven world championships in 2020.

    He was in a race of his own from the start, quickly pulling a sizeable gap over Leclerc and never looking under any threat thereafter.

    Hamilton, who tied up the title last month at the US Grand Prix, said: "I'm proud but just super-grateful for this incredible team and all at Mercedes who have continued to push this year. Even though we had the championship won we wanted to keep our head down and see if we could extract more from this beautiful car."



    Beating Vettel is a great challenge - Leclerc
    Verstappen v Leclerc for second
    Leclerc initially appeared to have an advantage over Verstappen but his race began to fall apart when Ferrari decided to call him in for a pit stop on lap 12, early for his starting tyre choice of the medium compound.

    Verstappen ran 13 laps longer before his first stop and quickly caught and passed Leclerc from four seconds back when he rejoined, despite a problem with his engine's throttle response.

    Leclerc switched on to a two-stop strategy and finished third, measuring his pace to hold off Bottas.

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    Leclerc finishes the season behind Verstappen in the championship but said he was "extremely happy" about his first year with Ferrari
    The Finn's task was made harder by the fact that the DRS overtaking aid was not operating for the first 18 laps of the race because of a technical problem.

    But he made good progress anyway and by the second part of the race he was pressuring Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's Alexander Albon behind the top three.

    Vettel pitted out of Bottas' way and then Bottas passed Albon on track.

    Mercedes had hopes that Leclerc's new soft tyres, fitted at his second pit stop, might fade in the closing laps, but Leclerc did enough to just hang on, despite his car's high tyre usage.

    Vettel, who dropped to sixth when he made a second stop on the same lap as Leclerc, homed in on Albon in the closing stages and passed him for fifth with two laps to go.

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    "Hello? Is that Ferrari?" Hamilton has been the subject of rumours in the paddock he could join Ferrari
    Sainz seals sixth in championship
    Behind the top six cars, the main interest in the race was how the minor points places would settle the battle for sixth in the championship, with Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and McLaren's Carlos Sainz tied on points but the Frenchman ahead on results countback.

    Gasly's hopes looked done on the first lap, when he was hit by Racing Point's Lance Stroll and punted into the Canadian's team-mate Sergio Perez at the first corner, damaging his front wing.

    Gasly needed to stop for a new wing and his race never recovered.

    But his hopes increased as Sainz's race looked like it might be undone by his need to start on the unfavourable soft tyre because he qualified in the top 10, which gave the advantage to the quicker runners just outside the top 10 on the grid, such as Perez and Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat.

    But McLaren gambled on a late pit stop for fresh tyres, which dropped Sainz out of the points place he needed, but gave him the speed he required in the closing laps.

    He climbed back up from 14th place and passed Renault's Nico Hulkenberg for 10th on the last lap, giving him the point he wanted to seal sixth - a well deserved achievement after an excellent first season with McLaren.

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    Nico Hulkenberg took part in his last race for Renault - considered one of the best drivers never to finish on the podium in F1
    Driver of the day
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    Only one choice here. Hamilton was in a league of his own. But Bottas also deserves credit for a superb climb up through the field, making some nice moves even without the help of DRS on a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult
    What happens next?
    A well-earned break from travelling for everyone in F1 after a long, hard season. There is some testing in Abu Dhabi this coming week, to settle the detail of the tyres to be used in 2020, and then it will be all hands on deck at the teams' headquarters as they prepare their new cars and the drivers take a short break over Christmas, before preparations begin for the start of next season in Australia on 13-15 March.

    What they said
    Hamilton: "I'm so grateful to Team LH. I travel around the world to different countries and I get to see people who inspire me and send me messages that lift me up. Thank you for watching, thank you for supporting. I feel so happy today."

    Verstappen: "To be P3 in the championship was a nice ending. We are all working hard, but good to take some time off and be with family and friends and come back stronger next year."

    Leclerc: "I've learned a huge amount thanks to Seb, it's been a great year a realisation of the dream since I was child to be with Ferrari and in Formula 1 and it's up to me to get better and give them the success they deserve."

    And your moment of the 2019 season is...
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    The whole of the German Grand Prix. The race at Hockenheim was so full of drama, 31% of you voted it the moment of the season. Treacherous conditions produced six safety cars - two of them virtual, race winner Max Verstappen making five pit stops to change back and forth between wet and dry tyres, Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat ending up third on the podium from 14th on the grid, plus multiple drivers falling foul of the slippery run-off area at the final corner

    Swami
     

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