Notebook – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Review

Features Notebook

Valtteri Bottas has held off his teammate Lewis Hamilton to take a dominating victory in the final race of the season in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver looked to have control of the race and build the lead throughout the race over Hamilton.

Bottas’s win was not enough to seal the second place in the drivers’ championship after Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished a lonely third.

Bottas gets results

We saw Valtteri Bottas look really good in that race as we saw both Mercedes go off into the distance in that race. It was a really good drive for him as we saw in Sochi he managed to hold off Hamilton who wasn’t really able to stay ahead.

All season, one of the problems of the Mercedes has been it has struggled to run close to other cars in the dirty air. But, we saw Bottas pull away build that lead over Hamilton before the pit stop and then stop his teammate from getting close enough to pass.

The race was a little surprising as looking at the long run pace on Friday I was expecting and we all played up we would have a three-way fight between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. But, it also showed what a good driver Bottas is and it is earned because he has had a tough second half of the season. It shows that Bottas is not a number two driver who will just let Hamilton win.

He told ESPN “Of course Lewis was close and I knew all he was going to need was a proper mistake from me,” he said after the race. “Of course he wanted to win so he would have taken the opportunity. I just needed to focus on my things, to get my stuff done.”

“I went through the race corner by corner, lap by lap and there was no panic at any point. Of course I knew that he would need only one mistake, like Lewis said we both had one lock-up apiece but I guess this can happen, and it wasn’t a big one.”

No mans lands

Sebastian Vettel says he didn’t have the pace in the race to challenge the Mercedes after he finished third. The Ferrari after looking good on race pace in practice, failed to convert that into the race pace with the German nineteen seconds off the pace of Bottas and sixteen off Hamilton.

“I couldn’t go with the pace that they had. After that I think I settled into a rhythm but I was on my own and the gap was quite big, so I could close a bit in the final stages but yeah it didn’t really matter because we were a bit in no man’s land.”

“Overall I think it’s been a good race, the second stint for me was better. But we lost the connection in the race in the first stint. Yeah, would have liked to be a bit more in the fight today to put those two under pressure, but I’m obviously happy with the podium, it was a good result.”

I think that result was a surprise because Ferrari was so far off the pace of the Mercedes but it was a strong result for the team as they have been unable to challenge Mercedes on the long straights. That means that Mercedes were about to keep the advantage in the slower twister third sector of the lap.

Mockery that Hulkenberg wasn’t penalised effectively

Nico Hulkenberg passed his former teammate Sergio Perez at turns eleven and twelve earning him seventh place. But he cut the chicane to retake the place he had lost earlier in the lap, Perez demanded the German give him the place back but the stewards handed down a five-second time penalty instead.

However, that penalty was meaningless as by the time he served the penalty at his pit stop he had enough of an advantage to remain ahead of Perez. After the race, Force India’s chief operating officer, Otmar Szanauer said “It just makes a mockery of the sport to have it so inconsistent. I think Hulkenberg should have given the place back just like when he did the same thing to Grosjean.”

“It’s a track position race here, we knew they were a bit quicker than us on the ultrasoft which is why we needed to get ahead and stay ahead” Perez also remained adamant he should have been handed the position back after the race and described the current rule as “ridiculous”.

In response to that, Renault accepted Hulkenberg did push Perez off track and the penalty was fair. Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul said “It is the regulations. There was a penalty decided, we served the penalty. We did what it takes to build the gap so the penalty will be harmless to us.”

“We have done the best with lots of experience and cold minded. They wanted to make our life very difficult, that’s part of racing, and I think we have done the right thing.”

Ricciardo “should have had fourth”

Daniel Ricciardo says he should have retained fourth place in the driver’s championship as he should have outscored Kimi Raikkonen comfortably. The Australian went into the race seven points ahead of Raikkonen and was on course to beat him to fourth place in the race too.

But he was forced to retire because of a hydraulic failure on lap twenty one. Asked by NBC,  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.”

Ricciardo said his fifth retirement of the season due to mechanical failure was only more painful due to the gap before the 2018 season opener in Australia.

“This one hurts actually, probably more than the others. Obviously, I was gutted in Austin, but we had another chance in a week’s time, but I don’t have another chance until March now. It’s just reliability, nothing I could have done to prevent it.”

Vandoorne’s rally car

Stoffel Vandoorne believes the damage to his car caused his McLaren to handle like “a rally car.” The Belgian had been running close to his teammate Fernando Alonso all weekend. but struggled badly in the race, finishing more than a minute behind his teammate in 12th.

“It was a very difficult start to the race, I think there was some kind of damage to the car – or something, at least, was wrong in the beginning,” Vandoorne said after the race.

“It really felt like a rally car to drive for me out there. We went into the pits early to change the tyres, to assess the damage to the car as well, and after the pit stop we still continued to struggle for a while.” He also said he struggled for grip throughout the race and the possible diffuser damage that made the car “undriveable”.

Asked to elaborate on how the car felt to drive, he said: “There was no grip at all for me, a lot of sliding around, felt like a big problem. We have to check the data and see what was wrong.”

New logo

Picture: Formula One Management

Formula One bosses have unveiled a new logo which will be used going forward replacing the one which has been used since 1994. After the podium a much simpler design that will be used from the start of the 2018 campaign.

Explaining the reason for the change, commercial boss Sean Bratches said the old design was not useful for modern digital platforms nor merchandise.

He said F1 had to follow the example of other worldwide organisations – such as Coca-Cola – that had simplified their brands to make better use of the digital era.

“You cannot stitch the old logo chevron to the right. A number of brands, particularly in this day and age, are trying to simplify their marks to enter the digital space.”

“Look at Starbucks, or Coca Cola which has taken the condensation off their logo to enter digital. We felt we had to go a little bit further and really retool to position us on a going forward basis.”

The new logo is part of a bigger relaunch, including a new graphics package for broadcasters and “a new production concept – unveil a brand new responsive web platform, new social capabilities, a live and a non-live OTT platform.”

Thank you

After the last nine months, twenty races and a countless number of laps that is all from us this season. We now have 100 Days almost until the first preseason test and next week’s tyre test, which we will have full coverage off. We will do it all again next year.

Keep your eye on the website we will have our season review coming up in a few weeks’ time. Thank you to Ashley for his continuing support with this website and personally, Jason has played a small part in offering analysis offline. Both of you are great to work with on this site, and we will be back next season.

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Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.

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