NOTEBOOK – Friday Abu Dhabi

Features Notebook

Lewis Hamilton has started off at his best as he hopes to get a good result and hope others can get in the mix to beat his team-mate to the title in Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes Fastest

This weekend the eyes of the world are on the Mercedes duo as they prepare to fight for this world championship and it appears Hamilton has the upper hand on track. However he had worries during FP2 about his gearbox, but don’t worry as far as we know that was just a Friday one so shouldn’t affect him much.

Rosberg in FP2 appeared to lose time after a mistake, this may prove that the pressure is on him this weekend but it wasn’t major as he shaved two tenths off his best lap from the early afternoon. During the morning Rosberg didn’t show really whether he had the pace on the ultrasofts so that may throw us a bit. abu-dhabi-math

Vettel’s gearbox

In FP2 Sebastian Vettel was looking OK and was just behind the Mercedes but encountered a gearbox issue however it shouldn’t impact him as it looks like it was a Friday gearbox. Vettel said  “That’s what I think, but you should ask other people to confirm. I don’t think it has an impact. It’s not ideal, I would have liked to finish the run and get a couple more laps and do a start.”

Ferrari v Red Bull

Ferrari are again on the back foot it appears because the more technical sector leans towards Red Bull. Red Bull were not that far off the pace and between Max Verstappen and Riccardo there was a slim margin but the fact is that the Australian was caught in traffic in FP2.

The circuit should be an even chance for both teams because of the layout, but recent form suggests that Red Bull should be ahead of Ferrari. We weren’t also able due the traffic was unable to see the true gap in FP2, also Raikkonen went wide on his first run so that would have messed his tyres up.

Toro Rosso tyre issues

Daniil Kvyat had a difficult day in both the sessions suffering rim failures on his car. It was unusual to see two failures for the same team, it could it be a fault in their car or something to do with the setup of their car.

The team were right to halt there running which was the right thing to do as we don’t know what the issue is and it’s a safety issue as it could lead to an accident. Team Principal Franz Tost told “After facing two failures on the rear rim of Daniil’s car today, it was decided to avoid sending Carlos out on track again because we still haven’t understood 100 percent where the problem is coming from.”

It will however remain a concern for all the teams this weekend.

William ahead of Force India

The other battle this weekend which is key for the teams involved is the battle for fourth place in the constructors because it’s worth millions to each team. Williams will want a good weekend and we know they regularly mask there performance on Friday, this may mean they have a slim chance of that fourth place.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering said “In general, we can be quite happy with today’s running. FP2 was more concentrated on this weekend’s Grand Prix; running low and high fuel, both of which looked good. We tried two different set-up directions on the car, which has helped us understand and identify the clearest direction to work on for tomorrow.”

McLaren mixed day

In FP1 McLaren appeared to be off the pace we expect them to be and we did see them improve in FP2, however they remain off their normal form. This is not really a surprise because of the nature of the circuit which plays to their weaknesses mainly.

But I wouldn’t entirely count them off from this weekend yes FP1 was harmed by technical woes but we know that they have really good drivers. Jenson Button will have that extra pressure with it likely to be his last race he will want to go out on a high. He said “It wasn’t a great day for us – we had to stop running fairly early in FP1, then elected to change the power unit before FP2. Then I got out half an hour into the session. It might’ve been a bit of a troublesome day, but I still think we learned something useful by the end of the day’s running.”

Haas stability

In FP1 Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez had offs the Frenchman complained about his stability of his car and issues breaking. Grosjean expanded on this saying there were mapping issues. Things didn’t improve for the Frenchman as in FP2 he had a water leak.

Grosjean said “We had some issues this morning with that spin, and some mapping issues and the braking. We did well and worked hard to sort that out for FP2.”

“Then, unfortunately, in FP2 we had the issue with the water leak which meant we couldn’t do our long run. I’ve been struggling to get the tyres to work. We initially had a good run in the day, but then after that we struggled a bit more. That’s going to be the main concern.”

Qualifying Preview

Expect Lewis Hamilton just to have that slight edge over Nico Rosberg in qualifying he needs it really if he wants the slim hope of the fourth title. They will not have the Red Bulls that close but the battle between them and Ferrari will be the one to watch. This is important because Hamilton needs cars to back Rosberg up if he wants this title. But Rosberg has said he want pole for the race so watch this space!



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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