Abu Dhabi

Last Race: 23rd Nov Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi GP Results
Pos Driver
1 Lewis Hamilton
2 Felipe Massa
3 Valtteri Bottas

Team-Mate Wars: Barcelona

Wednesday 15th May 2013


Q: What's Adrian's favourite lads' mag? A: Nuts

Q: What's Adrian's favourite lads' mag? A: Nuts

Because in F1 the first person you have to beat is your team-mate...

Red Bull Racing
Race: Vettel
Season: Sebastian Vettel 4 - Mark Webber 1
Vettel did as best as he could in qualifying which was a lot more than Mark Webber, who suffered a rapid decline in grip towards the end of his Q3 lap, almost like he was driving on a set of the long-disappeared qualifying tyres. Mark subtracted from 7th on the grid by going backwards to 11th at the start and then beginning his inexorable move forward. Seb fared a lot better for only one place more.

Pirelli's Paul Hembery now says we've crossed the rubicon as far as tyre wear is concerned and that four stops is too much. It's not necessarily the number of stops in itself that is really destructive to the spectacle, it's the fact that drivers have to drive so much within themselves. And whereas they can read out on their steering wheels if they are + or - on fuel, they have to be constantly told about the state of the tyres, which corners to go easy on (i.e. 3 and 9 at Barca), whether a tyre has reached a critical temperature, yada-yada-yada.

In this way, with easy-DRS, KERS and differing strategies, the cars are not concentrating on racing the cars around them, they are simply looking at the state of the tyres and responding to wear rates.

Race: Button
Season: Jenson Button 4 - Sergio Perez 1
It looked like team orders at the end of the race when McLaren told Sergio Perez to hold back, but one look at the steaming rubber carcasses on Checo's car afterwards and it was clear there was no tactical element in "****ing slow down!" Perez got one back on Jenson in qualifying and moved up past Webber at the start while Jenson followed behind a Toro Rosso into Turn 2, which got out of shape and then he found himself behind two Williams. So it was an elegant, tyre conservation drive from JB and a significant qualifying milestone for Sergio, but both would have been hoping for more from their updates.

Race: Rosberg
Season: Lewis Hamilton 3 - Nico Rosberg 2
Lewis has never won in Spain and judging by the way he handled the tyres on Sunday, if he's going to break that duck he'll need Bridgestone to come back into the sport. But there is a brighter day ahead, because the two W04s were easily the quickest machinery in the tight, twisting final sector of the lap and next race we're at the similarly twisty Monaco. If they can lock out the front row then surely they can contrive a better result between them. In the race Lewis learned in a very public way that his cornering style is not as good as Nico's when it comes to aggressive surfaces. Given that he moaned last season about how the media portray Jenson as the smoother driver, imagine the PR-contained fury of being told that hard truth during the race by an engineer. "It's not really helpful," he told Lee Mckenzie afterwards and you kind of knew he was going to express that with a richer, more colourful vocabulary behind the closed doors of the Mercedes motorhome.

Race: Alonso
Season: Fernando Alonso 4 - Felipe Massa 1
Fernando Alonso dished out a lesson in grand prix driving on Sunday, as did Ferrari. While the other teams were fannying between a three- and a four-stopper, depending on how the degradation went, Stefano Domenicali went for an unwavering four-stops and had his driver in beautiful clean air for joyously long periods. Massa suffered bad understeer towards the end of the race, but 3rd from 9th at Barcelona is not shabby. If that had been a Mercedes it would have been 9th from 3rd.

Race: Raikkonen
Season: Kimi Raikkonen 4 - Romain Grosjean 1
Kimi had his usual disappointing run to second place. On the way he made some pretty aggressive overtaking moves which we hardly witnessed last season. The indecision is gone. Grosjean suffered the mechanical bad luck again, while Kimi's consistent finishes in the points now stretches to 22 races.

Force India
Race: Sutil
Season: Paul Di Resta 3 - Adrian Sutil 2
DiResta 's had a marginal TMW victory this season, so it's probably fair that Ade gets one back. Although Paul finished a long way in front of Adrian Sutil, when Sutil got detained by his pitcrew he actually had to switch his engine off so his car didn't overheat while they tried to get the wheel nut off. At that stage Sutil was 8th and ahead of the Scot. He managed to blow the cobwebs out of the Force India and record a Fastest Lap, but by then there was no hope of a point and everyone else was in preservation mode.

Race: Gutierrez
Season: Nico Hulkenberg 4 - Esteban Gutierrez 1
Great to see a more prominent Gutierrez, who judged tyre wear very well in the opening stint, and more importantly, didn't crash into anyone in the pitlane. Nico must be looking across fairly ruefully at the pit garage next to Paul Di Resta.

Race: Maldonado
Season: Maldonado 3 - Bottas 2
Considering Williams rate Valtteri Bottas very highly, Pastor's doing a fair old job keeping him in check. Neither are where they thought they'd be come the Spanish GP.

Toro Rosso
Race: Ricciardo
Season: Daniel Ricciardo 3 - Jean-Eric Vergne 2
It's still nip and tuck between the Toro Rosso drivers. Ricciardo qualified ahead of Jean-Eric, Jean-Eric got a much stronger start and led at the end of Lap 1. Ricciardo was the more visible on television picking off places and was up to P8 on Lap 19 (though Gutierrez led on Lap 12 and still finished in P11, behind him, such is the crazy world of F1 chess). DR still looks the better prospect for some 2014 Helmut love if they don't take Raikkonen. Jean-Eric's strategy never got the chance to pan out as Hulkenberg nerfed him and the he picked up a delaminating puncture.

Race: Bianchi
Season: Jules Bianchi 5 - Max Chilton 0
Right up to the dying moments of qualifying it looked as if Max Chilton was going to out-qualify his feted team-mate, but Jules pulled it out of the bag at the death. The gap is closing between them, but Barca is a circuit Chilton knows very well, having run virtually all of Marussia's testing there pre-season.

Race: Van der Garde
Season: Giedo van der Garde 1 - Charles Pic 4
Van der Garde outqualified Pic and out-raced him, then found one of his own wheels outracing him, which is never ideal. He managed to freestyle his three-wheeler back to the pits Schumi-style, but sought no-one for a punch up.

The Kimi is Disappointed File:
"Unfortunately it's second place again so it's not time to celebrate too much."

Star of the Race
Alonso 2, Sutil 1, Brawn 1, Perez 1,

Overtaking Move of the Race
Vettel 2, Raikkonen 1, Grosjean 1, Alonso 1

Dull vs Exciting GPs
Incandescent 2 -Exciting 2 - Dull 1

Sat on the Naughty Step
Maldonado 1, Vettel 1, Gutierrez 1, Van der Garde 1, Hulkenberg 1

Media Watch
Suzi Perry:
We knew she'd do it sooner or later, but it took just five races for Suzi Perry to lapse into a MotoGP reference. Talking about the MSA's driver training project, she was interviewing GP2 driver James Calado: "we've come out to the paddock to James Calado, a GP2 rider...er...driver." It was the smallest of slips , but it was satisfying, because we'd all been waiting for it.

Eddie Jordan: In the paddock after the race Christian Horner and Eddie Jordan were in the middle of a bit of friendly verbal banter when EJ suddenly revealed: "You were looking to buy Jordan at one stage..." Silence from Christian. That's something we hadn't heard before.

Andrew Davies

Vettel's Maiden Ferrari Run

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