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: Interlagos

Friday 2nd December 2011


Team-Mate Wars: Interlagos

Team-Mate Wars: Interlagos

Apologies for those expecting this on Tuesday. I totally confused the PF1 office by submitting it early, then sneaking off abroad. In F1, the first person you have to beat is your team-mate, but then you knew that.

Season: Hamilton 8 Button 11
Race: Button
Button's qualifying went better than expected, Hamilton's worse. Had JB got in front of Mark Webber going into Turn 1 at the start then we might have had a more interesting race, but he didn't and we didn't. On the grid McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale confessed they had gone towards a wet set-up, so no surprise that Red Bull disappeared into the distance. Good to see Lewis and Felipe making up and good to see Lewis making the move towards Felipe. That warm fuzzy feeling won't be dissipated by another clash in two weeks' time - they can text, they can write, but the Christmas Card list will need amending.

Red Bull
Season: Webber 2 Vettel 17
Race: Vettel
This may seems a bit unfair when Mark won the race, but Vettel was better than him in most departments this weekend apart from the 'having a fully functioning gearbox' department. Seb was quicker in qualifying, got a better start, established a 2.2 second gap by Lap 2 and from there it will have looked like a run in the simulator to the flag. An exercise in gap management. Seb likes to have at least a four-second gap going into pit-stops and by Lap 12 it was 3.4 seconds with another six laps to build that to over four seconds. As we all now know, that wasn't meant to be as the call from Rocky, his engineer, must have come around Lap 13 and by Lap 14 the gap to Mark was down to 2.9 seconds. Even so, Vettel did a remarkable job to keep his gearbox intact till the end of the race. Nobody will begrudge Mark the win - it's just come a year too late, that's all.Ferrari
Season: Alonso 17 Massa 2
Race: Alonso
You could hardly ask more of Fernando Alonso - qualifying in front of the home boy, starting brilliantly, making a memorable pass on Jenson Button and getting the most out of the car that he could. It was clear from the moment he strapped on his Prime tyres that they weren't going to work as well as the McLaren could get them to work and from that point onward it was a question of when Jenson Button was going to take away his podium place, not if. Felipe qualified sixth, finished a lonely fifth, but was already dropping back from the Hamilton/Alonso/Button battle in the opening laps - though equally, you could say he was having to preserve his tyres because he was going longer, having less sets to call upon after his Saturday puncture.

Season: Schumacher 8 Rosberg 11
Race: Rosberg
Nico Rosberg's Q2 time gave the promise of a Mercedes on the second row of the grid. Sadly he went slower in Q3 and his race pace didn't match the Force India, but to be a whole second quicker than your team-mate over the shortest lap of the season is some achievement. Michael had a nightmare start for him. He lost a place. Almost an entire season of going forward and then this. That's put the kybosh on a relaxing winter.

Season: Heidfeld 7 Petrov 11 Senna 1
Race: Petrov
Bruno Senna qualified brilliantly, but the stewards thought he caused a collision with Schumi. Whether he actually did or not is a moot point, he looked like he could have avoided trouble if he really wanted to. Petrov had a good opening lap and was up to 12th and the Renault team's strategy for him wasn't thought up by a 'Shluha vokzal'naja'* as Vitaly probably reported to Russian TV after the Abu Dhabi incident - although my Russian's not what it could be.

Season: Barrichello 10 Maldonado 9
Race: Barrichello
It seems to be the fate of much-loved retiring drivers to suffer the slings and arrows of misfortune at their final races (even if they won't acknowledge that it's the final race). Coulthard's final race was ended early at Interlagos through no fault of his, Jean Alesi limped out of contention in Suzuka and this race it all went wrong for Rubens Barrichello at the start. It has to be said that Rubens had quite a few duff starts during his time at Brawn in 2009, but it was dismaying to see it happen on his 326th GP. In his Ferrari years his traditional bad luck at Interlagos became a regular feature, aired before each race, but this time it had an added piquancy.

Season: Sutil 9 Di Resta 10
Race: Sutil
Sutil's sixth place was a great result in a year when the first five places are set aside for Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari. He was surprisingly gloomy afterwards. Given the balance of confidence in the flurry of TV interview denials with drivers for Force India and Renault it looks like it will be DiResta and Hulkenberg at Force India in 2012 and Grosjean and Petrov at Renault. It was reported that Kimi Raikkonen won't be making a return to F1 with Williams, but Adrian's probably not looking forward to the prospect of joining a team that's struggling to keep ahead of Lotus. That's if it even is a prospect.

Season: Perez 9 Kobayashi 9
Race: Kobayashi
Kobayashi clinched more vital points for the Sauber team. There was a lot of drama going on in the mid-field that was carefully avoided by the TV broadcast. In fact it was a chance missed because given a couple of retirements ahead, Force India might even have got past Renault, and the tension of the Sauber vs Toro Rosso battle was there till Lap 71 and only briefly spoken about. It was a dramatic TV story there to be told, that went untold.

Toro Rosso
Season: Buemi 8 Alguersuari 11
Race: Alguersuari
A chance missed by the Toro Rosso team who gambled with a wet set-up for Buemi's car. Considering this was the case he did remarkably well to keep in touch with Kobayashi as long as he did. Alguersuari lost time to the Saubers on the Soft tyre but by the time he got onto Primes, Kobayashi had too big a lead.

Season: Trulli 6 Kovalainen 13
Race: Kovalainen
Trulli was in front of Kovalainen till the dying moments of Q1 and then ended up behind him after an inspired final lap from Heikki. At the start of the race Kov got another flyer ending the opening lap in P15. The major blessing for Lotus came from the sky, though. A wet race could have had all kinds of consequences but the rain held off and the team finished 10th in the constructors' championship. Afterwards it was interesting to see Mike Gascoyne, Tony Fernandes, Heikki but no Jarno Trulli rolling up to the BBC Forum interview. Surely they're going to find Rubens a lot more motivated than the world's fastest vintner.

Season: Liuzzi 11 Karthikeyan/Ricciardo 7
Race: Liuzzi outqualified Ricciardo
Liuzzi headed Ricciardo in qualifying and was in front at the start until getting sidelined early on.

Season: Glock 15 D'Ambrosio 4
Race: D'Ambrosio
Jerome for a change.

Boring versus Exciting GPs
Boring 6 Exciting 13
No real change in the top six at the front - with the last 51 podiums being shared between five drivers excluding Felipe Massa. This has made it the season with the fewest drivers scoring a podium place yet over a course of 19 races. The Brazilian GP was unusually flat despite tyre wear being more aggressive than expected. This isn't necessarily the fault of Interlagos. More a case of the teams knowing exactly what to do when with Pirelli tyres and an expectation level based on some of the most dramatic races of all time.

Eddie Jordan: Man of Wisdom or Complete Arse?
EddieJordansWig@twitter.com (EJW) has christened him the Bard of Bray and there was certainly the familiar interesting application of language and poetic juxtaposition of formal meaning at Interlagos. We had this interesting exchange too.
Jake Humphrey: "Rubens said yesterday it felt like a qualifying lap" (he meant to say pole lap, because on Saturday we had qualifying, so it was obviously a qualifying lap)
Eddie: "In actual fact, bearing in mind that the car's been languoring around at the back for such a long time, it was like a pole lap.
The combination of 'languishing' and 'languor' to form 'languoring' is surely inspired.
Eddie may have got George McCartney's name wrong at the last race but he didn't say in qualifying commentary: "Barrichello's been on pole three times here - and so has his uncle, Ayrton Senna."
And it was hard to keep the smiles off the crews' faces when David Coulthard got talking on the subject of Pirelli after the race and with a completely straight face said: "It's difficult to make rubber sound sexy". You could hear Eddie thinking: 'I don't know - let's ask Max'.

Star of the Race
Vettel 8, Button 5, Hamilton 2, Alonso 2, Petrov 1, Kobayashi 1

Overtaking Move of the Race
Hamilton 4.5, Webber 4.5, Button 3, Alonso 2, Schumacher 1, Heidfeld 1, Vettel 1, Sutil 1, Kobayashi 1

Jake Humphrey Checklist (per grand prix)
Unnecessary use of word tasty (9 races out of 19)
Reference to Eddie Jordan's old team (19 out of 19).
Is there going to be a party, they love a party etc? (13 out of 19).
Reference to EJ's shirts (12 out of 18) After Eddie's shirt made £107,100 for Children in Need it should become a seasonal feature. So whoever on the BBC production team thought that up should get a mention. JH didn't play it up, but that made as much money for charity as Strictly Come Dancing did by selling out Wembley Arena.
Almost getting run over (10 out of 19) Captain Greencross's work is nearly done.

Andrew Davies

* My friend Vassily told me it means 'train station horse'. But I have to confess it was a very crackly line.

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