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GP Week : Issue 215
QUALIFYING pair were banished to the back row – particularly disappointing for Ricciardo who felt his crew had maximised the gains as the evening cooled off: “We knew when the sun went down the temperature would drop so we stayed optimistic that our set up would work better in the evening and we made some good changes for that. I was the happiest I have been all weekend during quail ...” The penalty would see the blue cars start seven rows further back. Their demise promoted Daniil Kvyat to fifth – a great performance at his last race for Toro Rosso, even though he believed he would be starting from seventh when he spoke: “IdidagoodlapinQ3andIam happy that we achieved P7, even if we could have done a little better. We were very close to the sixth place, but nevertheless we are in a good position for tomorrow, also because I will start from the clean side of the track.” Indeed – and now a row further forward! Joining him on row three would be Jenson Button, the veteran again getting the better of his young team-mate (who missed out on progressing to Q3) ... and all while the ‘Who’s going to drive for McLaren' pantomime continues. Interestingly, the McLarens appear to enjoy the cool evening breeze less: "I thought we had a decent shot at getting P6 [alongside Ricciardo] today, and in the end we were just seven- hundredths' off,” reported Jenson. “As the track temperature drops, you start to lose grip, and you're never certain from which end that loss of grip will come. On my final lap, I had a lock-up into the hairpin at Turn 8 – it locked the loaded right-front wheel, which is quite unusual, so we didn't get it quite right. "Looking forwards, I'm not sure what our race pace will be like, as I didn't get much running done on Friday. I don't know where we're going to be, but I intend to have some fun. One thing's for sure, I'll go out there and get the maximum out of the car. Considering where we were yesterday, this was an okay performance." The fact that Kimi edged Fernando for the better row four start was more to do with Alonso’s reduced on-track time in practice, including an engine change, than any ‘he’s leaving so screw him’ mentality. Fernando’s last race with the Scuderia wasn’t going to be his easiest: "Today's qualifying was very tricky on a weekend that, in general, has been more complicated than usual,” he said. “Changing the engine after the final free practice session created a few extra problems and it took until Q2 for the car to perform consistently. Tomorrow, I expect an uphill struggle, partly because, over the past two days, we haven't done any practice starts and I have never run with a full fuel load. But at the same time, I really want to give it my all and try and make up as much ground as possible. “It will be a special day for me and even if it's really about the title contenders, Rosberg and Hamilton, I would like my last race for Ferrari to feature some nice battles, for the team and for all the fans who have supported me over these past years." Magnussen and JEV didn’t make Q3 but, with the Red Bulls tossed out, found themselves on row five – and still with the free tyre choice that might just help a bit, as Kevin explained: "Our race performance looks promising though; certainly, our pace on the Prime tyre didn't look too bad on Friday. So the Prime will probably be our race tyre, and we'll be trying to get the best out of it.” 2014 FORMULA 1TM ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 55 LAPS ROUND 19/19 << Last Race – Brazil Two Weeks Ago 1 Final Race 2014 FORMULA 1TM ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION 1 – Mercedes-Benz engines sweep every pole position in the 2014 F1 season, becoming the first engine supplier to do so since the Ford Cosworth DFV did likewise in the 1969 season. 2 – Mercedes as a constructor tied Red Bull’s single season record of 18 poles from the 2011 season, as well as surpassing Williams’ all-time record of front row starts from 1993 by taking their 29th and 30th front row positions this year. Mercedes AMG locked out the front row in the final 8 races of this season, and for Nico Rosberg it is an 11th pole and an 11th front row start of 2014. Lewis Hamilton will be encouraged that this race has been won from 2nd place in 3 of the 5 previous runnings. 3 – In 2011 the Williams team filled the last row of the grid for this race, but in 2014 they end the season with top-3 starts in the final 5 Grands Prix, 4 of which have gone to Valtteri Bottas. Indeed, since the Italian GP in September there have been 5 Grands Prix in which the grid has been 2 Mercedes and 2 Williams, in that order. Mercedes had never previously qualified on the front row here and neither Williams driver had ever been in the top-5 on the grid at Yas Marina. 4 – The exclusion of both Red Bulls means that Daniil Kvyat is elevated into equaling his career best start from the Russian GP in 5th place, and surprisingly his Renault-powered Toro Rosso was quicker in the speed trap than the works Mercedes cars. Jenson Button starts his 265th Grand Prix from 6th on the grid, which coincidentally is the only position in the top-7 grid places from which he has never won a race. He clinched the head-to-head against Kevin Magnussen 10-9. 5 – Kimi Räikkönen outqualified Fernando Alonso for only the 3rd time all season to take 7th on the grid, while Alonso had his worst qualifying in dry conditions all year, until he was elevated by the Red Bull exclusion. Kevin Magnussen saw his 11- race Q3 streak come to an end, but he still finds himself starting 9th on the grid ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne, for whom this is a first-ever top-10 start in Abu Dhabi. 6 – A curious coincidence – in 4 starts at Yas Marina, Sergio Perez has started 11th on 3 occasions, while Nico Hülkenberg ended the 2014 season without reaching Q3 in the final 8 Grands Prix. Adrian Sutil starts 13th, the same as in Brazil, as Sauber attempt to avoid the first pointless season in their F1 history, while Esteban Gutierrez was eliminated in Q1 for the 8th time in 2014. Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi returns with his best start since the opening round in Melbourne, and debutant Will Stevens was only 0.555s adrift in his first qualifying session. 7 – Sebastian Vettel has been here before, as he was excluded after qualifying in the 2012 Abu Dhabi GP for an insufficient fuel sample. He eventually finished 3rd from the pitlane. Daniel Ricciardo hasn’t started this low since his half-season with HRT back in 2011. As a result, the bottom 6 cars on the grid are all Renault-powered. 29 GPWEEK.com // 29 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> ABU DHABI PARTNERS: