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GP Week : Issue 234
QUALIFYING 2015 FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 55 LAPS ROUND 19/19 << Last Race – Brazil Two Weeks Ago Next Race – Australia >> March 20 2016 1 2015 FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION 1 – Nico Rosberg has a 6th consecutive pole position, 2 short of the all-time record set by Ayrton Senna in the 1988-89 season. If that record sounds familiar, it’s because Lewis Hamilton had a run of 7 in a row earlier this season. Rosberg’s 22nd career pole ties Fernando Alonso for 12th on the all-time list. With Hamilton alongside him, Mercedes have had 15 front row lockouts in a single season, a single-season record. 2 – For Hamilton, he has the consolation of tying Sebastian Vettel’s 2011 record of 18 front row starts in one year. The Mercedes drivers were virtually inseparable in the first two sectors of the lap, but Rosberg was 0.288s clear in the final sector to claim the pole. Behind them, Kimi Raikkonen has just his 4th top-3 start of the 2015 season, but he was also a long way behind Rosberg in that final sector (0.649s). 3 – Force India’s Sergio Perez missed out on the team’s first top-3 start since Brazil 2009, but 4th still ties his best qualifying of the season in the team’s 150th race. It’s worth remembering that this team has previous form in landmark races – when they were Jordan, they won their 200th race at the 2003 Brazilian GP. Perez is attempting to be the first Force India driver to score more than 1 podium in the same season. Both he and Daniel Ricciardo have never been outqualified by a teammate on this track, and Ricciardo is ahead of Valtteri Bottas on the grid despite being 20km/h (12mph) slower in a straight line. 4 – Williams ended the season by with no top-5 starts in the final 4 races. Nico Hulkenberg was 0.502s slower than Perez in qualifying 7th, his 5th consecutive top-10 start, while Felipe Massa has started in the top-8 on all 5 visits to Yas Marina. The Toro Rosso intrateam battle was won by Carlos Sainz, who outqualified Max Verstappen 10-9 this season. 5 – Mclaren never got a car into Q3 this season, and the evidence in Abu Dhabi shows why. Jenson Button was 8th quickest in the final sector of the lap, but his trap speed in sector 2 was 310.2km/h (192.7mph). That compared with the 338.1km/h (210.1mph) of Valtteri Bottas, and even the 321.3km/h (199.6mph) of Roberto Merhi’s Marussia, with a 2014 Ferrari engine. 6 – When not accounting for grid penalties, Felipe Nasr has outqualified Marcus Ericsson 10-9 this season, while Romain Grosjean looks set to drop down the grid thanks to a likely gearbox change. Even if he doesn’t, 15th on the grid would tie his worst start of the year, set in Monaco. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was knocked out in Q1 for the 2nd time this year (after Montreal), albeit only by 0.012s. It is the 3rd time in the last 4 Abu Dhabi GPs that Vettel will start 15th or lower, but the first time that it wasn’t because he was excluded, as was the case in 2012 and 2014. make the cut. It wasn't and, having bailed on his second flying lap, Vettel was helpless to remedy the situation. It was an embarrassing moment for the Ferrari team, one which would have a significant impact on the outcome of the race, with Vettel's Sunday evening compromised before the clock had even ticked through Saturday. Lewis Hamilton also under performed. The world champion had a fresher engine than Rosberg, meaning in theory he had more power than his teammate, and yet wasn't able to do anything with the advantage. He was a tenth slower in the first sector and only level on time in the second, where his engine performance should have counted, but it was the final in which he haemorrhaged time. He gave away almost three tenths to Rosberg, and was slower even than Ricciardo. It was a poor lap as on balance the Mercedes should be far superior to the Red Bull - Rosberg's split time representative while Hamilton's was off the pace the Mercedes would be expected to run. Hamilton was simply not good enough at the most important point of the weekend, hadning Rosberg the upperhand in the battle for the first corner. 25 GPWEEK.com // 25 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> ABU DHABI PARTNERS: