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GP Week : Issue 174
Sauber felt far more comfortable at Yas Marina than in previous weekends and, while Kobayashi wasn’t wholly satisfied with his car’s balance after Friday practice, Perez was pleased to feature in the top ten during FP2. Neither driver featured in Q3 but a lightning start from 15th helped Kobayashi achieve sixth place, despite being hampered by a downshift issue. Perez, meanwhile, was slapped with a stop-go penalty for causing an incident that put both Webber and Grosjean out of the race and finished well outside of the points. Both Kovalainen and Petrov were pleased with the steps taken by Caterham during practice as it endeavours to catch the established mid-field runners. Kovalainen out-qualified all of his chief rivals to line-up 18th, while Petrov struggled to match his team- mate and could only split the two Marussias in P20. Kovalainen was untroubled for much of the race and brought his CT01 home in a respectable 13th place. Petrov, on the other hand, struggled with a lack of grip throughout and was unable to improve on 16th. Both Ricciardo and Vergne complained of a lack of long-run pace after Friday practice, but were hopeful of finding more performance over a single lap before qualifying. Vergne failed to make it out of Q1 for the eighth time this year – a spin hampering his final run – and his Australian team-mate would only start 16th. An inspired strategic call to pit Ricciardo during the second safety car meant he could use a fresh set of Options to make up ground and clinch tenth. However, the stoppages didn’t play into Vergne’s hands, as he languished two places behind his team-mate in 12th. Qing Hua stood in for Karthikeyan during FP1, the Chinese driver completing engine mapping tests, basic set-up work and rounding off his session with a high fuel run. Meanwhile, de la Rosa spent his time evaluating brake cooling solutions with high brake wear expected around the Yas Marina circuit. The Spaniard had to start from the pit-lane after one of his tyre blankets became entangled and finished as the last of the runners in 17th. Karthikeyan’s race came to an abrupt and violent end when Rosberg piled over the top of his ailing HRT at Turn 16 on lap nine. Maldonado reported a good balance on high fuel from the outset of the weekend in Abu Dhabi. He went on to set the fourth fastest time in FP3 on the Primes and then stunned everybody in qualifying to claim third following Vettel’s disqualification. The Venezuelan lost ground to Raikkonen at the start but fought hard for his fifth place finish, unable to keep the established leaders at bay. Senna’s trend of poor qualifying performances continued, as he failed to go higher than 14th. At the start, the Brazilian got tangled up with Hulkenburg but made his way up the order to take a solid eighth place. After finishing as a highest-placed Marussia in India, Pic out-qualified team-mate Glock and split the Caterham pairing by going 18th fastest. This was despite missing first practice, when young Brit Chilton got his first Friday drive for Marussia; he started with low-speed aero tests and was reasonably satisfied with his overall performance. Glock fought hard to finish 14th, despite being hampered in the first stint by a front-wing, damaged on the opening lap. Pic dropped back behind his team-mate and Caterham rivals at the start but an engine issue forced him into retirement on lap 41. Sauber Caterham Toro Rosso HRT Williams Marussia TEAM-BY-TEAM: ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 35 GPWEEK.com // 35 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> U.A.E