W while Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in Abu Dhabi are cleanly separated If you start from the first three rows, things are mixed up behind them. In the back of the top ten are Romain Grosjean, Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon and Nico Hülkenberg, four drivers from four different teams who were only separated by three and a half tenths in Q3.
At Renault, they had actually hoped that to lead the midfield again on the desert course with its many right-angled corners. 'In the end, however, the power unfortunately also plays a major role', regrets Hülkenberg. “And especially in qualifying, the others have a lot more power available. That is difficult to compensate. “
Disadvantage of the top ten starters?
In the race, the Rhinelander hopes to turn the tables. “You can't use your power mode all the time. The performance will be more balanced there. With four cars from four different teams it will be an interesting fight. I don't hope that the cars with the harder tires will have a big advantage outside of the top ten at the start. ”
Like Grosjean, Ocon and Leclerc, Hulkenberg has to drive off on the used hypersofts while the pursuers outside the Top ten fresher and harder rubbers you can strap on. Leclerc hopes that with cooler temperatures in the race and more rubber on the track, the hypersofts will hold up a little better than they did during training.
The pilot already has the right tactics ready: “We need a good start and have to keep the others behind us. Then we can determine the pace and protect the tires. With othersWhen racing, the disadvantage of starting on softer tires was greater. It's easier to check the wear here. ”
The turnaround succeeds in a clean way
After Friday practice, it didn't look like the leap into the third qualification for Sauber - round succeed at all. By modifying the setup, the drivers were able to get the tires up to temperature better, which resulted in positions 8 and 12 for Leclerc and Ericsson.
Leclerc then praised the engineers: “I think other cars are faster of potential. But the team always manages to get the most out of our package. ”Even a crash in the third training session, in which the rear wing on Leclerc's car broke, did not disturb the Swiss troops.
On Sunday, Sauber even had an outsider chance to push Force India from 7th place in the team classification. “But that will be difficult. They look very strong here and we have to make up seven points on them. But we will try everything, ”said Leclerc's Cape fanatic. Team manager Beat Zehnder is also not particularly optimistic that the competition will still be caught: “Realistically, they are too far away. Unfortunately, here in Abu Dhabi, not much happens in the race. We'd need a bit of chaos like 2010, when Sebastian Vettel was able to win the title with the help of the Liuzzi accident. ”
Esteban Ocon will do everything possible to keep his Force India team in seventh place, what Amounts to 3.5 million euros in success bonus. “I expect the Hypersoft tires to overtake more this year than in previous years. But we kept them in good shape in free practice. And the others have to get past us first. I definitely want to finish in the points in my last race for Force India. ”
In addition to the team duel against Sauber, the drivers' standings are also about the direct team duel against Sergio Perez. 'But I would have to 9Catch up points. The disqualification in Austin didn't make my life easier. He finished on the podium in Azerbaijan while I was out. Unfortunately, I'm missing a few points. In terms of speed, on the other hand, I'm very happy with how the season went. ”