S ebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen are in wait once again. The Ferrari drivers qualified for the second row on the grid. Behind two Silver Arrows that have had a subscription to the best starting positions on the Yas Marina Circuit for five years.
After a Friday full of tire problems, the world looked better for Ferrari on Saturday. 'The car felt much better,' confirmed Vettel. “We changed the set-up and the track made a difference to us. Thanks again to our simulator driver who, as so often did on Friday evening in Maranello, did a good job for us. ”
Because the hypersoft tires collapsed dramatically after two laps at Ferrari and the lap times slowed five laps of up to four seconds, the first task for Vettel and Raikkonen was obvious: 'We didn't want to have to race on the Hypersoft,' explained Vettel. Getting rubber through Q2 was manageable despite a delta of over a second to the hypersoft tire. Mercedes, Red Bull and Force India have tried the same. While Raikkonen drove off with a hypersoft set to be on the safe side in the second attempt and then aborted the attempt when he was on the safe side, Vettel also chose an ultrasoft set for the second round and improved by 4 tenths. That was still fourth place in Q2. 'It was worth the risk to start with the type of tire we wanted.'
The weak points are corners 12 to 14 and 17 to 19
In the second part of the qualification, Vettel also suspected that Mercedes would be an indomitable opponent in Q3. After Q1 there was still hope. Vettel was half a tenth ahead of the Mercedes. “The Q2 then showed a more realistic picture. I was actually happy with my Ultrassoft lap, but Lewis was a lot faster. ”Seven tenths to be precise. It is easy to explain that Vettel again managed to get within 0.331 seconds of the world champion in Q3: The extra grip of the hypersoft tire covered the deficits of the Ferrari.
They are revealed in the top speeds and the sector times. On the straights, the Ferrari win 0.5 seconds and 9.3 km /h on the Mercedes and even more on the Red Bull. In the last sector with eleven corners, the red cars give this time again. More in the slow corners than in the fast ones.
The weak points of the Ferrari were the corner combinations T12, T13 and T14 and T17, T18 and T19. Because there is no contact pressure, the tires get too hot. That costs grip. It is not that Ferrari would have freely chosen the downforce level. 'We don't have more,' Vettel regretted. This is reminiscent of the statements made after qualifying for the GP Mexico.
Will Abu Dhabi be a copy of Mexico?
The German knows that the Silver Arrows Hard to beat on her specialty. The hope is to overtake them at the start or on the first lap with the higher top speed. If Hamilton and Bottas make it to the third sector, they can drive their way out of the DRS area and Ferrari will no longer come near them.
Perhaps the GP Abu Dhabi will also be a copy of the race in Mexico. In the last race of the year, too, grains will be the problem that drives everyone. In Mexico, the drama for the Mercedes in training was not yet foreseeable, as it had then presented itself in the race.
Ferrari was too slow there for one lap, but then played out that in the race you got along better with the harder tire compounds than the Mercedes. The Silver Arrows team has of course also learned its lessons from the Mexico drama. AndMercedes rarely makes a mistake twice.