The Pirelli compound this weekend is all over the place. It seems as though the soft tires are the pair to choose for immediate speed, however, only last 10 laps or so. Keeping that in mind, they are also around 1 second faster concerning lap times. You won’t see many, maybe not even any, drivers starting on softs as degrading is quite bad especially on a heavily fueled car. Most of them will begin on hards.
2011 rules state that all drivers in Q3 will need to carry their qualifying tire into the start of the race (the majority of them being soft tires). That will call for an exciting turn out. RedBull is even considering running through Q3 on hard tires (they think they are fast enough to clock a top 5 time on hard tires), starting on hards for the race which will give them an advantage throughout.
Ferrari have been off the pace all weekend and clocked a shocking 1st and 3rd in Q1.
RedBull and McLaren were the only two teams on hard tires in Q1, saving their soft tires for later in the session. Wanting to go out on hard tires again in Q2, it was going to be difficult for the drivers to hold off times from the rest of them on soft and switched to softs themselves.
Michael Schumacher was seven-tenths off his teammate’s, Nico Rosberg, 6th place slot. He will start the race in 11th, understandably disappointed.
Redbull refrained from commenting on their use of KERS during the race. They didn’t use KERS during qualifying.
Hamilton, Vettel, Webber, and Button were the only four drivers (out of ten) to set times in the first half of Q3. That is a big risk the remaining six drivers were taking, with a much smaller window to set a fastest lap. Because Redbull and McLaren conserved their soft tires during Q1, they have the privilege of clocking two laps in Q3. The Ferrari’s only had one. They did not have the luxury to run through Q1 on hard tires due to their lack of pace. Shame.
1 Vettel; 2 Hamilton; 3 Webber; 4 Button; 5 Alonso; 6 Heidfeld; 7 Massa; 8 Petrov; 9 Rosberg; 10 Kobayashi
Tomorrow’s race looks set to be one between Redbull and McLaren with the odd challenge with Ferrari. Weather forecasts show a possible storm. We know what that means.
Tomorrow’s race time: 11am Beirut time on LBC International, Abu Dhabi Sport 2 or TF1