Abu Dhabi GP: Hamilton beats Webber to pole

Lewis Hamilton

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton handily won the pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix over the Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel's run of superb form came to a grinding halt in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Crucially, the championship leader is ahead of his title rival Fernando Alonso on the grid, enquiring of a reporter immediately after qualifying third: "Is he (Alonso) sixth?"

But it has been far from smooth sailing in the desert heat.

Red Bull is struggling to keep up with pole sitter Lewis Hamilton's McLaren, and Vettel was also outpaced on Saturday afternoon by his own teammate, Mark Webber.

Earlier, Vettel was stuck in the pits in the important third practice session with a serious brake problem, and right at the end of qualifying, he pulled to the side of the track.

"I don't know why," he said. "I was asked to stop."

Lewis Hamilton

Team boss Christian Horner revealed that engine, KERS and alternator supplier Renault ordered the stoppage, but paddock speculation suggested Vettel may have simply run out of fuel — which will send him right to the back of Sunday's grid.

"There was a request (from Renault) but at the moment I don't know why," Horner told the BBC.

It should be noted that Renault's problems with its 2012 alternators have been well documented this year, and the French marque's Remy Taffin confirmed in Abu Dhabi that an all-new specification will not be ready to debut until Austin.

"That's the work we've achieved so far, that's where we are," he said on Friday.

Technical troubles aside, Vettel is the championship contender looking most under pressure in Abu Dhabi, with commentators saying he made more mistakes on Saturday than he has for several entire race weekends.

Asked on Saturday about Vettel's problems in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari's Alonso admitted: "In terms of our championship hopes, it always helps.".


Pos Driver Team Time Behind
1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m40.630s +0.000s
2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m40.978s +0.348s
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m41.073s +0.443s
4. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m41.226s +0.596s
5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m41.260s +0.630s
6. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m41.290s +0.660s
7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m41.582s +0.952s
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m41.603s +0.973s
9. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m41.723s +1.093s
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m41.778s +1.148s
11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m42.019s +1.118s
12. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.084s +1.183s
13. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m42.218s +1.317s
14. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m42.289s +1.388s
15. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m42.330s +1.429s
16. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m42.606s +1.705s
17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m42.765s +1.864s
18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m44.058s +2.561s
19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m44.956s +3.459s
20. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m45.089s +3.592s
21. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m45.151s +3.654s
22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m45.426s +3.929s
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m45.766s +4.269s
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m46.382s +4.885s

Leave a Reply