Report – There will be an all-Ferrari fifth row on the grid for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when it gets underway at 17h00 (14h00 CET) at the Yas Marina track. Kimi Raikkonen will start from ninth, having qualified around four tenths faster than tenth placed team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Q1 went off smoothly: both drivers did a first run on the Softs, before quickly switching to the Supersofts, for Kimi to go tenth and Fernando twelfth. Life got more complicated in Q2, especially for Raikkonen, who had to use an extra set of Supersoft tyres and only just made it through to the next stage, with a heart-stopping lap in the dying moments of the session. Alonso went through in seventh spot.
In Q3, Raikkonen was only able to make one run, while the others all did two. The Finn’s best lap was a 1.42.236. Alonso’s first run produced a 1.42.866, but he was unable to improve on his next set, when he made a mistake.
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.267s||0.787s|
|6||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||1m41.893s||1.413s|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m41.908s||1.428s|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso/Renault||1m42.207s||1.727s|
|13||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.239s||1.759s|
|14||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||1m42.384s||1.904s|
Kimi ‘bit on the edge’ – “It was a bit better in qualifying than in the final practice but it’s still difficult. It feels fine in one place and then the rear is a bit loose in odd places and sometimes a bit tricky with the front end and it keeps changing from corner to corner. It’s a bit on edge all the time, so not ideal. Not exactly what you want but it’s what it is. We know where the issues are and obviously I’m pretty sure next year we’ll have a much stronger package overall and then you get rid of many issues. We are kind of stuck in an area where you try to fix certain things with the set-up but then you create another problem. It’s a bit like you fix one but take another issue with it. We’ll see how we can do tomorrow, hopefully we can have a strong race and we will try to do our best.”
Asked if beating Alonso in qualifying was any satisfaction after being outqualified in the last 13 races, Raikkonen said the actual grid positions make it redundant.
“Not really when we’re fighting around ninth, tenth position, eighth position. In my mind, no, because it’s not where we want to be and where we should be. When you are in the front fighting there in the top positions then yes it’s more nice. Obviously people outside look but for me it doesn’t really make a difference.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Even before we arrived in Yas Marina, we knew this track would not favour our car and all weekend, we never managed to find a set-up that worked well at every corner. Today, in qualifying, I felt more comfortable, but it wasn’t simple putting a good lap together. I was always on the limit and on some parts of the track the car worked well and in others it tended to slide. Tomorrow it will be a difficult race, but as always, we will do our best to bring home as many points as possible for the team.”
Pat Fry: “Given our performance in yesterday’s free practice, we knew we were facing a complex weekend and, unfortunately, today’s qualifying turned out to be particularly trying. The gap to our competitors is more evident from the second to third sectors where what counts is mainly speed and driveability, two areas we are working on a lot as we know we need to improve. In the opening laps of Q1 we had various problems, especially on Fernando’s car, some down to traffic management, others linked to technical parameters after we changed the power unit. As the sessions went on, track conditions improved significantly and we tried to get the most out of our package. Starting from the fifth row means we will have to attack and so the entire team has to be absolutely concentrated in order to bring home as many points as possible.”