F1 Winter Break
Confident Hamilton on pole in Abu Dhabi, as Bulls and Alonso hit problems
McLaren Honda
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Nov 2012   |  3:23 pm GMT  |  143 comments

Lewis Hamilton has started on the front row of the grid for all of the Abu Dhabi Grands Prix to date and tomorrow he starts from pole position ahead of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, while championship contender Fernando Alonso slipped back to 7th place, a disaster for his hopes of gaining ground on Vettel in the title race.

It was Hamilton’s sixth pole of the season and the 25th of his career. He was on swashbuckling form, showing the speed that McLaren are likely to miss next season when he joins Mercedes. Team mate Jenson Button was 6/10ths slower in sixth place in what is clearly a very strong McLaren car on this circuit. A 21st GP win for Hamilton tomorrow will take him past Mika Hakkinen in the all time winners list.

Interestingly the pole time was almost two seconds slower than last season, showing the effect of the exhaust blown diffuser on this track last season.

It was a good recovery after the underperformance of the McLaren team since the Singapore Grand Prix.

“I’m very excited, the first time for a long time to be ahead of the Bulls,” said Hamilton. “But I know it will be tough in the race. These guys are always quick on the first few laps. I hope we are strong enough to fight them, The car feels beautiful here, it just suits the track.”

Vettel was dramatically told to stop the car on his slow down lap after qualifying. It was something Renault asked them to do, according to the team.

It wasn’t a great day for the Red Bulls, which juggled a number of setbacks, but seeing Alonso so far back on the grid will be a significant consolation.

The track temperature dropped by 11 degrees between Free Practice 3 and the start of qualifying.

In Q1, held in fading light, the lap times were faster than in the practice session, with Hamilton setting the fastest time, ahead of Rosberg, who used the soft tyre to set the time.

Sebastian Vettel came into qualifying on the back foot after losing time in FP3 with brake issues. It wasn’t smooth running for him in qualifying either as he touched a wall early on in Q1. He ended Q1 7/10ths of a second slower than Hamilton on the medium tyre. The McLarens once again seemed to be working better on the harder tyre.

Jean-Eric Vergne was eliminated again after he spun in the final corners of his hot lap. Despite his contract renewal he is still struggling with qualifying.

In Q2 as the floodlights came on stronger, everyone went across to the soft tyre. Vettel played himself in slowly and found 4/10ths of a second improvement over his medium tyre time, double the gain Hamilton found on his first lap. Hamilton improved on his second flying lap to edge out Webber by 3/10ths.

Hamilton again was fastest, with Webber and Vettel behind, while Button was struggling on the soft Pirelli tyre in 9th place. Alonso was in the hunt, just a tenth slower than Vettel.

A great lap by Rosberg at the end of Q2 took him into 7th place bumping Hulkenberg out of the top ten.

Into the final Q3 session, after the first runs Hamilton started to stretch his legs, almost half a second faster than Vettel after the first run. Webber was third, Alonso fourth and Rosberg fifth.

Maldonado did a stunning final lap a 1m 41.226 which took him to fourth ahead of Alonso and Webber. It was Maldonado at his breathtaking best, similar to the performance he put in during qualifying in Singapore.

Raikkonen also improved to move ahead of Alonso, who had a poor final run and was unable to improve, he slipped to 7th place, crucially behind Maldonado, Raikkonen and Button, with Yas Marina circuit so hard to pass on, he will have a mountain to climb in the race.

“We did the maximum. I did 1, 41.5 in Q2 and Q3, that’s the maximum from the car,” said Alonso.

The race strategy for tomorrow is not clear yet, with one stop and two stops both options. The track surface is a little more abrasive than India, so it could be finely balanced and it all adds to the drama ahead of this vital race.

The drivers’ championship cannot be sealed on Sunday, but Red Bull can win the Constructor’s title tomorrow. To do so they need to be at least 86 points ahead of Ferrari after the race, five less than they have in hand tonight. Red Bull Racing would become the first F1 constructor ever to win its first three constructors’ titles in consecutive seasons.

ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX, Yas Marina Circuit, Qualifying
1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m40.630s
2. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m40.978s + 0.348
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m41.073s + 0.443
4. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m41.226s + 0.596
5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m41.260s + 0.630
6. Jenson Button McLaren 1m41.290s + 0.660
7. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m41.582s + 0.952
8. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m41.603s + 0.973
9. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m41.723s + 1.093
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m41.778s + 1.148

11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m42.019s + 1.118
12. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m42.084s + 1.183
13. Paul di Resta Force India 1m42.218s + 1.317
14. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m42.289s + 1.388
15. Bruno Senna Williams 1m42.330s + 1.429
16. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m42.606s + 1.705
17. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m42.765s + 1.864

18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m44.058s + 2.561
19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1m44.956s + 3.459
20. Charles Pic Marussia 1m45.089s + 3.592
21. Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1m45.151s + 3.654
22. Timo Glock Marussia 1m45.426s + 3.929
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1m45.766s + 4.269
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1m46.382s + 4.885

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why was mark seeming to eat his own face during the qualy FIA press conference?


This is why I hate the coverage options I get in Canada ... TSN (Canadian) own the live rights, and use the BBC feed. But as soon as qualifying's done, they're outta there!

Speed's (American) live coverage is blacked out, though sometimes it's repeated in the early hours of Sunday. Oftentimes they'll stack their whole coverage at this time, with their F1 Debrief show, then repeat FP2 coverage, then repeat qualifying, complete with post-quali interviews.

Tonight, though, instead of this, they're showing three hours of repeat "World of Outlaws Sprints" dirt-track racing coverage, from 12am-3am, right on the back of showing it live (8pm-12am Sat)! It's PATHETIC!! I could understand if it was NASCAR, I realize the market rules, but dirt-track racing?!

Hopefully the Speed guys go to NBC, and hopefully NBC does a good job with it. I'm expecting the worst.


That drives me nuts too! I love WRC and have to resort to a one hour recap on speed at midnight on Sunday nights. The worst part is they have the Speed 2 online channel with all the other races from around the world but it's not available in Canada! What a tease!


Join me in telling TSN what we think!! That being said at least as Canadians we get the races live on basic cable


I completely agree! I hate the coverage in Canada. We get 12 hours or NASCAR coverage every weekend but as soon as the podium is done in F1, they cut the broadcast. It's just stupid.


Totally agree also, it is very frustrating so we appreciate all the websites to give us more details. This is one thing we really miss, having emigrated to BC from England. The WRC coverage in Canada is even worse!!


Probably enjoying the last of his drugs before his requests to tighten drug-testing are taken seriously and they're banned.


Terrible comment.


I actually haven't seen the video in question yet. I was cracking a joke. No need to get yourself in a bunch.


Hahaha... hilarious. You are probably right.


I know your comments are 'tongue-in-cheek', but still, saying this sort of thing is just not right.


Get a life, jeez!


Vettel was on the back foot, did have problems driving S3, did have to stop his car, Hamilton will win the race

but it looks like he will still gain 5 - 10 points on Alonso tomorrow, so no change


Why would Alonso have such "a mountain to climb", James. There are two massive DRS zones. He should be able to have another strong performance similar to India, don't you think?


Alonso did a great job, but he's definitely fighting that car.

I think the scariest headline I've seen is: "Maldonado warns he will attack"

My cynical side translates that as "I'm going all out at the start, and I'll collect Vettel if he mixes it with me". No doubt if you asked Pastor who he'd rather see win the DWC, he'd say Alonso.

He was too laid back at the start of Singapore, but it would be something else if he got involved in an accident with Vettel now. Of course he could always be in the right, and that the fault of any accident could be Vettel's, but any 50/50 accident will probably see the blame cast Pastor's way.

Also seeing a lot of stories saying that "for the third successive season, Hamilton starts on the front row at Abu Dhabi." Huh? It's FOUR successive years (2009-12), not three. Don't these guys have a fact checker?!


See this race in 2010.


Lot more work to do. Tough guys to pass.

But then again, let's wait and see what happens with Vettel's problem..


James if vettel has run out of fuel does he not start the race from the back of the grid and how will the FIA confirm this ?


Very odd indeed! Huge mistake


If that is why he stopped yes. But Ant Davidson reckons the dash display went haywire before Vettel stopped on track and the 'box went from 3rd to Neutral, so I'm not sure if it is fuel related. That would be an odd mistake to make at this stage of the season esp after Hamilton's heavy penalty in Spain


Wonder why there is no news on Seb's issues...like a news blackout 🙂


James can I ask why Ferrari are allowed to break the curfew and work on their car on thurs night AND friday night and all the other teams not?


How did you came to that conclusion??


In my opinion, the current wording of the rules is clear. There are no restrictions to have more than one curfew break in the same weekend:

[FIA 2012 Sporting Regulations]

"30.19 No team personnel who are associated in any way with the operation of the cars are permitted within the confines of the circuit during the following periods:


However, each team will be permitted four individual exceptions to the above during a

Championship season."

So I guess that Ferrari are allowed to break the curfew on Thurs and Fri nights, and the rest of the teams are allowed as well.

No "Ferrari Intnal Assistance" this time, I guess...


Wording of rules needs tightening up to spell out how the "joker" curfew breaks can be taken i.e. can two be taken in same weekend?


“This weekend looks like being a fight between the championship leader Sebastian Vettel and the two McLaren drivers”

lol..4 tenths slower P1, 5 tenths slower P2; but Button is in the “fight” for pole as he has been all year!

I’d eat my cap if he’s within 5 tenths of his teammate tomorrow AND he didn’t complain of “balance” issues.

Wish I'd put money on that:)


agree,no idea why is he mentioned in that sense,he was much slower all weekend


James, how do the FIA know that SV would have had enough fuel in the car had he made it back? What stops a team claiming 'alternator failure' to save fuel?


My understanding is that ALL cars are required to provide a specified quantity fuel sample after quali. If he ran out of fuel he would not be able to provide such a sample.

As usual, I stand corrected 😉

Congrats to Lewis!


Just to add this from the FIA website:

Technical Report

After the third qualifying session fuel samples were intended to be taken from car numbers 01, 02, 05

and 09 in order to check these for density and to analyse these by gas chromatography.

As car 01 has not been driven back to the pits under its own power the team should explain the reason

for this to the stewards of the meeting.


Because they know what the fuel consumption is and they would presumably have to show evidence of replacing the part?

Considering the penalty (as Lewis Hamilton suffered) it's probably not worth it, he would not have got pole and Webber will move over.

That's also probably why Webber looked so pi$$ed, I don't think handing a place to Vettel is his idea of a good day's work!


Webber is racing Hamilton for 3rd in the championship. Qualifying behind Hamilton does not help.


When Hamilton didn't return his car to parc ferme earlier in the year, he received a large fine.

Is there a difference today?

Or is it the REASON given for stopping on the circuit?

James didn't mention it.


Ha, swashbuckling form >>> Nicely put words.

From the looks of it, this is one of those tracks Lewis had a hand in the design process >>> Good job.

Also good work from Webber for making it on the front row for the past 4 races.

Say, was sad to see Sebi stop his car on track, hopefully doesn't get a penalty wouldn't want to see the title fight boil down to such things.

As for Alonso, this track doesn't like him very much as, remember, these two characters have a long bitter history 2010 being one of them.

Oh apart from Lewis, Maldonado is the star of the day >>> One lap and he plants it P4 >>> Somebody get this block a championship winning car FAST!

I see Kimi is coming good in qualifying with the Lotus upgrades or could it be the the battering Grosjean has been taking in the press of late, has shoved off a little bit of confidence from his game.

Anyway, looking forward to interesting first two laps tomorrow.


Yes it is one of those embarrassing truths of racing car drivers - it is the slow corners that make the difference, not the quick ones. So when Lewis says he loves this track, he's saying he loves slow corners. Which in part is due to being able to do more with them. In quick corners you usually need to be accurate, but in slow ones the ability to manipulate when the weight transfer occurs becomes more important.


What was with Vettel stopping out on track? I see JA said it was an engine problem, which I guess would get them a reprieve from any penalty. Though who would they have to satisfy that it truly was an engine problem? I would hope that that car would go straight to scrutineering, and be the first examined, so see if they had enough fuel left, etc. If they don't have a litre of fuel in the tank, or even if they have a bit more than a litre but it can be confidently concluded that they would've been under a litre had they been able to make it back to the pits, then he should be hit with the same penalty that Hamilton got in Spain. BACK OF THE GRID!

Lewis six-tenth's up on Button, ahead of the RB8's, even on the soft tire ... masterclass.

If Vettel starts 3rd, he has Maldonado next to him. Pastor was pretty docile at the start in Singapore, but I don't know if he'd be the same this time.


I said Horner said that Renault asked RBR to stop the car


I posted a graphical summary of the results data posted on the formula1.com site here: [ F1 2012 Abu Dhabi Qualifying Summary http://f1datajunkie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/f1-2012-abu-dhabi-qualifying-summary.html ]

I'm still trying to work out which chart layouts are the easiest to read, so any thoughts appreciated.


Hi, firstly your first chart seems to have Hamilton and Vettel the wrong way around for Q2.

I'd go with your third table, but have the times, rather than the position next to the names. The position can come from the vertical scale.




Really liked the sector by sector deltas and the sectors by driver bar chart (in order of session rather than the other one which I assume is by championship order)

They clearly show the massive difference in performance of the last 6 cars in sector 2 & 3.

Also interesting to look at Maldonado's set-up he seems slow in sector 1, but making it up in Sectors 2&3 - looks like he's gone for a higher top speed/lower downforce, which will make him very hard to pass tomorrow. I don't think he will be able to use it for overtaking in DRS as he'll fall behind too much in the runnup to the DRS zone.


Maybe add names on the right of the first chart too.

Love the delta and ultimate lap charts. Well done.


Wow, that's a lot of graphs!

I think the first two are clearest. I found it a little bit difficult to follow some of the lines as I'm colour blind...


That's a brilliant lap from Lewis, three tenths faster than MW. He should get a clean start tomorrow and disappear from the pack soon, leaving Seb and Fernando fighting each other. The stage is set for an exciting race.


Great performance from Lewis today, but along with himself, and other podium finishers Vettel and Webber, could use a damn shave.


It's Movember!


It would be hilarious if the entire grid grew mo's.


Unusually big gap between the Lotus drivers, especially considering it's for Kimi's advantage. Any insight on why Romain was that much slower in Q3, they were quite even in Q1 and Q2?


Kimi has been focusing on his quali performance and quietly making improvements and I think they are getting more and more out of the coanda

Quality guy!


This is why I dislike RedBull. Christian Horner just said he has no idea why Vettel was asked to stop. He said it was the engineer's request.

Does he think we are that stupid?

As a team principal that would be the first question I ask once I see Vettel stopping. I get that he doesn't want to give anything away, but to treat us like fools is not the answer. This is insulting our inteligence.


Could not agree more.


All teams do it. It is not unique to red bull. You have to hate all the teams if you don't like it.


Christian owes us nothing. It's the FIA he needs to explain it to.

Incidentally, intelligence has 2 L's...


My bad. English is not my first language.


Agreed. It'd be far more palatable if he just said that they'd prefer not to discuss what the issue is.


Bit strong.

Made Eddie Jordan smile, let the managers enjoy their games, it's part of sport.


I say give Vettel a penalty.
There's no "get out" clause in rules regarding stopping "after engine manufacturer decided it is the right thing to do".



Poor quali by Alonso. That Ferrari is faster than Williams & Lotus for sure, maybe not McLaren or Red Bull.

Sounding like a broken record always blaming the car. Did he had traffic or some other issues on track during Q3?


As usual you people started alonso bashing

How on earth you know ferrari is quicker than lotus and williams in abu dhabi

ALonso was spot on 1:41:5 is the very best ferrari can do. Fact is right from friday ferrari were struggling to incorporate updates in F2012

Please post comments which has some reality. Every update ferrari bringing to race weekends turns out to be a complete waste.

They have admitted and accepted wind tunnel problems so ferrari cannot improve their car anymore, it's up to alonso to drive at his best

Vettel's fate will decide the 2012 WDC

People here has to be wise and make some sense even though they do not like alonso

Face the reality F2012 is a mighty howler.

All credit to Fernando alonso for fighting with his F2012 and vettel for 2012 WDC


I think it's just the track. Look at it from a different angle.

Look how competitive was Maldonado today. He wasn't like that in India (9th) and Korea (15th).

Pastor has his moments every now and than and I think this is one of them.


Er, see Masa's lap times for a true comparison. I don't think Alonso is a slow driver...


James, shouldn't Vettel be send to the back of the grid for abandonment as Hamilton was in Barcelona?


Vettel disqualified from qualifying


Only if he couldn't provide a sufficient fuel sample, like Hamilton. If he can't and he doesn't get the same punishment it will be fun to see the sparks fly!


Hamilton actually had 1.3L in the tank, but got the pen b/c the car wasn't driven back to the pits. RBR were only able to pump out 850mL from Vettel's tank.


Alternator failed on Vettel's car. Lewis ran out of fuel.


Nope, Vettel did not have enough of fuel. Where did you hear about the alternator?


Sorry, Eddie Jordan mentioned on commentary that they had had problems with it earlier.

Now we have a race!!


It seems it was the fuel mate and he will start from the back!


Now after the brilliant performance from Lewis, time to get my worry beads out.


Well simply for the reason that whenever Lewis tends to dominate a weekend such as this, a DNF isn't far off.

Plus if one also takes into account that Lewis hasn't finished higher than P3 at a track he won the previous year then it gets that much more uncomfortable.

And the last nail in coffin being... How many races has Ron Dennis appeared at (since he handed over the reins) and one Mclaren didn't make it home.

Hmm... I recall Abu-Dhabi 2009, Barcelona 2010, Monaco 2010, Hungary 2010, Spa 2010, Silverstone 2011, Canada 2011, Brazil 2011, Germany 2012, Monza 2012 etc etc...

Come on Ron, follow Enzo & all past Ferrari presidents and STAY AT HOME ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!

My prediction for tomorrow:

1. Vettel (Let through by Webber on the last lap)

2. Webber

3. Kimi

4. Alonso

5. Jenson

6. Maldonado

7. Massa


This guy is the oracle.


1. Vettel (overtakes Webber on the first lap)



Maybe not...


Yes lewis was at his majestic best today

I feel very happy for lewis.

I feel very excited to see seb not getting P1

However iam concerned with you race prediction

Lewis for the win please


My dream finish, just so it is decided in Brazil.

Vettel DNF

Lewis win - leads start to finish

Alonso 2nd - pulls off different strategy

Webber 3rd - due to pit stop error


I have a question!

What makes one driver in a team (with identical setup) faster than the another?

Is it mainly down to late braking, yes?


Hi Goferet,

In circuit racing, the braking phase to the apex of the corner is where the majority of the time is made. The maximum possible braking force is determined by the load on the tyres, which primarily comes from the aerodynamics, which reduces as the car slows. So the driver has to reduce the brake pressure progressively to stop the tyres locking.

The total force a tyre can generate is the sum of the braking, accelerating and cornering forces. This sum is pretty much constant, so as a driver starts to turn the car, the driver has to come off the brakes even more.

If the car is going over bumps then the wheels are temporarily off the ground or less loaded and the brakes will lock. Softer springs help, but then the car's aerodynamicas are affected more. The excessive nose down attitude into a corner under heavy braking will reduce the aerodynamic performance - you may have come across the term pitch sensitivity.

As a car is braking and turning into a corner the usual tendency is for it to understeer as excess weight is on the front tyres. Braking with the outside tyres on painted kerbs, or rearward brake bias adjustment can promote some turn-in oversteer to counteract this.

There is a theoretical perfect line to take, but the cars are not perfect. I believe what Lewis is doing is sacrificing a little in the mid-corner phase to get the back of the car settled early, to then allow early application of the throttle. In effect he is rotating the car earlier than Button. By having good feel under braking and a smooth track he is able to achieve the turn in performance that he wants, sacrifices a little with an early apex to get the weight on the rear tyres early and then gets a good exit.

Drivers will take varying lines for all sorts of reasons: small errors, driving skills and talents.


Don't forget about the body weight of the driver: Webber is tall & "heavy" while Vettel is small & light.


Identical setup doesn't always equate to tge same driving style. Confidence and having a knack for a certain track helps too.


Yes. And hitting all the apices (apexes) more consistently. Getting the power down out of a corner as soon as possible without wheelspin. KERS application. DRS application. It pays to remember that no 2 humans are exactly equal either. Nor are the machines.


You are kidding, right?


Lewis was just brilliant! Simply amazing!

As for Jenson, I really feel for him next year. Martin Whitmarsh actually commented that Lewis pace was intimidating to Jenson. Thats not the sort of thing a manager should say. I can easily imagine the press picking up on that poor choice of words.


Did he really say that? What a sh*t.


I agree, he should have said that Lewis was under no pressure or that the car suits his style.

Then again, maybe JB responds well to criticism...


I did not understand what problems did Alonso hit? The fact that the car is slow or something else?


7th on the grid is a pretty big problem


Yes james very big problem and very disappointing

Alex D you are spot on mate

Ferrari are simply too slow. Alonso was pretty accurate 1:41:5 is the optimum lap time ferrari is capable of

Ferrari were simply fiddling with updates in F2012 and lost their way

Seems like vettel will have no trouble in finishing ahead of alonso and extend the points lead

Ferrari cannot improve the car anymore as they have trouble with updates and wind tunnel

I feel too disgruntled for alonso. He has been fantastic all season long. Yet nothing is breaking vettel's march towards 2012 WDC

I do expect another mega race from alonso tomorrow.


Oh yes, wind tunnel.


Hello James, wonder if you could answer this for me... I've noticed Sebestian's been dominating the whole weekend, quicker than his teammate but in Korea, India and again here in Abu Dhabi, he's simply dropped his pace in Q3, yeah he got pole in India but probably because Webber was unlucky with that mistake.

Is there any explanation to this. It's surprising he's simply not finding that form/speed in Q3, he's not far away but not that dominant Seb we know.


I believe it is more Webber than Vettel. Webber has found confidence in the car and tyres now for one lap, but has been unable to match Vettel over a race across the season.

Webber has generally been relatively poor at Abu Dhabi, like Singapore, relative to Vettel. So it could be that Vettel has slipped at this race, or Webber found something at this track.


Yet, he won in Korea and India


yeah but i'm talking mainly about saturday


who says RBR will be champions if they are 86 points ahead of ferrari...they may be less than that ahead of McLaren


I seem to remember when Lewis had his "problem" something about the car having to make it to the pit lane under its own power. Surely it is the same for Vettel? Or does this specifically apply to fuel?

Maldonado had a great run, hopefully he will keep it clean at the start, he is right in the thick of it.

It will be a shame for Vettel if he is penalised but it will make the championship more interesting.


the fia place the cars in parc ferme where the teams are unable to touch or alter the cars. The fia check the cars data and measure the amount of fuel left in the car. So if they tell a little lie about a problem the fia will know about it.

Mike from Colombia

Shame that we did not see Vettel go to the back of the grid to help ensure that the championship goes down to the wire.

Given the incredible display of speed today, McLaren must feel like fools for not having built the team more around Hamilton and making him a better offer (not just financially) and getting him to stay.

You will not see these types of performances from Button or Perez next year, and the team will suffer as a consequence. Where will be the flashes of brilliance within the team? Tyre nursing? Most likely to see solid 3rd row qualifying and quite a few podiums but nothing that will make your hair stand on end.

It seems that the team is content on coming 2nd or 3rd each year in either the WDC or WCC, and that its company ethos of identical treatment is more importance than being outright winners. This also shows in their road cars, where the MP4-12C is a very neat and competent road car, but lacks the flair, edginess and thrill of the 458 Italia.

Too much wasted talent has slipped through McLaren's hand and with little to show for it....Raikkonen, Montoya, Alonso, Hamilton. The teams seems to be content to be there or thereabouts...but not at the edge taking risks and going for glory.


"...You will not see these types of performances from Button or Perez next year..."

Right, as opposed to Button in Spa this year where he out qualified Hamilton by 3 tenths more that Hamilton out qualified him today.

Yes, McLaren made a MASSIVE mistake getting rid of Hamilton, cause he really has delivered the last few years.

2009 - 5th

2010 - 4th

2011 - 5th

2012 - 5th (possibly 4th at end of year)

Truly the greatest driver on the grid!


Mike from Colombia

Your stats have exactly backed up what my point was. McLaren has wasted their opportunity and not exploited Hamilton's (or any of the above mentioned drivers) properly.


Sadly, I agree 100%.


Is it weird that Alonso is happy with the results of the qualifying session? Don't think so - just look who Vettel will be next to at the start. I do really hope for a fun race!


If there is a penalty for Vettel as a result of a lack of fuel, will he go to the very back of the grid? Isn't that what happened with Hamilton in Spain?

I'm hoping this happens for the sake of the championship. It would make things really interesting indeed.


Upon taking the time to read previous comments, my question has been answered.


Okay so if vettel ran out of fuel - massive penalty, if his gear box blows up - massive penalty, if his engine exploded - no worries, just change it in parc ferme.

Hardly seems consistent or fair to Vettel or his opponents.


I love McLaren drivers´s excuses when something goes wrong:

LEWIS: I was slow.

BUTTON: "Lots. Understeer on turn-in. Traction very poor. Locking up fronts and rears. So there's lots that wasn't working."



You think Hamilton is just being modest??


More like he was slow but he doesn't know why.

He's not too bright but he can drive pretty fast.


He's not too bright? Are you by any chance his professor at university?

Mike from Colombia

No - just someone who maturely reinforces his statements with hahaha all the time.

Mike from Colombia

No need for Button to comment. Whitmarsh and 90% of the other journalist will find the excuses for him.


So that would be feedback to the engineers then.


Once again the Ferrari drivers underperformed. The Ferrari were confident of a second row and then the drivers blew it in Q3. It is a shame when the drivers says they got the maximum from the car when clearly the Q1 and Q2 results says otherwise.

Webber's second place shows that the team has given both drivers equal cars. Sad to note that Massa is missing some new parts - again.

Good job by Pastor and Kimi. Hope they don't lose ground at the start.

Lewis will win and by the look of it, Red Bulls are in trouble ... not the Ferraris. I have a feeling Vettel will be penalised.


I still remember Horner taking Webber's wing and giving it to Vettel. No doubt Vettel's KERS gets the thrice-over, where Webber's gets a quick once-over. Webber's results since he re-signed were very poor 'till the RB8's general upturn.


I agree. Alonso (also Grosjean) didn't improve in Q3 as all the others did. Massa improved one tenth.


Rob newman

How on earth you know ferrari drivers under performed ?

What did Q1 and Q2 results show you ?

Ferrari are struggling from friday with updates in F2012

The updates which ferrari are bringing in have no quality and lap time what so ever

You are leading alonso bashing here quite well

Get real and accept the fact RBR and mclaren were simply too quick for ferrari

Why massa should receive updates ? who is he ?

Massa is simply driving for his seat, whereas alonso is fighting for championship hope this clears you as to who should receive updates and who should simply drive to improve his on track performance


According to Alonso, he did approximately the same time three times in Q2 and Q3. It looks that really was the max.

Luckily Vettel was disqualified. Sixth on the grid doesn't look all that bad for Alonso now 🙂


Rob's one of the lead Alonso detractors on this site. We're just giving him oxygen. Formula 1 engineers who rate Alonso extremely highly with the data they have access to are just wrong. Rob is like a climate change denier.


Sure, indeed Alonso has been underperforming the entire season. Get a grip mate.


James why dont u describe lewis's drive as brilliant (as the bbc website does) or dominant (your description of vettels indian gp lap)? Swashbuckling sounds like a reckless or care fref drive, not the dominant masterclass he gave.


I, too, was taken aback by the use of the word 'swashbuckling' until 'romantic' images of heroism came to mind. So much so that I took the opportunity to look it up in a dictionary to appreciate why you would conjure up such a word.

Barry, here's how the entry is explained:

"behaving in a brave and exciting way, especially like a fighter in the past".

My dictionary also places the word in context, within a sentence to emphasise confidence.

So well done to James, what excellent word usage so much better that 'brilliant'.

Now, how many other journalist, columnists. bloggers etc will adopt this word not only to describe Lewis on track but other drivers - Fernando, I suspect, especially if he is able to pull off something more extraordinary, than he has managed to do all season, tomorrow in order to keep his WDC live.


Also brilliant can be associated with giving off light. Apart from the the brakes, the cars aren't hot enough for that...


And, 'swashbuckling' could be considered offensive to pirates. It's insensitive.


It was good to see Hamilton with a spring in his step after setting the pole lap. There seems to have been a thawing of relations between him and the rest of McLaren (Jenson's comments before the race, Lewis dedicating the pole lap to the team). Hopefully they'll get at least one more win to celebrate the end of one of the best driver/car partnerships in modern times.


It looks like there is a chance that Vettel is going to be sent back as was Hamilton in Spain. Same situation.


When Hamilton is on pole its because he was brilliant, when Vettel its the car.


@ Peter

Hamilton did a incredible job today to get P1 Mclaren were not too fast for RBR maybe for other teams.

Vettel gets P1 when he has machinery advantage

Well done lewis for P1 and kicking RBR (vettel)out of their comfort zone.

Oh god i had plenty of chuckle when i have seen sulky face of vettel


Here's a better explanation of why it was brilliant: there were only 3 instances in qualifying where a driver beat his teammates best time in a sector by 0.5 secs ... Hamilton over Button in S3, Ricciardo over Vergne in S3, and Maldonado over Senna in S2. Each of those drivers had brilliant qualifying sessions.

Vergne for me has been a big disappointment, especially with all the hype that surrounded him last year after the Young Drivers Test. DR has pnwed him in quali this year, JEV just ain't quick.

As for Senna, if he's on the grid next year, it's all down to the sponsorship money he brings.


Lewis' poles in AUS and MAL were not as brilliant as his pole today, b/c JB was right with him then as the car was the best in quali trim then. His pole in SIN and KOR last year were outperforming the car as well. JB was happy with the car after FP2, yet still was beaten by six-tenth's.


Are you denying it was a brilliant lap?


When Hamilton puts it on pole, it is often by a large margin, yet the others are within 0.5 back to twelfth. SV has done a great job of maximizing the best.car, Lewis continually shows why he is the class of the field.


Swashbuckling James ?

Boy the british love affair continues


Yes! We are having a race!! Hamilton has nothing to lose and Vettel can prove his greatness (if his alternator doesn't fail). Throw Maldonado in the mix and the end result will be completely random.

I predict at least one team to be very upset at the end of the race. This could be Valencia all over. Gentlemen, Start your engines …


I'm sorry but what's with all this talk about vettel not getting a penalty if there is enough fuel left? Surely this most be wrong.

Cars have to get back under their own power. If he stopped because of fuel he should get a penalty for underfueling even if they can get enough from car. Obviously he would be gaining time for not having to carry outlap fuel.

And no there is no way you can say that by calculating the amount of fuel left he could have made it back and provide enough fuel for the sample as .there are too many variables for a 100% accurate calculation.

Stopped on track because of fuel? Penalty.


Reckon all the doubters should take note.......LH given the rightcar is unbeatable. If I was team principle of Maclaren I would be worried, this is a concern to the team. JB is not slow but unless it rains tomoz how on earth is Button going to win or get on the podium.


JB benefitted big time last year by the field being so stretched out. He could have an off day and still start 5th or 6th. This year with the field bunched, an off day means no Q3 for him, and his normal quali gap to Lewis this year has translated into a lot lower grid slots compared to last year.


Yes, how on earth will he?

After all, he is a whole 2 places away from the podium!!

He may as well just give up now!

Oh, no hang on a minute, it's the other McLaren driver who gets on the radio saying they should quit, isn't it?


@Richardc. "LH given the right car is unbeatable". Yeah, same for Vettel. But no doubt, Hamilton's expected, pole to race win, will be the work of a genius.


James, I agree that the lap times are affected by the lack of double diffuser this year.

I am surprised ,though ,that you failed to mention the much higher kerbs this year which have obviously , to me , had a detrimental effect on lap times.


Not all doom and gloom for Alonso. If he has good race pace, which is to be anticipated, he should be able to overtake the cars in front of him, as he is faster than them all in the speed trap. Well, excluding the Reverend that is!



Would have loved this grid in 2010


mclaren tried to use hamilton's 2011 performance (which they may have controlled knowing his contract was due for renewal in 2012) to have an upper hand over hamilton during the contract negociation and lost.

he may not win this year's championship but brand hamilton is too harge for anything to affect it's value.

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