Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hamilton Fastest in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Qualifying; Vettel Excluded

Photo source: Pirelli Photo Service

Third to final race in the 2012 Formula 1 season, the Yas Marina Curcuit in the United Arab Emirates hosts a pivotal round in the narrowing auto racing series' champion fight. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix consists of a 55-lap main event at the 5.554-kilometer track on Sunday that will have Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso continue there fierce, late season championship title fight.

In Saturday qualifying for the Sunday race, McLaren F1's Lewis Hamilton claimed supremacy by claiming the pole. Last year's winner of the Abu Dbahi Grand Prix, McLaren-Mercedes driver Hamilton clocked a 1-minute, 40.630-second lap time in the Q3 session to beat out the Red Bull-Renault of Mark Webber. The third straight time the Australian driver has secured a front row starting grid spot, Webber was 0.348 seconds off from the pole position. The second time in three Formula 1 events, Mark Webber outran teammate Sebastian Vettel in the time trials of a Formula 1 race weekend.

Despite missing a front row starting spot, Vettel gained a lot of post-qualifying headlines by stopping on the race track at the end of Q3. At the request of his Red Bull Racing crew, the German driver pulled his Renault-powered race car along a corner of the Yas Marina Circuit without immediately indicating knowledge to the reason why. It was eventually revealed that Vettel's Red Bull-Renault RB8 was short on short (most importantly the one liter sample required by the FIA). Since Sebastian Vettel's race car lacked the full one liter onboard his race car, the stewards declared the times set by the #1 Red Bull-Renault in qualifying to be withdrawn from the results. Because of this action, Vettel will be starting from the pit lane for Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix main event.

Photo source: Pirelli Photo Service

Sebastian Vettel's exclusion from the qualifying results promotes fourth place and back up one position. Williams F1 driver Pastor Maldonado will take over the grid position of the penalized Vettel. "We then found a great balance in Q3 and I’m happy that we are back to looking strong again. I think we showed throughout all the weekend that we are competitive and I did my best in qualifying. I’m really happy for the team, for myself and looking forward to the race tomorrow." said Maldonado. Joining the Williams-Renault race car in the second row of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix grid will be the Lotus-Renault of Kimi Raikkonen. Setting a top lap 54/100th than his pole-sitting teammate Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button will start in 5th place.

Perhaps the key benefactor to Sebastian Vettel's misfortunes on Saturday would be 2012 title contender Fernando Alonso. Falling from the points lead to 13 points behind the lead Red Bull Racing runner after the past two Formula 1 races, Alonso will start 6th in his Ferrari eager to regain the points lead heading into the final stretch of the 2012 season.

The 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will commence at 5 pm local time (8 am eastern time).

2012 Formula 1
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Starting Lineup

Pos # Car #/ Driver/ Constructor
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
3 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
4 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
5 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
6 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
7 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
8 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari
9 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
10 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
11 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari
12 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes
13 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
14 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
15 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
17 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
19 25 Charlie Pic Marussia-Cosworth
20 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT F1
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT F1
24 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault (Penalized for fuel sample issue)

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