F1 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Hamilton out to win

Lewis Hamilton competing in qualifying for the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]

Lewis Hamilton competing in qualifying for the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix [Picture: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes]

HOCH ZWEI

FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton is looking to convert his front row start into victory in Sunday’s 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ace from Hertfordshire qualified second overall around the spectacular Yas Marina Circuit this lunchtime, with F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel snatching pole position right at the death.

However, with Hamilton lining up second on the grid and team-mate Jenson Button third, McLaren officials feel the team’s two drivers have a great platform from which to challenge for victory tomorrow (Sunday).

Hamilton was quickest in both second and third practice, and then dominated qualifying until Vettel’s final flying lap for Red Bull in the closing seconds of Q3.

In fact, had the Herts-born F1 racer repeated his time from Q2 – 1m 38.434s – he would have taken first place on the grid in the United Arab Emirates.

“It would be nice to have had pole position, but that Red Bull, as always, is very quick in Q3,” said Hamilton afterwards.

“Still, we’ve got our car to a point where it works particularly well on certain tracks, and we always seem to go well here.

“To be as competitive as we’ve been this weekend is very encouraging – we’re on the front row so we can have a good race from there.

“And, for the first time in quite a while, my long-run pace was pretty good too, and I think we had more fuel on board than some of the other teams.

“I feel really good about tomorrow, in fact.”

Hamilton has set his sights on leading the race by the first corner of the 5.554km circuit built on reclaimed land on Yas Island.

“I hope I have a good start – I really want to get into Turn One first,” said the 2008 F1 world champion, who was second in Abu Dhabi last year.

“But, if I can’t, I’ll follow Sebastian [Vettel] as closely as I can.

"I hope I have a good start – I really want to get into Turn One first."

Lewis Hamilton on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

“I’ll try my hardest not to let him get more than a second ahead, and I’ll try to get ahead through the DRS zones.

“Last year I started second but braked early into Turn One and let Sebastian have the corner. I’ve just told him that’s not going to happen tomorrow, though.”

McLaren colleague Button is also looking to put pressure on Vettel from third place on the grid.

“Third isn’t a bad place from which to start – hopefully we’ll get one over on the Red Bulls tomorrow,” said Button.

Martin Whitmarsh felt McLaren’s qualifying positions could, and probably should, have been even better.

“It may sound a little churlish to say that we’re a bit disappointed with second and third today, but the honest truth is that we are,” said the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team principal.

“Granted, second and third is a pretty creditable result – it’s a platform from which we can win tomorrow in fact – but I don’t mind admitting that we were eyeing pole position today.

“Lewis and Jenson both did a good job though – and, looking forward, they’re both great racers and we think we’ll have a strong race package for tomorrow.

“Our long-run pace has been impressive all weekend, and we think we’ll be in good shape on both the Prime and the Option [tyre].”

Whitmarsh also feels there will be opportunities to pass around the Yas Marina Circuit.

He said: “People tend to opine that it’s difficult to overtake here in Abu Dhabi – and so it is.

“But there are two DRS zones, and of course there’s also the all-important drag down to the first corner.

“Beyond that, you’ve got to get the strategy right, and let’s just say that we intend to pile the pressure on tomorrow afternoon!”

The 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix starts at 1pm GMT on Sunday.

Related articles

0 comments

More news stories

Yesterday, 20:16
Editor Nick Gill, second from left, with journalists Layth Yousif, Louise McEvoy, Bianca Wild, Martin Elvery and JP Asher, and photographer Danny Loo, far right.

The Comet and Royston Crow’s new editor has vowed to ensure truth, integrity, and a community focus remain at the heart of what both newspapers stands for.

Yesterday, 10:34
Firefighters helped release two casualties from a car after a crash in Great Ashby last night.

One person was injured after a car came of the road and went through a garden fence in the Great Ashby area of Stevenage last night.

Saturday, January 21, 2017
Police and ambulance crews were called to Mendip Way in Stevenage this evening

Police are now hunting for two men and looking for witnesses after a 22-year-old victim was stabbed in the leg in the Great Ashby area of Stevenage last night.

Friday, January 20, 2017
Police and ambulance crews were called to Mendip Way in Stevenage this evening

A section of Mendip Way in the Great Ashby area of Stevenage was cordoned off this evening after a man was stabbed in the leg.

Most read stories

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the The Comet e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters: