Lewis Hamilton on pole for Abu Dhabi GP! 2018 Abu Dhabi Qualifying Report

Lewis Hamilton on pole for Abu Dhabi GP! 2018 Abu Dhabi Qualifying Report

Just when it looked like Ferrari had the upper hand, Lewis Hamilton came storming back setting an incredible lap time and claiming pole for the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver started off with a few issues however, as Qualifying went on – the track developed as did his lap times, setting a new track record. Ferrari also put the pressure on Mercedes, with Kimi Raikkonen looking stronger at the start of Qualifying however towards the end, Sebastian Vettel picked up his pace, closing the gap to the silver arrows.

This is the 83rd pole for the 5x World Champion and if this year was anything to go by, next year should be a great season as everyone will be upping their game….

Below, you can see what drivers (and team members) had to say about the Qualifying session.

MERCEDES – 2018 Abu Dhabi Qualifying

LEWIS HAMILTON

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Lewis Hamilton: “What a great way to end the season with a 1-2 qualifying session. I’m really proud of everyone at Merceds and I couldn’t have done this without the support and I’m really proud to be a part of the team.”

“If you look at the team’s performance on a race weekend this year, our mechanics, our engineers, our strategists – we’ve all raised our game and we continue to elevate ourselves as a team which is really inspiring to me.”

“This is what encourages me to go out there and not let them down – the qualifying session was great today and it was a lot of fun. It all went quite smoothly and the team did a really good job to get the car in the right window. It’s always difficult to improve on your last lap particularly when your first lap in Q3 is pretty good but I managed to increase the gap!”

“It’s still a long race tomorrow and there’s a lot of work to do but I’m really happy with today. I just want to finish the season on a solid high so that I can use that foundation to start strong next year.”

VALTTERI BOTTAS

Valtteri Bottas: “A great performance from the team – it’s impressive to see that even though we’ve secured the constructors’ title in Brazil, everyone is still performing on a really high level, everyone is still happy to be here and really motivated.”

“I was really hoping for pole today but I think Lewis did another exceptional qualifying and I didn’t quite find enough time in Q3, I found some time but he just managed to secure a more complete lap.”

“I’m happy that I managed to get a good lap in Q3 and secure a well-earned front row lockout for the team, our pace looked good and it’s extremely close with Ferrari and Red Bull so we’ll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. There are always opportunities in the race to get ahead so I will be waiting for my chance and hopefully come in first.”

TOTO WOLFF: “This weekend has been a special challenge, we are not here for the Championship points, the negative pressure is off and it’s all about the enjoyment of racing so to take the front row with lewis and Valtteri is really special.”

Both Lewis and Valtteri produced great laps and this is a good Saturday for us – starting on the UltraSoft tyre for the first stint tomorrow as well, we know that we will need to have a strong first lap and even after that – it’s a long, very demanding race.”

FERRARI – 2018 Abu Dhabi Qualifying

SEBASTIAN VETTEL

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Sebastian Vettel:I think that today we correctly worked out the direction to take in terms of tyre strategy and we were able to follow the trend.”

“Yesterday we had tried everything, but the Hypersoft tyres didn’t last for long, so we were quite confident they weren’t the tyres we wanted to start the race on.”

“Today I knew in my second run I had some lap time to gain and I wanted to start on the Ultrasofts, so that’s why I was happy to take the risk and do my second run in Q2 on the same compound.”

“In general, I’ve been happy with our session. For tomorrow I would have liked to start from the front row, but our main rivals probably had saved some performance cushion for the last run in Q3. As I told the guys in the garage, in the race we will fight as much as we can; then anything might happen.”

“Today we had good speed on the straights, but I guess we were lacking a little bit of downforce in the last sector, so let’s see what we can do. For sure, it is going to be a long race…”

KIMI RAIKKONEN

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Kimi Raikkonen:It was a solid qualifying session and I think there was nothing wrong with the car today, nothing to complain about.”

“In fact, it worked pretty well, we were only lacking a bit of speed especially in Sector 3; that’s where we were losing the most and it has been like that for all the week end.”

“Our competitors were probably playing around a bit in the first part of the session, then in the end the margin was bigger. As for tomorrow, I can only say that we are going to do our best.”

“We will start the race on the Ultrasoft tyres, which is the choice all the top teams have made. We hadn’t tested that kind of compound before today, and in terms of race pace, we have some figures from Friday’s long runs, but practice is another story from the race itself and usually, on Sunday, the gaps close up a little bit.”

RED BULL RACING – 2018 Abu Dhabi Qualifying

DANIEL RICCIARDO

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Daniel Ricciardo:Today was fast and fun, it was actually an enjoyable qualifying session. I thought I had Kimi for fourth but he just got me by half a tenth. I would be happier with fourth than fifth but we got through Q2 on the ultrasoft which was our target.”

“There is a big step, maybe one second between the ultra and the hyper so we needed to do more or less the perfect lap on the ultra to make it through Q2”

“It was very close and I was in P10 but the team made the call to abort the lap and we just made it through. My first run in Q3 was good and we looked very close but both Mercedes and Ferrari improved.”

“Fifth and sixth as a Team doesn’t look that special on paper but the gap is small and we are competitive.”

“We have solid race pace and hopefully our degradation will be better than Ferrari and Mercedes and we can apply the pressure.”

“I’ll be staring down the two Ferraris on the grid, they’re in my way of a podium at the moment so I’ll try and get in front of them as quickly as possible.”

“All weekend our car has been strong, especially in the last sector, so the podium fight is on.”

MAX VERSTAPPEN

Max Verstappen:I’m not overly happy with how qualifying went today. After the first run in Q3 I knew we needed to get the tyre temperatures down in order to improve the grip.”

“We tried this for my final run but unfortunately they were still too high, this meant I aborted my flying lap as I was just sliding everywhere, especially in the final sector.”

“The car balance wasn’t quite as good as it has been in previous qualifying sessions, I wasn’t able to get what I wanted out of the lap. Starting on hypersofts wasn’t the original plan but it could be interesting, being on a different compound to some of the others could prove helpful.”

“Overtaking is a bit tricky around here, definitely not as straight forward as Brazil. It will take strategy and a bit of luck to be on top tomorrow.”

“Our race pace once again looks good, so I’ll do my best to get on the podium.”

MCLAREN – 2018 Abu Dhabi Qualifying

FERNANDO ALONSO

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Fernando Alonso:We weren’t optimistic at all about our chances of making it into Q2, as we haven’t been too competitive in any of the sessions so far this weekend, so it was a nice surprise. I was pushing quite hard on that qualifying lap – it felt good.”

“We start five positions away from the points tomorrow and hopefully we can benefit from some action in front of us. On pure pace we’re maybe not in the top 10, but who knows tomorrow.”

“Outside the car there’s a lot of things happening this weekend: a lot of emotions and a lot of nice touches here and there.”

“Tomorrow when I put the helmet on and jump in the car I’ll treat it like the last one, and I’ll try to enjoy it and do my best…”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

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Stoffel Vandoorne:Today was a bit better than yesterday. It was my final qualifying of the year and it was all about having fun and enjoying it as much as I could. I know we’ve not been in shape all season really, so we did the best we could.”

“Tomorrow, we’re going to try and make the most of it, have a good start and a good opening lap, and then see what happens. “

“It’s never easy to go from FP3 into qualifying where the track temperature is so different. I think it’s actually a nice feeling to go that way as you gain a lot of performance, but it’s the same for everyone.”

I had a lot of fun out there today and tomorrow I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can too. I’ve had a good couple of races lately and I hope that continues and I can finish the season on a high – that’s what matters.”

“These cars are still nice to drive, even though sometimes when you look at the classification it’s not always what you want to see. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to seeing the chequered flag tomorrow and starting a new chapter.”

“I have mixed emotions about tomorrow. It’s sad to leave so many people I’ve been working very closely with, but I’m also quite excited for the future…”

The Formula 1 Girl 🙂

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