2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Saturday
POSSIBLE RACE STRATEGIES
Although the Yas Marina circuit now has a faster and more flowing layout that puts more lateral energy through the tyres than before, a one-stopper is still the fastest way to approach the 58-lap race (the total distance has been increased by three laps compared to previous seasons, on account of the shorter lap).
Both medium to hard, as well as soft to hard, are about as quick as each other over the full race distance. Starting on the soft helps to enable a quick getaway – which could be an advantage on a circuit where track position is still important – but starting on the medium gives a bit more flexibility around the pit stop window.
A two-stopper is slower but might play a role if there is a safety car. In this case using all three compounds could be an option or (for the drivers with two medium sets available) an opening and closing stint on medium with a middle stint on hard.
- Red Bull driver Max Verstappen took pole position on the P Zero Red soft C5, setting the track record for the remodelled Abu Dhabi circuit on his first Q3 run. Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez will start the race on the same compound, as both used the soft to set their fastest times in Q2. Meanwhile, Verstappen’s title rival Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas will start on the medium C4.
- The two teams fighting for the world title have consequently opted for two different race strategies, with Red Bull aiming to take advantage of the speed of the soft at the start. If Verstappen manages to keep the lead, he will be advantaged by running in free air and not having to follow anyone: meaning that he can maintain a consistent load through the tyres and reduce overheating.
- In total, three drivers in the top 10 of the grid will be starting the race on the medium: both Mercedes plus the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda.
- Qualifying got underway with 27 degrees centigrade ambient and 29 degrees on track. Temperatures fell slightly over the course of the hour-long session as sunset turned into evening.
- All the drivers ran the soft tyres in Q1 and Q3 apart from Ferrari, which also used the medium for the first runs in Q1.
FORMULA 2: RACE 1
The opening 23-lap sprint race was won by Carlin driver Jehan Daruvala from reverse grid pole, with the entire field using the Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium tyre for a race that was held in the hot conditions of the afternoon with no compulsory pit stops. By virtue of qualifying first yesterday, Prema’s Oscar Piastri started from P10 but worked his way up the field, managing his tyres perfectly, to eventually finish third ahead of his team mate Robert Shwartzman and claim this year’s Formula 2 title: one year after clinching the Formula 3 title in 2020. The medium was a flexible tyre that performed well in these challenging conditions, requiring a moderate degree of management to avoid abrasions.
MARIO ISOLA – HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING
“This was an interesting qualifying session where tyre choice played a key role. We’ve seen a mixture of tactics, with the two title protagonists starting on different compounds and set to follow different strategies at the championship decider tomorrow. On paper, a one-stopper using the hard for the second stint is the fastest way. In theory, the soft should give a slight advantage off the line but the medium-hard combination should be a slightly faster option overall. If Max Verstappen manages to keep the lead off the grid, he can run in free air and reduce overheating by maintaining a consistent load through the tyres. We’re expecting a tactically intriguing race, where tyre management will definitely be a factor. Last but not least, I’d like to congratulate Prema and Oscar Piastri for winning the F2 title in such spectacular fashion earlier today, and Max Verstappen for being the poleman of the year, with 10 Pirelli Pole Position awards.”
|FREE PRACTICE 3 – TOP 3 TIMES|
|Hamilton||1m23.274s||SOFT C5 USED|
|Verstappen||1m23.488s||SOFT C5 NEW|
|Bottas||1m24.025s||SOFT C5 USED|
|QUALIFYING TOP 10|
|Verstappen||1m22.109s||SOFT C5 NEW|
|Hamilton||1m22.480s||SOFT C5 NEW|
|Norris||1m22.931s||SOFT C5 NEW|
|Pérez||1m22.947s||SOFT C5 NEW|
|Sainz||1m22.992s||SOFT C5 NEW|
|Bottas||1m23.036s||SOFT C5 NEW|
|Leclerc||1m23.122s||SOFT C5 NEW|
|Tsunoda||1m23.220s||SOFT C5 NEW|
|Ocon||1m23.389s||SOFT C5 NEW|
|Ricciardo||1m23.409s||SOFT C5 NEW|
|BEST TIME BY COMPOUND SO FAR|
|MIN. STARTING PRESSURES (slicks)||EOS CAMBER LIMIT|
|23.0 psi (front) | 21.0 psi (rear)||-3.50° (front) | -2.00° (rear)|