Hamilton takes Abu Dhabi pole position

Lewis Hamilton achieved his sixth pole position of the season with a dominant qualifying display at the Yas Marina circuit.

The McLaren driver was fastest in all three qualifying sessions to score his 25th career pole and in doing so, halted Red Bull Racing’s run of qualifying dominance.

It was a disappointing session for both Formula One’s title contenders, with Sebastian Vettel only third behind his team-mate Mark Webber, but at least it was better than his Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso, who could only manage seventh fastest.

Hamilton had been quickest in two of the three practice sessions at Abu Dhabi, led Q1 and Q2, then produced a time of one minute, 40.630 seconds early in Q3 to immediately put himself four tenths of a second clear of his opposition.

A second pole shot might have been faster still, but once it became clear that Hamilton’s rivals had no answer to his pace, the McLaren driver backed off and pitted.

Webber’s lap of one minute, 40.978 seconds pushed Vettel off the front row. The championship leader – hampered by a substantial loss of practice mileage with a brake issue – had pushed hard throughout qualifying. Including brushing a barrier in Q1, flying over the kerbs in Q2, and then stopping on track after his unsuccessful final flying lap in Q3.

Vettel was forced to stop his Red Bull due to low fuel and after nearly five hours since qualifying was decided, the race stewards have penalised the world championship leader due to a low fuel sample. He will start Sunday’s race at the back of the grid.

Pastor Maldonado delivered a strong qualifying result for Williams by grabbing fourth position on the grid.

Kimi Raikkonen improved to fifth for Lotus on his second Q3 run, with Jenson Button making similar gains to take sixth. Button had been as low as ninth at one point in qualifying, but a five-place and six tenths of a second margin to his McLaren team-mate will not please the 2009 world champion.

Alonso held fourth after the early Q3 runs, only to be shoved down to a potentially costly seventh as others improved. His Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa will start ninth, ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus.

Nico Rosberg did just a single qualifying run in Q3 and initially held fifth, before falling to eighth when his rivals came out again. Rosberg’s performance was a boost for Mercedes on what had looked like being another disappointing weekend. His team-mate Michael Schumacher was only P14, amid mutual apologies from team to driver over the radio.

Force India and Sauber could not reach the top ten this time around with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez filling row six. Paul di Resta qualified in P13 in his new chassis while Kamui Kobayashi was six tenths down on Perez in P16 after locking up on his last lap.

Bruno Senna’s run of tepid qualifying performances continued with P14, four tenths slower than his Williams team-mate Maldonado in Q2.

Having appeared to conquer his qualifying problems during the 2012 season, Jean-Eric Vergne notched up his second straight Q1 exit – his eighth of the year – in Abu Dhabi.

The recently re-signed Toro Rosso driver was on course to make the cut before spinning. Vergne pushed on for another lap, but his abused tyres had no more pace to offer. His team-mate Daniel Ricciardo brought up the rear of the Q2 field in P17.

Marussia pushed Caterham hard in the battle at the back of the field. Although Heikki Kovalainen emerged in front again, he was only a tenth ahead of Charles Pic.

Vitaly Petrov was right in the fight in the other Caterham, but Timo Glock was puzzled by a relative lack of speed from his Marussia as he beat only the back-row HRTs.

Qualifying positions for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:

1.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m40.630s
2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m40.978s
3.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault     1m41.226s
4.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault        1m41.260s
5.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m41.290s
6.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m41.582s
7.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m41.603s
8.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m41.723s
9.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault        1m41.778s
10.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes 1m42.019s
11.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m42.084s
12.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m42.218s
13.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m42.289s
14.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault     1m42.330s
15.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m42.606s
16.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m42.765s
17.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m44.058s
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault     1m44.956s
19.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth    1m45.089s
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault     1m45.151s
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth    1m45.426s
22.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth         1m45.766s
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m46.382s
24.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m41.073s*

107 per cent time: 1m48.601s

*Grid penalty for low fuel sample

15 thoughts to “Hamilton takes Abu Dhabi pole position”

  1. After scoring his sixth pole position of the season, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton admitted he was much faster than expected. Autosport.com has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton admitted he had not expected his McLaren to have Red Bull-beating pace in Abu Dhabi after storming to pole position at Yas Marina.

    Red Bull’s run of three straight poles came to an end on Saturday when Hamilton followed up a strong practice performance to top all three qualifying segments at Abu Dhabi and take the top spot by nearly four tenths of a second.

    As McLaren took its first pole since Singapore in September, Red Bull had to settle for second and third with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

    “I’m very excited. Very excited,” said Hamilton. “It’s the first time for a long time to be ahead of the Red Bulls. Normally I see the tail of them at the start of the race.

    “I know the race will be tough because they have great race pace. I hope we are strong enough to fight.

    “The car has been beautiful all weekend.”

    Hamilton could only suggest that the McLaren might be naturally well-suited to Yas Marina, as he did not think it had taken any technical steps forward this weekend.

    “I don’t know why the car has worked so well this weekend, we haven’t improved it much,” he said. “Maybe it just suits us here.”

    He added: “We always modify small little things but it does very little. The car has felt great from the get go this weekend.”

    Hamilton was also surprised that his pole margin was as great as 0.348 seconds.

    “Red Bull were slower than we expected but I was faster than we expected,” he said.

    “I knew they would be very, very quick but never imagined I would be this far ahead of them. I thought we either a match or slightly slower than them.”

  2. Red Bull’s Mark Webber is quite determined to push for race victory at the Yas Marina circuit after qualifying in second position. Autosport.com has the story.

    Mark Webber has declared that he will push to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for himself and is not thinking about stepping aside for title-chasing Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

    Webber outqualified Vettel to take third on the Yas Marina grid.

    The Australian’s title hopes are extremely remote now that he trails leader Vettel by 73 points with only 75 still available, whereas Vettel is 13 points ahead of rival Fernando Alonso at the head of the standings.

    But asked if he expected team orders in Sunday’s race with Vettel starting one place behind, Webber replied: “I will drive flat out.”

    Webber qualified on the front row despite losing a lot of track time to KERS issues on Friday – having also been held back by glitches with the energy-recovery device in last weekend’s Indian GP.

    Vettel was in the wars on Saturday, suffering brake problems in final practice then having to park at the end of qualifying due to a currently unspecified technical issue.

    “We realise we have to work on our reliability,” Webber acknowledged. “We have had a few issues of late. It is something the group is on and there is nothing Seb and I can do about it.

    “It is not our job, it is their job.”

    Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren beat the Red Bulls to pole at Yas Marina by a comfortable 0.348-second margin, but Webber believes the McLaren is still beatable.

    “Lewis’s starts lately haven’t been phenomenal so let’s see if he has a good one tomorrow,” he said. “We will see how they get off the line but I am looking to go forward for sure.

    “Credit to Lewis and McLaren, they have a quick car this. They had momentum six to eight weeks ago and we knocked them off.

    “We have a bit of friendly fire [with reliability problems] that we need to tidy up, but team is exceptional and we know what we need to improve.

    “[McLaren] look strong this weekend but we are positive.”

  3. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was left feeling surprised following qualifying and has said the issue with the Red Bull won’t be sure a big problem. Autosport.com has the news story.

    Sebastian Vettel was left perplexed by Red Bull’s instruction to stop his car following the end of qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but doubts it will prove significant.

    The German driver, the winner of the previous four races, had to settle for third position on the Yas Marina grid, having been unable to match the pace of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and his own team-mate Mark Webber.

    After the session ended, Vettel was asked to stop his car on the track, although the world champion is confident it was not a serious problem.

    “I don’t know why I had to stop. I was asked to stop, I guess there was some problem,” said Vettel. “It should not be something major.”

    Vettel said he had not been entirely happy with his qualifying after having missed most of the final practice session because of a brake issue.

    “This morning it was not ideal not getting to run. We didn’t get answers we were hoping for. I’m not entirely happy with my qualifying,” he said.

    “The last part was tricky for me. I guess I should have been a bit quicker but overall we can be quite happy. The race pace should be good tomorrow. It is a long race here, lots can happen so I am looking forward to tomorrow.”

    Vettel said the brake issues were fully rectified for the grid-deciding session.

    “We fixed the problem and had fantastic brakes in qualifying,” he said.

  4. Pastor Maldonado has warned the Formula 1 world championship contenders that he will be on the attack in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after qualifying right among the title rivals in fourth place.

    As Williams lived up to Maldonado’s promise of a return to form at Yas Marina, the Venezuelan delivered his strongest qualifying performance since Singapore to grab fourth on the grid.

    World championship leader Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull is one place ahead of Maldonado in third, with Vettel’s pursuer Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari three places back in seventh.

    Asked how he would approach starting the race in the thick of a tense title battle, Maldonado replied: “We need to look at ourselves. Points would be very important for us so I will push at the maximum and then we’ll see.

    “I think we have very strong pace and are very competitive.”

    He added that he was thrilled to see Williams back on the pace after its disappointing recent run.

    “I think we showed all through the weekend that we were competitive and very consistent in different conditions,” Maldonado said.

    “I did my best in qualifying. The car was right there [on the pace] so I’m very happy for the team and very happy for myself as well.

    “We’re back to being strong again.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  5. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has admitted he pushed to the absolute maximum in the F2012 to qualify in seventh position. Autosport.com has the details.

    Fernando Alonso believes he extracted every bit of speed possible from his Ferrari as he struggled to seventh on the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    As a tough weekend for the world championship contender and his team continued, Alonso saw his initial provisional fourth place in the Yas Marina starting line-up become seventh as others improved. His Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa is only ninth.

    Alonso’s title rival Sebastian Vettel, who currently holds a 13-point lead with three rounds remaining in the 2012 Formula 1 title race, starts third.

    “I think we were not competitive today, but myself, personally, I’m happy with the performance in qualifying,” said Alonso.

    “We extracted the maximum from the car.

    “I did a 1m41.5s in Q2, a 1m41.5s on my first lap in Q3 and a 1m41.5s on my second lap in Q3. I think I could do the lap 100 times and do a 1m41.5s each time because that was the maximum today.

    “Unfortunately there were six people faster than us.”

    Having progressed from fifth on the grid to second in last weekend’s Indian GP, Alonso is optimistic he will gain ground in the Abu Dhabi race as well.

    “Normally the pace improves on Sunday so I hope that will be the case,” he said.

  6. McLaren’s Jenson Button was left feeling mystified by a lack of speed compared to his team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The 2009 world champion qualified in a disappointing sixth position. Autosport.com has the full story.

    Jenson Button was left utterly baffled by his McLaren’s lack of speed in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying.

    While his team-mate Lewis Hamilton blasted to a dominant pole position, Button was 0.660 seconds slower in sixth place.

    He had only been 10th and ninth in Q1 and Q2 respectively.

    “All weekend I’ve been happy and the pace has been good,” Button said.

    “But in qualifying it wasn’t there and I don’t know why. If I knew, I would’ve sorted it out, so I don’t know.

    “Obviously the car is very quick – Lewis is on pole by quite a bit. I’m five or six tenths off. It’s a lot of laptime.”

    Asked what exactly he was struggling with, Button replied: “Lots. Understeer on turn-in. Traction very poor. Locking up fronts and rears. So there’s lots that wasn’t working.”

    Although he had been confident about his long-run pace in practice, Button was not sure whether that would be sufficient to make up ground.

    “On Friday the car was working well on high fuel and we had the quickest long run, so hopefully we can put that to good use,” he said.

    “But it’s going to be difficult.”

  7. Sergio Perez has been reprimanded for impeding by the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race stewards, but will not receive a penalty.

    The Sauber driver was investigated for blocking Bruno Senna’s Williams through Yas Marina’s Turn 5/6 chicane in Q1.

    The officials, who this weekend include Derek Warwick as driver representative, deemed that Perez’s actions were worthy of a reprimand, but his 12th place on the grid is not affected.

    Senna went on to qualify 15th.

    Perez had previously received a grid penalty for blocking in German GP qualifying, but did not have any reprimands hanging over him before his Abu Dhabi incident.

    Source: Autosport.com

  8. After qualifying in fifth position, Kimi Raikkonen believes he has the chance to race against the Red Bulls in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Autosport.com has the details.

    Kimi Raikkonen is certain the he has the pace to challenge the Red Bulls in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    The Lotus driver qualified fifth and is confident that with a good start, he could get ahead of the Williams of Pastor Maldonado and attack Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

    He pointed to the impressive race pace of the Lotus in the Indian Grand Prix as proof that he can fight for “any position” but admits that getting stuck behind a slower car will cost him.

    “If we get behind the Red Bulls after the start, we have a good chance to stay with them and hopefully do something about them,” said Raikkonen when asked by AUTOSPORT about his hopes of taking the fight to the championship-leading outfit.

    “But if we are stuck behind a slower car, the only chance is either they make a mistake and we pass them, or we pass them in the pit-stops. Then, it’s too late to do anything about the guys in front.

    “It’s a similar story to the last race. If we had qualified where we should have, it would have turned out to be a completely different race.

    “Hopefully we will get behind the Red Bulls, follow them and do something about them.”

    Raikkonen admitted that the Lotus’s lack of straightline speed will make it difficult to overtake.

    But he is hopeful that there will be opportunities to jump cars in the pit-stops.

    “If you are stuck behind another car with our straightline speed [it is difficult] and here you don’t see much overtaking,” said Raikkonen.

    “We had the speed last time [India] in terms of laptime, but not in a straightline. It hasn’t changed at all.

    “If we can put ourselves behind the cars that have similar speed, we can follow and try to do something at the pitstop.”

  9. Red Bull Racing has been asked by the race stewards at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to explain why Sebastian Vettel’s car did not return to the pits after his qualifying lap.

    The German bounced back from a troubled final practice session to secure third place on the grid – behind Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber.

    However, towards the end of his in-lap, Vettel was ordered over the radio to stop his car immediately and he pulled over at Turn 19.

    Formula 1 regulations state that drivers must return to the pits after qualifying under their own power so that a one-litre fuel sample can be taken from the car for analysis.

    Article 6.6.2 of the technical regulations states: “Competitors must ensure that a one litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the event.

    “Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.”

    Both Red Bull and engine supplier Renault were silent on Saturday about the exact reasons for Vettel stopping, but the stewards demanded that representatives from both companies explain what happened.

    At the Spanish GP earlier this year, Lewis Hamilton was stripped of his pole position and thrown to the back of the grid after he was told to stop on the in-lap to ensure that he had enough fuel on board for the sample.

    Source: Autosport.com

  10. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was pleased to see Lewis Hamilton in front of his championship rival Sebastian Vettel following qualifying at the Yas Marina circuit. Autosport.com has the story.

    Fernando Alonso says having Lewis Hamilton on pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is good news for him given Ferrari’s form.

    The Spaniard has struggled to match the pace of the leading cars all weekend and qualified down in seventh position on Saturday while Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa was ninth.

    To Alonso’s relief, however, championship rival Sebastian Vettel failed to make it onto the front row and is set to start from third position pending the outcome of an investigation for having stopped on track after qualifying.

    “From a championship perspective, it’s better that the McLarens are quick here because it doesn’t look like we are in the fight,” said Alonso, who trails Vettel by 13 points with three races left.

    Despite his poor qualifying showing, Alonso remains open-minded about his chances for the race, having finished in second position in India last weekend after starting from fifth.

    “In India it also didn’t look like we were quick and then on Sunday we ended with a sweet taste in our mouths,” he said.

    The Ferrari driver insisted he is fighting against for the championship against the best car of the field.

    “Red Bull even on a bad Saturday are second and third. We see once again, as I said in India, that we fighting against a car – a very fast car – and not against a driver,” he said.

    “In fact, his team-mate is now in front of him here again, so when they are good they are both there and when things go wrong they are a bit further behind and we have to seize every opportunity we get.”

    The Spaniard said his position in qualifying had not been a surprise at all given how he had fared during practice.

    “I think things are they way they always are. I don’t know what expectations people had at home and I don’t know what expectations people outside the team had,” said Alonso.

    “We were seventh or eighth in most sessions and in qualifying we are seventh and ninth, so we are where we expected. The car worked well, the updates worked well, but the others are improving too, so it’s nothing new.

    “I would like to be closer to the front, yes, but it is what it is. Fortunately the races are on Sunday and tomorrow the target is to score more points than Vettel.

    “Everything can change, starting from seventh or starting from third. Sometimes you start from pole and something happens, so to decide whether it was a good or a bad weekend, we’ll be here at the same time tomorrow.

    “But we’ll probably need to improve in the next races.”

  11. Michael Schumacher has admitted his mistake while using the KERS during the qualifying session at the Yas Marina circuit. Autosport.com has the details.

    A mistake in his use of Mercedes’ KERS caused Michael Schumacher’s disappointing qualifying result in Abu Dhabi.

    Schumacher only managed 14th place on the Abu Dhabi grid, and television viewers heard him and his engineer apologetically discussing a “harvesting” issue.

    Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn explained that this was not a technical problem, but an error by Schumacher.

    “I think he got the engine braking wrong, what we call KERS harvesting – the way you collect the KERS and the way you use the KERS,” Brawn said.

    “It does affect the balance of the car, and he got a little bit out of sequence with it, and then he got caught out and lost some time in the first complex.”

    Schumacher added: “We were trying something different in the procedure and it just didn’t work out.”

    Mercedes had looked unlikely to shine at Yas Marina until Schumacher’s team-mate Nico Rosberg made it into Q3 with his last Q2 lap.

    Rosberg then qualified eighth, but Brawn said that result was down to the driver and his crew maximising the W03’s existing potential rather than any breakthrough in car performance during qualifying.

    “I think we managed to get our act together and squeeze the most out of the car,” Brawn said.

    “It was a very good lap from Nico. There was no specific change to the car. There was not something we could point to that was particularly significant, but everything came together well.”

    Rosberg said his engineers and mechanics should share the credit for the encouraging result.

    “My engineers and I did a good job, and also the mechanics who managed to fix my car just in time for qualifying because there was a bit of an issue,” he said.

    “All of us did a good job, optimised the car and got the most out of it in qualifying.”

  12. Sebastian Vettel will have to start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the back of the grid after failing to have enough fuel in his car to provide the mandatory sample to the FIA after qualifying.

    The German had stopped at the end of his in-lap after qualifying third, having been ordered over the radio to bring his car to a halt immediately.

    F1’s regulations state that drivers must return to the pits under their own power so a one-litre fuel sample can be taken from the car for analysis.

    Article 6.6.2 of the Technical Regulations states: “Competitors must ensure that a one litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the Event.

    “Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.”

    Red Bull representatives were summoned to provide an explanation for why Vettel did not return to the pits, and the stewards duly accepted the reasons provided by the team.

    However, following a further check of the car by the FIA in parc ferme, it was found that Vettel’s car did not have enough fuel to provide the one-litre sample.

    A statement issued by the FIA said: “The stewards heard from the driver and team representatives and studied telemetry evidence that showed the reason why the car was stopped.

    “The Stewards accepted the explanation and considered the incident as being a case of force majeure.

    “However a report was received from the Technical Delegate that showed during post-qualifying scrutineering an insufficient quantity of fuel for sampling purposes.”

    The breach of regulations left the stewards with no choice but to exclude Vettel from qualifying.

    However, the stewards have allowed Vettel to start the race from the back of the grid.

    Vettel’s penalty comes at a key point in the world championship battle, with the German holding a 13-point advantage over Fernando Alonso.

    His relegation to the back provides Alonso’s with a great chance to close down the gap. The Spaniard will now start sixth.

    At the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year, Abu Dhabi pole position man Lewis Hamilton was stripped of his pole position and thrown to the back of the grid after he was told to stop on the in-lap to ensure that he had enough fuel on board for the sample.

    Source: Autosport.com

  13. Red Bull Racing have elected to start the championship leader Sebastian Vettel following his low fuel penalty. Autosport.com has the story.

    Sebastian Vettel will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the pitlane following his penalty for a fuel infringement.

    The Red Bull driver qualified in third position but was sent to the back of the grid as his car did not have sufficient fuel on board for the mandatory one-litre sample that is taken out for analysis.

    Vettel was ordered to stop on track right after qualifying due to what Red Bull said was a fuel system issue.

    Red Bull’s decision to start from the pitlane means it will be able to make some changes to Vettel’s car’s set-up ahead of the race.

    “One of the best ski jumpers of all times once said ‘Every chance is an opportunity and as far as we are concerned there are still plenty of chances tomorrow’,” said Vettel after finding out about the penalty.

    Championship rival Fernando Alonso, 13 points behind in the standings, will start from sixth.

  14. Following the grid penalty, Red Bull Racing were left feeling confused over the decision to penalise Sebastian Vettel. Autosport.com has the details.

    Red Bull says it is baffled as to the nature of the fuel cell problem on Sebastian Vettel’s car that resulted in him getting thrown out of qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    Vettel will start from the pitlane at the Yas Marina circuit on Sunday after he was disqualified from his third place slot on the grid for not having enough fuel in his car for a mandatory one-litre fuel sample to be taken.

    With the team and Renault both convinced there was enough fuel in the car to provide the sample – but the limits of the regulations preventing it being extracted – the FIA had no choice but to exclude Vettel from the results.

    Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said on Saturday night that his outfit and Renault had no immediate answers for what had gone wrong, which is why Vettel’s car was being pulled from parc ferme so a full investigation could be undertaken.

    “It is frustrating. It’s annoying. It is one of those things,” explained Horner, whose team had successfully proven that there was a ‘force majeure’ reason for stopping Vettel after his qualifying effort.

    “It is an issue that was reported on the in-lap. The instruction from Renault was clear. They wanted us to stop the engine immediately due to an issue that they saw within the fuel cell. We did that.

    “The FIA accepted that, they accepted the technical issue that Renault reported to us, and unfortunately as the regulations dictate there has to be a one litre fuel sample to be able to taken from the car, and it is only 850ml that has been extracted.

    “Renault are convinced that the rest of the fuel is in the tank but we have taken the car out of parc ferme tonight to further investigate.”

    He added: “It is a frustrating scenario and we need to get into the fuel cell to understand what the issue is. We are working with Renault on it, and they dictate the amount of fuel that goes into the car.

    “They are happy with the margins, they are happy with the amount of fuel that should be in the car but for whatever reason we have had this issue on the slow down lap.”

    Vettel’s car being taken out of parc ferme means he will now start from the pitlane, which is a blow to his hopes of further extending his points advantage over Fernando Alonso in the championship table.

    Horner said, however, that there were still opportunities for Vettel to limit the damage of what has happened.

    When asked what impact he believed the result would have on the title battle he said: “It is difficult to say.

    “There is a long race ahead of us and there is an opportunity, so we will go into the race, we will attack the race and I am sure Sebastian will demonstrate to everybody why he is a great racer.

    “He has come from the back and produced great races before and I have no doubt he can do it again. There is no reason why Sebastian cannot salvage something.”

  15. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is convinced that the necessary fuel for the mandatory one-litre sample was in Sebastian Vettel’s car but that regulations preventing the removal of bodywork meant that it could not be extracted.

    The FIA stewards’ decision stated that scrutineers found “an insufficient quantity of fuel for sampling purposes”, which led to Vettel being excluded from qualifying.

    But Horner, who accepted that the penalty was fair, insists that the fuel was there, but that a full litre could not be extracted without removing bodywork, in contravention of Article 6.6.4 of the Formula 1 technical regulations.

    “The rules dictate that one litre has to be able to be provided without the removal of bodywork, without manipulating the car,” said Horner.

    “We believe that the fuel is in the cell, according to what Renault have told us, but you cannot dismantle the cell to give the sample.

    “The car will be worked on tonight, so it is out of parc ferme, and we should have a better understanding and hopefully a cure for tomorrow.”

    The need for fuel sampling is covered by Article 6.6 of the F1 technical regulations, which reads:

    6.6 Fuel draining and sampling

    6.6.1 Competitors must provide a means of removing all fuel from the car.

    6.6.2 Competitors must ensure that a one litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the Event.

    Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.

    6.6.3 All cars must be fitted with a -2 ‘Symetrics’ male fitting in order to facilitate fuel sampling. If an electric pump on board the car cannot be used to remove the fuel an externally connected one may be used provided it is evident that a representative fuel sample is being taken. If an external pump is used it must be possible to connect the FIA sampling hose to it and any hose between the car and pump must be -3 in diameter and not exceed 2m in length. Details of the fuel sampling hose may be found in the Appendix to these regulations.

    6.6.4 The sampling procedure must not necessitate starting the engine or the removal of bodywork (other than the cover over any refuelling connector).

    Source: Autosport.com

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