MBZAMG’s Lewis Hamilton Edged Nico Rosberg in Abu Dhabi Practice
MBZAMG’s Lewis Hamilton edged Nico Rosberg in Abu Dhabi practice, Ferrari and Red Bull Trailed the Leaders
Mr. Hamilton said he can go even quicker after the MercedesAMG driver topped both of Friday’s practice sessions.
He came 0.04sec ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg in 1st practice but the gap was less than a 0.01sec in the day’s 2nd session.
Mr. Hamilton needs to overcome a 12-point deficit to Mr. Rosberg in the standings to become a 4X world champion and knows the best chance he has of doing that is by starting from Pole and winning the race.
Mr. Rosberg only needs a podium finish to guarantee the title no matter where Mr. Hamilton finishes. Therefore, Hamilton needs other teams to finish ahead of his teammate.
“Red Bull are close, and Ferrari were quick on one lap so it is difficult to say who will be the closest rival,” said Mr. Rosberg.
And Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is confident of qualifying 3rd and then taking the fight to MercedesAMG in the race.
“If we put it all together tomorrow, we are more or less there,” the Australian said in an interview Friday.
“Mercedes, as expected, are ahead but I don’t think they’re miles ahead. So maybe we can still race them on Sunday.”
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was 3rd quickest but had gearbox problems. The Ferrari driver’s problem was more dramatic than Mr. Hamilton’s as he came into a halt on track in the final 10 mins. Under acceleration on the exit of Turn 14, the Ferrari lost drive and coasted to a stop.
Prior to that Mr. Vettel had been 0.02sec off the MercedesAMG pair, but 0.03sec clear of 4th placed Max Verstappen, who was a thousandth of a second ahead of Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
Asked about Mr. Rosberg’s approach, Mr. Ricciardo replied: “Maybe he’s holding back a bit not showing Lewis too much, it’s going to be interesting. I think everybody predicts Lewis to take pole, so we’ll see how it plays out.”
Kimi Raikkonen’s time in 5th was somewhat unrepresentative after he ran wide on his 1st flying lap, setting his best time on his 2nd flyer.
Where to watch the racing from…
Whether you prefer to picnic with the kids, soak up the atmosphere in a Jacuzzi on a yacht, or sit so close to the track that you can smell the fumes, below are the best options to watch the region’s biggest racing event, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
From a yacht
The waters of Yas Marina will be teeming with yachts. As well as the mega-yachts belonging to the super-rich, there are others that can be rented out for the weekend, mainly for corporate-hospitality events. Leasing business Eden Yachting still has several available, including a 35-metre (tri deck) and a 26m yacht, both of which boast views of the track. Prices range from Dh220,000 to Dh2 million (including berthing). “These can host lavish parties in the most luxurious surroundings,” says managing partner Jane Daly. “Tri-deck yachts are always popular because they have an excellent view of the track. There are also some smaller yachts with large flybridges, which are great for entertaining.”
F1 party specialists Amber Lounge is selling tickets for its 30-metre yacht, where you can watch the race and mingle with celebrity VIPs, as well as F1 drivers past and present. A 2-day package, with access to the F1 concerts, lunch and an open champagne and spirits bar, costs US$4,950 (Dh18,184).
With a Meal
Italian restaurant Cipriani and Mediterranean Diabolito both offer a look at the racing action across the water from their outdoor à la carte dining seats. Diabolito’s 2-storey rooftop has the best views.
This is where the Movers & Shakers of the business world rub shoulders with the rich, the famous, and the F1 racing elite. All 21 grand prix around the world boast a Paddock Club, but with 7,500 seats spread across 3 floors, Abu Dhabi’s is “well in excess of anyone else”, according to Nick McElwee, Yas Marina Circuit’s sales and marketing director. There are bars and food stations with a relaxed ambiance on the rooftop, whereas downstairs features corporate and syndicated suites with dinner tables set for 8 to 10. The 3-day Paddock-Club access will set you back Dh20,000.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the only Grand Prix in the world where you can brunch while watching the race live. Although the Extreme Brunch on the Trackside Terrace and the Grand Prix brunch at the Marina Grandstand are sold out, seats can still be reserved for the trackside brunch at Origins in the Yas Viceroy Hotel, which costs Dh370 excluding taxes. The hotel also has 2 à la carte restaurants offering terraces with views of the track: Kazu, which serves Japanese cuisine (Dh545 excluding taxes), and Atayeb (Dh370 excluding taxes) if you prefer Arabian food.
If you have Dh120,000 to spare, you can book a 1,564 sft “Island suite” at Yas Viceroy Hotel for four nights, including dinner, and spend the race sipping champagne while enjoying panoramic views of the track from a private, wraparound balcony.
From up Top
The highest point from which to watch the race is the trackside terrace on the seventh floor of the circuit’s HQ building, which offers sweeping views over Abu Dhabi Hill, the royal tower and the marina. With dining on the 1st floor and a balcony overlooking the track, it is the perfect spot to catch Sunday’s post-race fireworks. Tickets for Saturday and Sunday go for Dh9,150.
According to Joanna Bates, Yas Marina Circuit’s head of event management, the North Grandstand is the best option for families. “The nearby North Oasis has a relaxed vibe, a cultural and heritage display and children’s play areas. Also, the Majlis in our F1 village (adjacent to the Main Grandstand) features a children’s area with arts-and-crafts activities and cultural entertainment.”
With the Family
The 1st practice session (FP1) of the Grand Prix starts at 9:00a GMT on 25 November, with Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports F1 HD providing live coverage in the UK.
Real-time internet updates are available on the Live Timing section of the sport’s official website. Live coverage of the 2nd practice session (FP2) starts at 1:00p GMT.
Both Sky Sports and Channel 4 will be broadcasting the Grand Prix action this time around, so you’ll be able to stay up to date for free with the latter.
For Sky customers, you can watch coverage on Sky Sports F1 – that’s channel 408:
Enjoy the racing.