2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Qualifying: Hamilton Storms To 25th Career Pole

Mclaren vs Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel vs Fernando Alonso is what I have been predicting since the last few races. The 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix had the same equation battling for their respective places in qualifying. While Mclaren convincingly beat Red Bull Racing and the others, Vettel had to be content with qualifying ahead of Alonso but still being beaten by Hamilton and team-mate Webber.

My few bits on the 2012 Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying:


  • Lewis Hamilton stormed to his 25th career pole and his 6th of the 2012 Formula1 Season. Since inception of this race, Hamilton and Vettel are the only two drivers who have started on pole.
  • Hamilton’s margin of pole position was 3 tenths to Vettel’s team-mate Webber, who I suspect will let Vettel through to fight for victory. The bigger difference was to Button – six tenths!
Lewis Hamilton (Courtesy: Mclaren Mercedes)
  • Vettel was asked to stop on his in-lap to the pits post the qualifying session. Was it a fuel issue? Reportedly Renault asked him to stop – so engine, gearbox or alternator issues? Will this close the gap yet again in the Drivers’ Championship?
  • Vettel’s rival Alonso could only manage P7 in his Ferrari. This means that he has a Button, Raikkonen and Maldonado to overtake before mounting an attack on the current World Champion Vettel. Will his Ferrari have the race pace tomorrow?
  • Maldonado was the only mid-field team driver to make it to Q3 after Saubers and Sahara Force Indias were eliminated in Q2.


  • Sahara Force India driver Hulkenberg, who is on his way to Sauber in the 2013 Formula1 season, missed the cut for Q3 by only a tenth. (Views on his move to be published post-race)
  • Schumacher was the big name to drop out in this session. He made a mistake in his final attempt which saw him unable to make progress. Lack of motivation as he approaches the final few races of his life?
  • While Maldonado made it through Q3 and ultimately in P4, Senna was unable to match his pace yet again. He starts P15, nearly half a second off! Will he retain his Formula1 seat next season? Or will Bottas be promoted as his replacement?
  • The session was very close yet again and saw P2 and P10 be separated by only 7 tenths. Of course, Hamilton led the lap board by over three tenths from P2!


  • Vergne was the fall guy in this session for the 8th time this season. Probably the worst qualifying performance amongst the mid-field drivers. Mistake by Toro Rosso to sign him on for next year as well?
  • And Marussia’s Pic, who is rumoured to be on his way out and be replaced by Max Chilton, drove a stunning lap to split the Caterhams of Kovalainen and Petrov for P20. Caterham has brought updates to this race which doesn’t seem to have done their work.
  • HRT’s Pedro de la Rosa was only three tenths off Glock, however, Karthikeyan was a disappointing six tenths off the Spaniard. Did missing FP1 hamper his progress? After all, this is his first time at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Vettel almost ended his qualifying session on Q1 after he kissed the barriers on his out-lap. However, his post session issues still mean that the 2012 Drivers’ Championship is far from over. Having said that, the 2012 Constructors’ Championship could well be over if the Red Bulls finish 1-2 in the race tomorrow. Considering Hamilton’s pace, will they?

Hear ‘Mclaren Change Five Wheels In A Pitstop‘ by RJ Rishi Kapoor and me.

Kunal Shah is an FIA-accredited Formula 1 journalist who has been reporting on Formula 1 for nearly two decades. He worked with the Force India Formula 1 Team for 6 seasons in Marketing, Sponsorship and Commercial roles. As a former single-seater racer, he was responsible for Force India's grassroots talent program, One from a Billion Hunt. Presently, he co-writes a regular Formula 1 column for Firstpost, speaks on Inside Line F1 Podcast & Pits to Podium and produces broadcast/OTT content for NENT Group (Viasport & Viaplay).

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