Abu Dhabi, November 21, 2014 – The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix starts in the late afternoon and ends in the evening, meaning that unusually track temperatures tend to fall as the race goes on. Conditions in FP2, which began at 5pm, will be representative of the race but the earlier FP1 followed a different pattern, with track and air temperatures rising.
This had an effect on tyre performance, with the two softest tyres in the range nominated for the final grand prix of the year on the low abrasion Yas Marina circuit: P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft. In the second session, there was some light graining with the supersoft only on the front-right tyre in particular.
The teams concentrated on the afternoon session in order to determine qualifying and race set-up, on both compounds with high and low fuel loads. The information gained will decide the strategy used for the race, with two pit stops looking like the most likely option at this point for the majority of competitors.
The quickest time of the day was set by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in FP2 on the supersoft tyre, who set a benchmark of 1m42.113s.
The performance gap between the two compounds is currently around 1.2 seconds, but this is likely to come down to about a second over the rest of the weekend as the track rubbers in and evolves. The two championship protagonists dominated the free practice sessions, with Hamilton and Nico Rosberg finishing first and second in each one.
Paul Hembery: “We’ve got off to the start we expected in Abu Dhabi: the race that will decide the world championship. Wear and degradation is low on the soft tyre, which we expect to be the main race tyre.
With a gap of just over a second between the two compounds, we think that the supersoft will be the best choice for qualifying, but this time difference leaves plenty of strategy options open: with perhaps some interesting gains to be made by running the reverse strategy and using the soft tyre first at the start of the race.”
1. Hamilton 1m43.476s Soft used
2. Rosberg 1m43.609s Soft used
3. Alonso 1m45.584s Soft new
1. Hamilton 1m42.113s Supersoft new
2. Rosberg 1m42.196s Supersoft new
3. Magnussen 1m42.895s Supersoft new
Tyre statistics of the day:
Supersoft Soft Intermediate Wet
kms driven * 1460 4737 0 0
sets used overall ** 19 62 0 0
highest number of laps ** 19 31 0 0
* The above number gives the total amount of kilometres driven in FP1 and FP2 today, all drivers combined.
** Per compound, all drivers combined.