|Circuit||Yas Marina Circuit|
|Distance||305,355 km / 189,779 miles|
Maurizio Arrivabene: “This podium finish is a boost to the motivation of the whole team, for the people back home, who have been working so hard since this summer, and for the ones at the track, who never gave up. It’s clear that we did not reach the targets we had set for ourselves, yet this last race shows that something is moving in the right direction.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was not an easy race for me, the car was pretty ok, but I suffered with the tires, to make them last. I was constantly trying to keep the fronts alive. After the start I was in a good position, but I struggled with the first set of Softs: at the end of the stint they kind of came back and improved, but we kept losing places. When Seb came close to me, I knew that he was on a different strategy and I let him go. Obviously it has been quite a tricky year, far from what we want as a team, but lately we have been working well, doing the right things. Now we need to keep working this way and hopefully next year, with the new car, we’ll be where we want to be.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I think it was an important race for us today: in the final laps, I would have liked to gain two more positions, because the speed was there; but it was difficult to make the move because the car in front also benefited from a tow. Nevertheless as a team we deserve this podium, and I hope it gives some momentum to all of us. It has been a tough year, with lots of up and downs, so I am really happy with this result. About our global performance in 2016, I think we don’t need to find any story or invent something. I think we expected more; but after the first half, where we could have scored more points, I think we showed real strength by coming back. In the last couple of Grand Prix we had very good race pace, always enough to match Red Bull, and probably even a bit quicker: but that was not the case on Saturdays, and that made Sundays more difficult. Overall we showed the stamina that the team has. The spirit is unbroken, and I know that we will work hard, because Ferrari deserves to come back. All in all we learned a lot, we made a lot of progress. Today is Nico’s day, well done to him. I think you don’t win the Championship by luck, and it is a sign of respect to give him this. He is a deserving champion.
Seb third at Yas Marina, Kimi is sixth
Yas Marina, 27 November – Sebastian Vettel came third in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix today at the Yas Marina circuit. The German produced a thrilling performance in the closing stages which saw him take the chequered flag just eight tenths of a second off the winner, Lewis Hamilton. Kimi Raikkonen was sixth, while thanks to finishing second, Nico Rosberg has secured the Drivers’ crown for 2016.
Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a pretty good qualifying, the car has behaved well all day. Today we went a lot faster than we had been in practice, we did our best and it was almost enough for third place, but my last lap was not perfect in some places. It’s hard to say if we’ll be able to fight with the Mercedes tomorrow: usually in race conditions we are a bit closer, but I’m sure they will also be very strong. Tomorrow we can only do our best, we’ll try to make a good start and then we’ll see.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I’m not really happy with the result. I was struggling a bit with the balance of the car to start with. In the end it was good, but then in the last lap I had a bit of a messy last sector. I saw a bit of smoke from Verstappen ahead, enough to lose a bit of concentration. After this morning we were expecting a bit more, not really to fight the Mercedes, but to beat Red Bulls. I don’t think we were any slower, but we didn’t get the lap together when it mattered, probably we were a bit on the aggressive side trying to anticipate the track conditions. For tomorrow it should be positive, for tonight it was a bit too much. Otherwise the car feels good, we managed to improve it today. Mercedes are a bit far away, but we hope to get ahead and be in front of Red Bulls tomorrow. We are on the softer compound, which should give us an advantage off the line and for the first lap.”
Kimi fourth, one place ahead of Seb
Yas Marina, 26 November – Kimi Raikkonen posted the fourth fastest time of 1.39.604 in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Finn is one place higher up than fifth placed Sebastian Vettel who’s best lap was a 1.39.661.
Starting from pole position tomorrow will be Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes, who set a fastest time of 1.38.755.
Seb fastest, Kimi 3rd
Yas Marina, 26 November – Sebastian Vettel wrapped up the final 60 minutes of free practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and indeed the season, with the fastest time. In the final hour of track time during which teams make set-up changes in preparation for qualifying and the race, in hot conditions, the German driver took his Ferrari round in 1.40.775 with his second set of Ultrasoft tyres, the choice of all drivers out on track. Just over two tenths slower, with a lap in 1.40.999, Kimi Raikkonen was third quickest in his SF16-H. He also used two sets of the purple-banded tyres, the softest available from Pirelli.
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today we had a very normal Friday practice, trying different things. The car was working pretty fine: it’s just that I could not put a decent lap together, but overall it was a “basic” day. We had some tire graining, but this is very normal on the first day on track and it was not a big issue, as it’s going to change for the race. Now we just have to work here and there and we should be ok.”
Sebastian Vettel: “I am fairly happy with the day. Obviously, it is not ideal to have a gearbox issue on Friday, but I am not worried and it shouldn’t have any impact on the weekend. In general it was a very good Friday. This afternoon P1 was somewhat tricky, as we struggled a bit on the hot track. But during P2 in the evening things calmed down, the car also calmed down, it was quite good and I was happy. In the long run I struggled a bit with the front end, maybe I was a bit too aggressive, but overall the car felt good. To be honest, I think we should have a good pace. Hopefully tomorrow we have a similar feeling in Quali and put the car where it belongs.”
Different compounds used for race simulation
Yas Marina, 25 November – The second act of the Abu Dhabi weekend ended with Ferrari in third and sixth places courtesy of Sebastian Vettel (1.41.130) and Kimi Raikkonen (1.41.464). The last of today’s practice sessions at Yas Island was held in more similar conditions to the ones that can be expected for qualifying and the race. The two SF16-H cars were put through their paces over single quick laps on the Ultrasoft compound, while when it came to the long runs, Kimi used Supersofts and Seb used Softs. The German’s session came to a premature end with a few minutes remaining because of a problem with the gearbox, which was at the end of its life and was intended for use solely during free practice.
Hot as ever at Yas Marina: Seb 5th and Kimi 7th, using Softs only
Yas Marina, 25 November– The final Formula 1 Friday of the year started with the first free practice sessions for the eighth running of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. At the futuristic Yas Marina facility, Sebastian Vettel set the fifth fastest time of 1.44.005, in his Ferrari after starting the morning doing a whole run with the Halo head protection device due to be introduced in 2018. He and his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who was seventh fastest in 1.44.556 ran similar programmes, using two sets of Soft tyres while doing aerodynamic work. Quickest was Lewis Hamilton, who did a 1.42.869 in the Mercedes.
The Arabian track was lacking in grip and when the sun sets, the lower temperatures combined with the evolution of the track will have a significant effect on tyre behaviour.
Kimi: “I had better year but still suffer with all the team”
Abu Dhabi is the last round of the season and it’s difficult to say how the weekend will go. We’ve had some strong moments, even in the last weekends, and some others not so good, so we can only promise that we’ll give our best and hopefully we’ll be in the fight for the podium. If we look at the big picture of the season we cannot be happy: we’ve done our best and obviously it hasn’t been good enough. We didn’t achieve the results that we wanted as Ferrari. The good thing is that we have great people in the team working well together and improving things. For me personally this year has been a bit better than last year, but I suffer as much as the team does when we don’t win races and fight for the Championships. We can only keep working hard and improve.
Seb wraps up the season: Car a “big step forward” from 2015
It’s the last race of the season and I think the most positive thing we can draw from this year is the experience we lived as a team. We were often criticized but I don’t think criticism was always justified. We remained very committed throughout, despite not achieving what we wanted to, due to various reasons and circumstances. This year’s car was a big step from last year, and I think our performance was better than results show. So now our target for next year is quite clear, we have to be ready with the project in view of many regulation changes. If I should name a special moment in 2016, I would recall the podium finish at Monza. We’ve had a difficult season but seeing that the tifosi still believe in us was a big boost for everyone.
Final round in Abu Dhabi. Kimi: “Overtaking is a challenge”
Maranello, 22 November – It’s time for the final and 21st race of the longest ever Formula 1 season. This will be the eighth Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the race having made its debut on the calendar back in 2009, all of them held at the Yas Marina circuit, around half an hour’s drive from the centre of Abu Dhabi. It is the only twilight race of the season, starting in daylight before the floodlights come on at dusk and the consequent drop in temperature has an effect on tyre performance. Against a spectacular setting, the track layout features long straights and a very twisty section where good traction is the key, while overtaking is difficult. New for this year is the introduction of the Ultrasoft tyre, alongside the Soft and Supersoft.
“I like this circuit” says Kimi about Yas Marina. “It has a quite slow last part of the lap but has a great atmosphere as it is the last race of the year. So, obviously it’s a slightly different feeling and it’s in the evening. The lights are very good. Sometimes it can be not that easy with the lights but the driving conditions are not difficult to get the visual right. The sight is more or less the same in the daytime. It’s not a very easy place to overtake but it’s a challenge to do it. It’s about quite long laps and a lot of tricky corners. So, I’ve always enjoyed it there. Maybe it’s because it’s the end of the year and there are many things happening for the people when they come to watch the race.”