Ferrari facing a tough weekend where third place is still up for grabs

By on
F1 Grand Prix, GP Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuitae

Even though Formula 1 has experienced two Singapore night races, the spectacle of second practice going from natural light to a floodlit track was still a breathtaking spectacle, towards the end of the first day of practice for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Here to witness the sun going down to be replaced by an almost full moon, were Ferrari President, Luca di Montezemolo, Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher, all present to lend their support to the Scuderia at the final round of the 2009 World Championship: a championship where the Drivers’ crown was decided in Brazil a fortnight ago and in which the top two places in the Constructors’ classification are also settled. So, for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, this weekend’s target is to make up the one point gap and overtake historic rivals, McLaren-Mercedes in the fight for the final step on the virtual podium.

Judging by the comments of our two drivers, it will be a tough task: in the first practice Kimi Raikkonen and Giancarlo Fisichella finished fifteenth and eighteenth respectively and in the twilight session, the Finn was tenth and the Italian seventeenth. The general impression is that the Yas Marina track is not too demanding and so far, the controversial pit lane exit, which twists and turns and goes through a tunnel, has not caused any problems. While it is usual for a race track to produce more grip and therefore quicker lap times in the second Friday session, here the difference was even more marked as the cooler night temperatures in FP2 saw the fastest time drop by almost three seconds.

The honour of ending the first ever day of an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the top of the time sheet went to the McLaren-Mercedes duo, as Heikki Kovalainen was fastest, followed by Lewis Hamilton. Following the out-going world champion was his successor, Jenson Button, third in the Brawn, followed by Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull. Fifth place went to the Toyota of Kobayashi, who is replacing Timo Glock for the second race in succession. Rounding off the top six was the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi.

Source: Ferrari