The 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (officially the 2009 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix) was the seventeenth and final round of the 2009 Formula One Season. It was the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and it was also the sport's first ever day to night race. It was held between October 30 and November 1, 2009.
With both world championships secured by Jenson Button and Brawn at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the opening race at Abu Dhabi would be the first time since the 2005 Chinese Grand Prix where a race would have no influence on either the World Drivers' Championship and World Constructors' Championship.
Nonetheless, whilst the victors had been decided, the battle continued between the teams to settle the lower positions. For second in the World Drivers' Championship, Rubens Barrichello hoped to secure a perfect season for Brawn, however Sebastian Vettel remained in the fight for second. With Mark Webber in a clear fourth in the championship, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen continued to dispute over fifth position.
In the Constructors' Championship, Brawn and Red Bull were now firmly settled into first and second, however Ferrari still held a slim chance of unseating McLaren from third in the championship.
The full entry list for the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is shown below:
Ahead of the session, taking place in the hazy afternoon sunshine, the track temperature was 45 Celsius and a 34 Celsius ambient temperature. Webber leads the cars out on track to complete their installation runs of the circuit. Both the BMW Sauber's and Force India's complete a second-lap installation before their return to the pits.
After five minutes all the drivers except Barrichello have completed their installation laps. Two minutes later, Barrichello enters the track and after eight minutes all the drivers' had completed their installation running. The initial track data download commences and the drivers' give their first reports of the circuit. Vettel reports the track conditions are very "dirty, dusty and slippery", however is "convinced" the track will improve with further running.
Most of the drivers' begin their first analysis of the track, Vettel and the two Williams drivers, Rosberg and Nakajima could be seen exiting their car and heading to their respective pit walls to discuss the track conditions with the engineers. After much testing on the simulators, the teams' now would finally have the opportunity to understand whether their track analysis had been correct.
However not all the drivers' are analysing the data, after 11 minutes, Alguersuari becomes the first driver to head back out on track. Not long afterwards, Hamilton, likewise opts to complete some early running. With both drivers' on the medium tyre as well as the slippery track conditions, they were finding it difficult to push.
Whilst Hamilton opted to complete only a single exploratory lap before heading to the pits, Alguersuari was attempting to set the first fast time of the day. However he was evidently struggling for grip, running wide onto the run-off areas at turn 17 before setting a 1:55.624. He made an improvement on his second lap, however he continued to run slightly wide at turn 17 to which he clocked a 1:50.886.
After four laps, Alguersuari had lowered the benchmark down to a 1:49.545, to which at that moment, his teammate, Buemi had entered the circuit. Alguersuari's fifth lap saw him further drop the best time down to a 1:49.338 before failing to improve on his sixth lap. The rest of the field appears to content to watch with interest from the monitors as the Toro Rosso's do the initial cleaning of the racing line.
Buemi's first lap saw him set a 1:50.961 before failing to improve on his second run. Alguersuari meanwhile was still finding time after seven laps, dropping the benchmark to 1:49.143. After seven flying laps, Alguersuari heads to the pits to which he reported "grip level is improving all the time". As Alguersuari pits, Buemi sets the new fastest time with a 1:48.378.
Alguersuari's comments promote a flurry of activity from the other teams as suddenly more cars are entering the track with the increased grip levels. After 23 minutes, Grosjean joined the Toro Rosso's out on track, however after two flying laps he remains slower than both Buemi and Alguersuari.
At 26 minutes, Fisichella entered the circuit to which Rob Smedley warns over the radio to be careful of the "wind direction". Fisichella however is slow to find pace and is not matching the pace of Alguersuari, Buemi or Grosjean. After 28 minutes, Rosberg entered the track to which he immediately demoted Fisichella to fifth.
Both the Ferrari's were now running with Räikkönen joining Fisichella on the track. Neither of the Ferrari drivers appear to set fast times in their initial laps, the two cars of Fisichella and Räikkönen running consistently in fifth and sixth.
Of the six cars on track, only Buemi and Rosberg were making consistent improvements. Rosberg had moved up to second, however he was still two seconds slower than Buemi's new fastest time of a 1:47.207. Following this, Rosberg makes a 1.5 second improvement, however remains six tenths off Buemi's best time.
The lap comparisons between Buemi and Rosberg are then interrupted by a set of fast laps by Fisichella. Fisichella had been testing the limits of the circuit, running wide onto the run-off area of the first corner before taking the second fastest time on his second lap, whilst setting the fastest middle sector.
At 37 minutes into the session, Buemi after 7 laps enters the pits. He had completed the same amount of laps as his teammate, however his later entrance to the circuit had meant his best time was 2.8 seconds faster than Alguersuari whom had pitted 5 minutes before hand.
Entering the track, Kobayashi's first lap sees him run the slowest of all the runners, however on his second lap he makes a rapid improvement to go second fastest. His best time only one tenth slower than that set by Buemi. Webber had also entered the circuit to which on his first flying lap he goes third fastest.
The Ferrari's appeared to be consistently the fastest in the middle sector, Räikkönen bettering teammate Fisichella's lead middle sector, however they were struggling to set an overall fast lap time. Meanwhile Rosberg whom had been bumped back down to fifth then made a response to take the fastest time with a 1:46.117.
The track would now become quite busy with after 42 minutes, most of the cars had began to make their entrance onto the track. Kubica immediately sprang into fourth position, whilst Kobayashi whom was still in third ran wildly off the circuit at turn one. He would continue without issue, however teammate Trulli was then seen making a smaller mistake at the same corner.
The pecking order began to evolve as Vettel set the new fastest time with a 1:45.372 with teammate Webber going second fastest. Behind them, Kubica had moved up to third whilst Nakajima temporarily held fourth, before Rosberg retook the position.
Upon the McLaren's entrance onto the track, they had quickly demonstrated to be faster than Ferrari in the middle sector. They were also demonstrating strong overall pace, Kovalainen moving up to second whilst Hamilton went fourth fastest.
|Pos||No||Driver||Constructor||Part 1||Part 2||Part 3||Grid|
|2||15||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1:40.666||1:39.984||1:41.615||2|
|3||14||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1:40.667||1:40.272||1:41.726||3|
|7||5||Robert Kubica||BMW Sauber||1:40.520||1:40.545||1:41.992||7|
|8||6||Nick Heidfeld||BMW Sauber||1:40.558||1:40.635||1:42.343||8|
|10||12||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:40.908||1:40.430||1:42.713||10|
|15||11||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:41.503||1:41.689||14|
|17||21||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Force India-Mercedes||1:41.701||16|
|18||20||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:41.863||17|
- Nico Rosberg's last race for Williams before moving to Mercedes.
- Robert Kubica's last race for BMW Sauber before moving to Renault.
- Last race for drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Kazuki Nakajima.
- Last race for constructors Toyota, BMW and Brawn GP.
- Last race to feature pit stops for refuelling.
- Last race to use the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points system, last race for first eight finishers to receive points.
Standings after raceEdit
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