2012 ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING
Yas Marina Circuit, Saturday November 3
“Our car works incredibly well around here!”
1st 1m42.130s 18 laps
Q1 1st 1m41.497s (on Primes)
Q2 1st 1m40.901s (on Options)
Q3 1st overall 1m40.630s (on Options)
“Those extra three-tenths came from my family!
“Our car works incredibly well around here. Our aero package really suits this track; the set-up was perfect, and everything came together perfectly for qualifying. My lap felt really great – I enjoyed it so much. I love this track!
“Still, I’m realistic: the race tomorrow is going to be tough. At the start, it’s down to the team to make sure the clutch performs perfectly because the getaway will be incredibly important. Our race pace is very strong, but so is Red Bull’s – and staying ahead will be tough, particularly with the double DRS zones.
“I really want to finish on a high for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. I’ll give it everything I’ve got tomorrow.”
2nd 1m42.420s (+0.290s) 17 laps
Q1 10th 1m42.342s (on Primes)
Q2 9th 1m41.873s (on Options)
Q3 6th overall 1m41.290s (on Options)
“I shouldn’t really be starting this far back. All weekend, I’ve been pretty happy with the car, but, for some reason, we just couldn’t find the pace in qualifying – and we don’t know why.
“Obviously, our car is very quick around here – Lewis put it on pole by quite a margin – so there’s some more time to find.
“While starting sixth will make the race more difficult, there are two good DRS overtaking zones, so hopefully there’ll be plenty of overtaking. Also, our race pace has looked good all weekend, so I’m still feeling optimistic.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Lewis drove brilliantly in qualifying here in Abu Dhabi today – he was quickest in Q1, Q2 and Q3 – and pole position was never really in doubt, was it?
“It was the 25th pole of his Formula 1 career – all of them scored in Vodafone McLaren Mercedes cars – and he’s now perfectly positioned to drive to victory tomorrow.
“Having said that, you get no points for pole position in Formula 1, so we don’t intend to get carried away. Equally, there’s a lot of hard work for us to do between now and flag-fall at the end of tomorrow’s race, and we never under-estimate our opposition. But we’ve got a good race car, and Lewis loves this circuit.
“Jenson is understandably a little disappointed with qualifying, but he’s a truly fantastic racer and he can still mount a serious challenge from sixth place on tomorrow’s starting grid. Moreover, his long-run pace was good yesterday – so, like Lewis, he’ll certainly be one to watch when the five red lights go out on the startline gantry.”