After some 3 hours drive time, the new Yas Marina circuit in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi has drawn the plaudits from the drivers.
The circuit is one of the most exciting new projects to hit the F1 calendar, and its proving a firm favourite with the fans too if Twitter and Facebook comments are to be believed. Its sweeping, fast nature but some hard corners are showing that the race could be very close indeed.
The Hermann Tilke design bandwagon has certainly got back on track here.
Nico Rosberg commented; “There is no criticism. I think they have done a very good job. It is an interesting track and every corner is unique.”
Former World Champion Fernando Alonso added to Rosberg’s praise “There are some good parts of the track, like the first sector, high-speed corners, and then the last sector is a combination of very similar corners – always 90 degrees. But you enjoy it because there is always something to do on the track. There is no time to breathe.”
Adrian Sutil also praised the lighting system, commenting it felt more like a night race than Singapore.
However the tunnel exit to the pitlane is causing some controversy, with near misses and concern over an accident becoming more apparent. Ferrari driver Giancarlo Fisichella said on the subject;
“It is very difficult and a little bit dangerous. If there is an accident with two cars, I don’t know if there is a space to go through. I guess we will see if there is an incident.”
I must say, representing The F1Fanatics Blog I think it’s a terrific circuit, finally a decent new track. It is like Valencia, or at least how Valencia should have been. It makes Singapore look almost amateur, and with the cool evening daylight/nightime effect I think F1 is on to a winner.
Heikki Kovalainen showed his best sign yet of trying to cling with both hands to his McLaren seat for 2010 with a startling performance in FP2 on the new Abu Dhabi F1 circuit.
The Finn was some 2 tenths faster than team mate Lewis Hamilton as the chrome McLaren’s dominated the second practice session.
Kimi Raikkonen gained some hope for Ferrari with 10th, while Robert Kubica’s day ended with flames as his BMW engine gave up.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:41.307 35 2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:41.504 + 0.197 34 3. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:41.541 + 0.234 39 4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:41.591 + 0.284 37 5. Kobayashi Toyota (B) 1:41.636 + 0.329 34 6. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:41.683 + 0.376 37 7. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:41.684 + 0.377 34 8. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:41.831 + 0.524 38 9. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:41.931 + 0.624 39 10. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:41.987 + 0.680 39 11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:42.180 + 0.873 28 12. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:42.245 + 0.938 36 13. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:42.278 + 0.971 36 14. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:42.409 + 1.102 30 15. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:42.530 + 1.223 33 16. Alonso Renault (B) 1:42.782 + 1.475 29 17. Fisichella Ferrari (B) 1:42.932 + 1.625 37 18. Grosjean Renault (B) 1:43.021 + 1.714 37 19. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:43.022 + 1.715 39 20. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:43.708 + 2.401 13