Qualifying - Abu Dhabi GP report: Williams Mercedes
— Felipe Massa qualified 10th and Valtteri Bottas 11th for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
— In Q1, both drivers were in the only cars on track running the supersoft tyres. Valtteri went out first for his one and only run and was initially P5, but dropped to P11 as others set their Q1 times. Felipe ran twice; once on the supersoft tyre for P11 and again on the ultrasoft tyres for P9 with a 1:41.771. Both drivers progressed to Q2
— In Q2, both drivers completed multiple laps on the ultrasoft tyre and the session ended with Felipe securing P9, whilst Valtteri struggled with grip throughout and was knocked out in P11 as the chequered flag fell. He now has a free tyre choice for tomorrow’s race
— Felipe set a single lap on ultrasoft tyres in Q3 of 1:41.213 for a P10 start in his final Formula One race
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering
Felipe was more comfortable on the ultrasoft tyre than Valtteri today. It’s a shame Felipe wasn’t able to repeat his Q2 time to get himself into ninth rather than 10th. In Valtteri’s case, he just couldn’t get the qualifying tyre working. So, we’re 10th and 11th and that’s not where we want to be, but we won’t give up. We will keep pushing and do what we can. We’re in a position to get some points tomorrow and finish the season on an upward trajectory.
It definitely was not a very easy qualifying today, but I was happy with the result. To be honest, I wasn’t happy with the tyres but I just tried my hardest to set a good lap. I had a very good time in Q2, which was important. I definitely expected a bit more from my lap in Q3, but maybe I didn’t have as much grip in the tyres as Q2. We’re not far from where we expected to be and we will see what we can do compared to the other cars.
Obviously I would have liked to have been in Q3, but for some reason I couldn’t get any extra grip from the ultrasoft tyre compared to the supersoft. The car felt very good with the supersoft tyre, but I don’t feel like we got the most out of the qualifying tyre. However, tomorrow is a different game. P11 gives me a free choice of tyres for the race, so that can open up opportunities. Lately, Force India have been finishing races ahead of us so it would be nice to end the season with a good result for the whole team and for Felipe. There’s obviously a title battle on the line up at the front, so that could create quite an exciting race ahead.