Lewis Hamilton believes a car problem caused him to spin on his final Q3 lap, meaning he couldn’t improve on his previous benchmark of 1m40.501. However, he still managed to hang on to fourth place and complete a Mercedes lock-out on the second row of the grid.
The Brit felt that he could have challenged Webber and Vettel for a slot on the front row if he had completed his final lap. Despite this, he is pleased with his grid position and – more importantly – qualifying well ahead of the Ferrari duo.
“Fourth place feels pretty good this evening considering the time was set on my first Q3 lap,” he said. “Unfortunately on my second lap it looks like something gave way at the back of the car as I got on the power at the chicane and it just snapped out, which forced me into a spin. It was a great lap and might just have been enough to get us onto the front row as I was fourth-tenths up on my first effort but these things happen.”
Looking ahead to race day, he added: “The car felt really strong today so we’ll hope for a good start and then challenge to make up some positions in the race tomorrow. The good thing is that we are ahead of Ferrari and that’s where we need to stay. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and hope we can get a good result.”
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn confirmed that a right-rear wishbone failed on Hamilton’s car during Q3, causing his spin.
Team-mate Nico Rosberg will line up one place ahead of him on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix grid. He said on Friday that the aim was to be best of the rest, and that is exactly where they qualified.
“It’s great to have another positive Saturday for our team”, admitted the German. “Again we are the best of the rest which is our aim for the weekend and starting from P3 and P4 are great positions for us to score lots of points in the Constructors’ Championship. My last lap in Q3 wasn’t great today but there was only a small chance to improve my time anyway.”
However, the two Red Bulls were just too far ahead: “Mark and Seb were just too quick today for me to get on the front row but I’m confident that we can have a good race from here tomorrow.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic