F1: Hamil­ton on pole as Vet­tel de­moted

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

ABU DHABI

A supremely- dom­i­nant Lewis Hamil­ton crushed all his ri­vals on Sun­day morn­ing (AEDT) as he set up a Red Bull party-wreck­ing race in Mon­day's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by tak­ing his sixth pole po­si­tion of the sea­son while a fuel is­sue saw sea­son leader Se­bas­tian Vet­tel de­moted.

The 27- year- old Bri­ton was sim­ply un­touch­able as he steered his car to the fastest time in all three parts of the ses­sion, fin­ish­ing with an out­stand­ing best time of one minute and 40.630 sec­onds.

His daz­zling dis­play ended Red Bull's run of three con­sec­u­tive races in which they dom­i­nated qual­i­fy­ing and pro­duced front row lock­outs.

To make mat­ters worse for Red Bull, de­fend­ing cham­pion Vet­tel, who had missed the front row by qual­i­fy­ing third on the back of tech­ni­cal prob­lems, was de­moted and will start from the back of the field af­ter he did not have suf­fi­cient fuel left in his tank for a fuel sam­ple to be taken.

Vet­tel fell foul of F1 rules which dic­tate that cars must re­turn to the pits with at least a litre of fuel on board to avoid a per­for­mance ad­van­tage. But he shrugged off the mishap. Vet­tel said: "One of the best ski jumpers of all times once said 'Ev­ery chance is an op­por­tu­nity' and as far as we are con­cerned there are still plenty of chances to­mor­row."

Hamil­ton's best lap, clocked on his first run in the top ten shootout, was good enough to leave him three­tenths of a sec­ond clear of Vet­tel's Aus­tralian team-mate Mark Web­ber who will share the front row with him for Mon­day's 55-laps race at the 5.554 kms Yas Marina Cir­cuit.

Vet­tel's main ti­tle ri­val, Fer­nando Alonso of Fer­rari, en­dured a frus­trat­ing ses­sion - though the Spa­niard was bumped up a place to sixth af­ter Vet­tel's de­mo­tion.

Wil­liams's Pas­tor Mal­don­ado will start the race third, ahead of Kimi Raikko­nen of Lo­tus, McLaren's Jen­son But­ton and Alonso.

Hamil­ton's pole was his sixth this year and the 25th of his ca­reer on a cir­cuit that he clearly re­sponds to with great elan - and gives him a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to up­set the Red Bull ex­press and end Vet­tel's run of four con­sec­u­tive wins in pur­suit of his goal of be­com­ing F1's youngest triple world cham­pion.

Hamil­ton, whose fa­ther An­thony has been with him in the pad­dock, said: "I'm very ex­cited. It's the first time for a long time to be ahead of the Red Bulls and start­ing at the front.

"It's go­ing to be tough in the race and I hope we are strong enough to fight them once again. The car's felt beau­ti­ful all week­end but we've not made any im­prove- ment since last week­end so I guess it just likes the track and hope­fully it will continue to like it to­mor­row."

Web­ber said: "Credit to Lewis and McLaren - they have a quick car and we've been bumped off the front row for the first time in awhile.

" We did the best we could, it was a pretty smooth qual­i­fy­ing and we're still a long way up the grid. There's a lit­tle bit of friendly fire go­ing on which we need to tidy up. Seb's still in­volved in the driv­ers' cham­pi­onship and there's the con­struc­tors'." Vet­tel, who takes part in his 99th grand prix on Mon­day, said: "I dont know why I had to stop, I was asked to stop. It's prob­a­bly some prob­lem. It shouldn't be some­thing ma­jor.

" This morn­ing wasn't ideal not be­ing able to run. Nev­er­the­less, we were set­tling in quite well, the pace was there. McLaren, in par­tic­u­lar Lewis, are pretty quick and were out of reach to­day.

"I'm not en­tirely happy with the last part of qual­i­fy­ing. It was quite tricky for me. I should have been a lit­tle quicker. I think we can be happy over­all. The race pace should be good to­mor­row. I'm look­ing for­ward to it."

Along­side Vet­tel on the sec­ond row is Wil­liams' Pas­tor Mal­don­ado who won his maiden F1 race at the Span­ish Grand Prix ear­lier in the sea­son.

He said: "" We have shown all week­end that we are quite com­pet­i­tive. I did my best in qual­i­fy­ing. The car was there, I'm happy for the team and happy for my­self. I'm happy for to­mor­row. "We need to look at our­selves. Point will be im­por­tant for us. I will push at the maxmium and we will see. I think we have strong pace and are com­pet­i­tive like the top teams." Oc­cu­py­ing the third row are Kimi Raikko­nen and Jen­son But­ton in the sec­ond McLaren, with Alonso shar­ing the fourth row with Nico Ros­berg of Mercedes.

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