FP3 showed promising competitiveness and decent pace with hotter track conditions and good balance of the car from overnight set-up changes
The team fought hard to get tyres in the right window during Q1 and only half a second from P1 to P16
The colder track temperatures in the dusk qualifying session and heavy traffic saw most teams struggle to put together short-runs
Both George and Lewis also struggled to find performance in these tricky conditions with George finishing P4 and Lewis unable to get through to Q3
Free Practice 3
Ahead of the weekend, we would have taken P4 in qualifying. Having said that, after the performance in FP3 where we were quickest every single lap, we only improved six tenths from that session to qualifying. Considering that track temperatures dropped and we had less fuel in the car, we didn’t extract as much as we should have. That was a little disappointing. I want to end the season on a high so ultimately my goal is to be on the podium and get the most out of the points for the team in the Constructors’ Championship so let’s see what tomorrow holds for us – we will aim for the best result possible. I’m excited for the final race of the season and although Lewis had a tricky session today, I am sure he will move forward tomorrow.
It was a challenging session for me today, I’ve been struggling with the set-up of the car here in Abu Dhabi this weekend, although our cars are set up the same, so we need to understand what it is on my side of the garage that’s causing the lack of performance. George managed to get the most out of the car today finishing in P4. It takes some good going for me to not make it into Q3 so we need to do a deep dive and try our best to move up tomorrow. The team here and back in the factory deserves a good result for the final race of the season so we will work hard as always and hopefully it will pay off and we can find improvements ahead of tomorrow.
Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO
FP3 felt strong so we’re disappointed that we didn’t manage to put it together in Qualifying. Both Lewis and George struggled with grip and overall performance of the car. Our expectations obviously were higher but P4 was the maximum we could achieve today with George and I think we can be content with that; Lewis had a more difficult time, and was knocked out in Q2 by just a few milliseconds. We need to understand why we struggled in qualifying after such a promising FP3 and how we can maximize our performance tomorrow. It was a challenging session for all teams and the field is so close together, so we need to work hard overnight and give it our all tomorrow to end the season on a positive note and secure our position in the Constructor’s Championship.
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
George had a really solid run over the three practice sessions and it felt like we might have done a bit better than fourth today but it was a decent lap, just seemed that in the cooler conditions we were lacking the strengths that we'd had on a hotter track. Lewis has had a difficult session, he sat out FP1 and only got three laps in due to the red flags in FP2 so was trying to fit low and high fuel work into the session this morning. That wasn't the best preparation for qualifying but hopefully it will help him tomorrow. We've done decent long run work this weekend, plenty of laps and hopefully we have a good handle on how the tyres are going to work. Hopefully we can have a strong race.