Long straights, low-speed corners and changing temperatures pretty much sum-up Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit, a popular venue among F1’s teams and drivers.
As a medium-high downforce track, Yas Marina requires an optimal compromise between low-speed grip and straight-line speed.
With that prerequisite in mind, a look at Saturday’s speed trap readings from qualifying tell a contrasting story.
The inherent relative weakness this season of Ferrari’s engine has been well chronicled, but Maranello’s power plant nevertheless thrusted Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo down the main straight at 327.3km/h, a performance that suggests the C39 was trimmed to the max as the Iceman clocked in P16 in qualifying.
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One would reach the same deduction regarding Williams’ Nicholas Latifi, the second fastest car down Yas Marina’s main straight.
But Ferrari engines also closed out the top velocity results, with Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel’s SF1000 struggling in all departments in Abu Dhabi.
Poleman Max Verstappen was hardly faster in a straight line than his Scuderia rivals, but Red Bull’s RB16 was diabolically more efficient around the corners and in terms of traction. QED.
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