Rate the race result: 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Abu Dhabi, 2011

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix continued to the trend of races receiving poor ratings since the championship was decided.

Though referred to by some as the best race so far at Yas Marina, it was rated the third-lowest of 2011 so far. Four of the last five races feature towards the bottom of the list.

The penultimate race of the season was won by Lewis Hamilton, who capitalised on Sebastian Vettel’s misfortune.

The Yas Marina circuit has been criticised in the past for producing dull races, and this year was little different. Here’s what F1 Fanatic readers had to say:

Vettel’s spin obviously divided opinion, but most regretted seeing him retire:

I wasn’t exactly upset when I saw Vettel spinning at the start, but I was quite annoyed that it meant he had to retire as it would have been brilliant to see him come through the field like at Silverstone last year.
Damon Smedley

2011 average race
ratings so far

Abu Dhabi6.126

The double DRS zone was as hotly-debated as ever:

The double DRS was just silly. The DRS can be OK when you have on driver actually passing another. However with the two zones they practically cancelled each other out.
Lord Stig

We saw a reasonable number of braking battles such as Jenson Button against Mark Webber, rather than purely ‘slipstream-style’ passes.

Having the two zones also adds a bit of a strategic element that is missing from DRS otherwise, as drivers have to consider when to attempt a pass.

I still dislike DRS, but I think it was far from at its worst here.

The lack of action at the front frustrated many:

No real contest for the lead, the battle for third flattered to deceive after the early laps and the midfield battles were mainly down to DRS, which I thought was ridiculously easy on this circuit.

The FIA should concentrate on encouraging close racing, not inventing artificial overtaking

While others suspected the teams are getting used to the tyres:

There was nothing special about that race. The Pirelli ‘cliff’ has been eroded away into a gentle incline, the double DRS just left everyone back where they started and none of the drivers were clever enough to wait until the second of them to overtake for the first time.

All the sunsets and sparkly hotels in the world were ever going to change that.

Either Pirelli brought too conservative a tyre choice, or the teams are too good at setting up their cars in the latter part of the season. This could’ve easily been a Bridgestone race.

While some enjoyed seeing Vettel’s luck change, others share his appreciation of records and statistics:

It’s a shame Vettel’s now missed out on Schumacher’s 2004 record and Clark’s percentage of laps led record. Knowing how fascinated Vettel is about those stats, he’ll be very disappointed to retire so early.

Something like that only really comes once in a career, I’d be surprised if Vettel manages domination like this year’s in 2012.

And many F1 Fanatics had half an eye on the final race of the season:

Maybe we’ve just been spoiled by some amazing racing this year, but this one felt like a clinical race, just a stop-gap until we can get to Sao Paulo.
Matt Ruda

Do you think the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix deserved its place near the foot of the rankings? Why has this money-no-object facility produced three poor races in as many years? Have your say in the comments.

2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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    Image © Pirelli

    22 comments on “Rate the race result: 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix”

    1. I think that the poorer rated races at the end of the championship are all newer “Tilke” tracks. China is I think the anomaly due to early in the season and the lack of knowledge of the Pirellis.

      But it is quite telling that the only highly rated races was at a classic track like Suzuka.

    2. It wasn’t great, but it was better than previous races at Yas Marina.

      1. @rumfresh That’s the definition of damning with faint praise.

        1. Yeah, it’s really not saying much is it? haha

        2. @rumfresh @keithcollantine, but very much deserved in this case!

    3. The teams have increased their knowledge of the Pirelli tyres. I remember at the start of the year the strategy was mostly unknown before the race, with teams (Sauber) trying alternative strategies and scoring points. Now the pit stops are predictable and tyre degradation is not a problem as it doesn’t happen suddenly, and most teams run the same strategy.

    4. It’s sooo frustrating to see another race pan out in predictable form. The leader shoots off, 2nd palce is hoovering behind but not challenging, 3rd , 4th, 5th is a battle for the best of the rest, who are usually making up for poor qualifying results (no offense Jenson and Mark),the two Mercedes do the tango behind Felipe (who tries his best to give us something to debate) and the rest is history. Even towards the end when Webber starts turning it on, you know its already too late as you rush down the local to put a dollar on each Mercedes as to which one will come in first.

    5. Well, I hope for à good final race in Brasil. Even without championship(‘s) at stake it could be interesting. And that circuit provides opportunities for overtaking without DRS, let’s call that real overtaking.

    6. I convinced my brother to watch for the first time a Formula One event. He was blown away by Abu Dhabi commenting about the beauty of the track, how it appeared at dusk and how the cars glowed as it became darker. He found it hard to believe that people were actually driving the cars as they seemed impossibly fast. He didn’t understand why such a big deal was made about Vettels crashing out and could not believe his eyes seeing the 3 second tire changes. Another comment was how cool the modern buildings looked and in particular the hotel and its lights. He told me that he now understands why I am driven to watch and follow F1 as and I and so many do. I have suggested he catch the Interlagos race and see how it is done in another country. Someday maybe we can really wake him up and not only witness a race but also hear a race in person. That would certainly change the meaning of blown away.

      1. Hm, maybe it is a nice introduction. Good to know, just will have to keep from explaining to much, i guess.

        True enough, the race did present enough to look at for the casual observer, with the DRS passes and the gimmicks eye candy of the hotel and sunset.

      2. Brilliant comment! How old is your brother? I hope you convert him! :D

    7. Nice to get quoted, doesn’t happen often. I still think I’d rather see 2 zones being more likely to ‘cancel each other out’ (drivers ending the lap in the same position they started, but with potentially some good wheel-to-wheel stuff in the intervening and proceeding corners of the DRS zone) than having just that first zone and seeing drivers breeze past never to be re-challenged or seen again. That is in this specific case though, not all the time. Mainly only when the DRS zones can be so close to one another.

      1. If the FIA insist on having two DRS zones per race (my preference would be one, or actually none), and the two zones are close together, then there should only be one detection point. That was the arrangement in Canada, my pick for the best race of the year.

        Two DRS zones with two detection points will inevitably lead to meaningless position-swapping, as we saw in Abu Dhabi. Ajokay’s comment (quoted in this article) suggested that none of the drivers were “clever enough to wait until the second [DRS zone] to overtake for the first time”, but can that really be the case? Even if the drivers themselves didn’t think of it, surely at least one person amongst the hundreds of brainiacs in the garages and the pit wall must have done – I know I did, watching the race at home.

        1. I think Webber did in the end get past Button by waiting a bit to get the right approach.

    8. Both traditional dull races (Valencia & Abu Dhabi) produced their personal best races still lies on the bottom of the chart just goes to show what exciting sort of racing we had this season.

    9. I don’t like that these ‘Tilke tracks’ are the future of F1. I want tracks like Spa.

      1. I don’t want carbon copy Spa like tracks but I do want a bit of variation with new circuits. The sport needs to evolve, not remain in the past. I sympathise with Tilke though, he does have strict regulations to work to.

    10. Agree with @damonsmedley I was quite excited when Vettel spun but unfortunately we were robbed of a scrap through the field! Great to see him turning a negative into a positive after the incident though.

    11. in Abu Dhabi Fernando Alonso scored his 20th podium in 37 races with Ferrari !!!!!!!! that’s consistency

    12. I would say Abu Dhabi is a “you had to be there” race. Both previous years on the TV were dull, but attending in person this year, it made much more sense. Ok, so the racing still wasn’t scintillating, but being there was about more than just the race. Lets face it, you could witness a great race in person at Spa, but get rained on for 3 days and come away hating it, while everyone at home raves about what they saw on tv.
      I’d go back, well done Abu Dhabi for being great hosts.

    13. wow, awesome blog. Awesome.

    14. Hey, thanks for the article post.Thanks Again. Great.

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