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Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Saturday, 31 October 2009

Abu Dhabi GP qualifying as it happened



To get involved text us on 81111 with FORMULA 1 before your message. (Not all contributions can be used; UK mobiles only; network rates apply)

By Caroline Cheese

1412: Over and out. I'm off to find a yacht somewhere in Shepherds Bush. I'll return tomorrow at 1130 GMT to begin the build-up to the last race of the season at 1300 GMT. Keep checking on for all your reports, re-runs and highlights. You'd be a fool not to. Bye bye.

1409: Looking at what looks like a swanky party on a yacht. Feel a bit sick.

Jenson Button on fifth place: "No of course it's not [a satisfactory position for a world champion]. Qualifying was really good. The car felt really good. But in Q3, I had massive vibrations. Every time I hit the brakes the steering wheel was shuddering. It's a bit weird. Hopefully we can solve it by the race."

1405: Some humble pie being eaten live on air by Eddie Jordan, who predicted at the start of the season that a Kers car would never take pole position. Barring disaster, Lewis Hamilton should win tomorrow's race. He looks unstoppable.

From yorker_129-7 on 606: "Wow. Hamilton, pressure on, pulls out over half a second on the Brawns and Red Bulls. Astonishing. Is this track to Hamilton what Turkey is for Massa?"

1401: Breathtaking finish to the session as first Mark Webber then Sebastian Vettel took top spot to raise hopes of a one-two for Red Bull - but Lewis Hamilton sliced more than half a second off Vettel's time with a glorious last lap to claim pole. Rubens Barrichello fourth ahead of Brawn team-mate Jenson Button.


Chequered flag
1400: Flag out, but it's not over. Lewis Hamilton will be the last man over the line...

1358: Jenson Button down in fifth - but he has one lap left to nail it. Still Hamilton at the top. Chequered flag seconds away.

1357: Two minutes left - and Rubens Barrichello snatches top, but Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber are responding.

1356: That's not in the plan. Lewis Hamilton running wide at turn 17. Jarno Trulli in P1 now, with Hamilton 10th.

1354: Lewis Hamilton is playing it cool. He'll be the last of the 10 runners to set a time. Meanwhile, Nick Heidfeld is keeping his P1 warm.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Jenson Button certainly has the aggression. He's desperate to win one more race this season to validate his world championship. But he found he had a problem getting heat into the tyres in Q2. He's going to do a few more laps with a full tank now to get some heat in."

1350: Away we go then. Eddie Jordan has really stuck his neck out. "It's not beyond the realms of possibility that we could have two British world champions on the front row."

From welwynrv on Twitter: "My little flutter on Buemi is looking good at the moment."

1344: The top three are Lewis Hamilton, Seb Vettel and Jenson Button, which is how BBC commentator Jonathan Legard believes Sunday's race will end.

Chequered flag
1342: Q2 over and we lose: Jaime Alguersuari, Kazuki Nakajima, Heikki Kovalainen, Kamui Kobayashi, and get this: Kimi Raikkonen.

1340: I tell a lie: Hamilton's time was good enough only for third. All change though because Vettel is now top ahead of Button and Webber. Kovalainen, Heidfeld, Nakajima, Alguersuari and Rosberg in the drop zone with a minute remaining.

1338: Gearbox problem for Kovalainen apparently - which is a big blow for McLaren, who were hopeful of locking out the front row today. The bottom five: Nakajima, Alguersuari, Vettel, Rosberg, Kobayashi. Mark Webber zips up the top - but he's about to be usurped by that man Hamilton.

1336: Heikki Kovalainen's McLaren is being pushed off the circuit. Not sure what happened there. He is currently third, but there are five minutes remaining.

Force India's Adrian Sutil on BBC Radio 5 live: "It was a short session with a lot of problems for us. We didn't have any grip at all. It was a struggle to keep the car on the circuit."

1334: Lewis Hamilton is going to try to get through Q2 on the softer tyre. He is now P1, ahead of Sebastien Buemi.

Fernando Alonso on BBC Radio 5 live: "Hopefully tomorrow we can have a good race with plenty of overtaking manoeuvres the track is quite wide so there should be places to get past people."

Giancarlo Fisichella on BBC Radio 5 live: "It was a difficult situation being out there with no grip. I was only a tenth slower than Kimi up until the last sector, but then there was a lot of understeer and the car wouldn't work so unfortunately I didn't get through."

1331: "I thought we would see more from Heikki in qualifying," says Martin Brundle as the Finn goes top with a 1:40.983. Only two times on the board though.

1325: Away we go again with the 15 minutes of Q2. Kovalainen and Buemi quickly out of the traps.

From abuelopaul on 606: "Re 1207: Moment of the season was Ross filling up on the pit wall when trying to express his feelings last week. Genuine emotion, take note Mr Ecclestone."

BBC pundit Eddie Jordan: "Nelson Piquet Jr, to me, is a far, far superior driver to [his replacement at Renault] Romain Grosjean."

1324: Lewis Hamilton is half a second quicker than second-placed Jenson Button after that stunning lap. By contrast, his McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen is down in ninth.

1322: Shocker there for double world champ Alonso, his worst qualifying effort of the season. Didn't expect to lose both Force Indias either. As for Romain Grosjean and Giancarlo Fisichella, well...

Chequered flag
1321: First session over and we lose: Giancarlo Fisichella, Romain Grosjean, Adrian Sutil, Vitantonio Liuzzi, and get this: Fernando Alonso.

1319: A minute remaining, and Fisichella is still propping up the table. Both Force Indias in trouble too, along with Kazuki Nakajima and Romain Grosjean.

1317: Yep, there he goes. The camera finds Romain Grosjean going the wrong way after clattering a kerb.

1315: Five minutes remaining and Giancarlo Fisichella is rock bottom in the Ferrari. He is joined in the drop zone by: Rosberg, Liuzzi, Kobayashi and Grosjean. Rosberg?

1313: Can Lewis Hamilton dip under 1:40...? Oh yes. Purples all the way round and he sticks a magnificent 1:39.873 at the top. Vettel up to third now, Webber eighth.

1310: The Red Bulls have finally decided to join the action. Mark Webber nips up to 14th, but he is way off the pace being set by Lewis Hamilton flying.

1309: Heikki Kovalainen goes sideways but avoids any barriers. Bottom five: Buemi, Fisi, Grosjean, Webber, Vettel.

1306: The Romain Grosjean party is over. He's slid back into familiar territory (ie the drop zone). Jenson Button now top.

1304: Hang on. Romain Grosjean is in P1. The trusty 606-ers plus macmaccaman on Twitter reckon Adelaide 1995 for the last British front row of Hill and Coulthard. That was also the last race of that season and the title had already been decided.

1300: Twilight qualifying is under way. My tip: Grosjean to go off.

From eaurouge94 on Twitter: "Hamilton for pole with Button just behind. Buemi and Kobayashi to shock everyone and make the top 10!"

From mysteriousblablabla on 606: "Hill and Coulthard... 1995?"

1249: When was the last time there was an all-British front row? asks yorker_129-7 on 606. No idea. Anyone?

Text in your views on 81111
From anon via text on 81111: "Re 1207: For me it's got to be either Mark Webber standing on the top step at last, and that radio transmission! Or maybe Jake and co getting mobbed by Brawn mechanics singing! Great season!"

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Abu Dhabi: "What can we expect from the last qualifying session of the season? McLaren are the form team on the Abu Dhabi circuit with both drivers doing well in practice. Lewis Hamilton is a lot of F1 experts' favourite to win the inaugural GP here, especially because the track has the longest straight in F1 - at 1173m - and that means the Mercedes Kers energy boost system should be a huge advantage here. The rest of the teams will be thinking how best to take on McLaren during qualifying and how much fuel they have on board in the final session as they work out how to try and jump them at the pit-stops. We await."

From RichieParf on Twitter: "Favourite moment? Felipe Baby. Nuff said."

1233: Remember Sebastien Bourdais? No, me neither.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Abu Dhabi: "Hello again. I've just been on a fact-finding mission in the paddock and I have to say it's a brave person who is out and about in that heat - and it's 4pm here! Anyway those brave people parading themselves under the glare of the desert sunlight were double world champion Mika Hakkinen, former team boss Dave Richards, Lewis Hamilton's squeeze and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger - dressed in a wise floaty, beige dress - and new FIA president Jean Todt - dressed unwisely in a blue long-sleeved shirt and suspiciously thick-looking beige trousers. There was one man who has decided to minimise his exertions by travelling about in a golf buggy. That man nearly ran me over. That man was, of course, Bernie Ecclestone."

1229: During that Silverstone piece on BBC1, I swear I heard Bernie Ecclestone say "there are things I can't afford". Er...

From James, Cornwall, via text on 81111: "Favourite moment has to be Jenson Button running around Monaco trying to get to the podium!"

1228: Sounds kind of promising on the Silverstone front, no? Would be odd not having a British Grand Prix on the calendar. Like the tennis tour not going to Wimbledon.

More from Hill on Silverstone's future: "Silverstone has been going to the ends of the earth to secure the future of the grand prix. It needs to be recognised for the contribution it's made to sport. We need to decide if we see venues as key elements and stakeholders in sport."

Damon Hill (President of BRDC, owners of Silverstone): "I'm not involved in the discussions [with Bernie Ecclestone] but I've been keeping abreast of them - and we're very close, that's all I can say. Ultimately it comes down to a little bit of give on the negotiations and we're nearly there, but until it's done, there's a bit of nervousness that we might not get there."

From ponchoflute on Twitter: "Moment of the season has to be Melbourne, that was the real fairytale, from the ashes to victory, one of the best F1 stories."

From PompeyCanuck on Twitter: "One of the things that I enjoyed most this season was seeing Sutil finally get points after coming so close before."

Text in your views on 81111
From Dan, Nailsea, via text on 81111: "Favourite memory? Has to be either the look of panic on Jake's face when he was presenting his first post-race interview and Richard Branson swore live on TV, or Kimi in the Ferrari garage grabbing an ice cream at Malaysia. Priceless."

From whysogreen on Twitter: "My fave moment has to be Grosjean greeting the turn 17 wall in Singapore."

1207: When I left you, I asked for your favourite memories of the 2009 season. You can let me know on 81111, on Twitter or on 606. I've been racking my brains for my own, and I can't look past one man: Luca Badoer. I particularly enjoyed his parting shot as he was dumped after two races. "I only have one regret - from the third grand prix I would have done better." We will never know... although actually...

1200: One hour until the last qualifying session of the 2009 season. Can world champion Jenson Button claim pole for the first time since Monaco way back in May?

1107: Haha. I think we'd all like to see this so-called risque dancing, right? Make it happen, Jake, make it happen. Little break for you now during which I hope you'll be coming up with your favourite bits of the 2009 season as we continue the end-of-term theme. Back here at 1200 GMT sharp.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt tweeting from Abu Dhabi: "...end of term fever is setting in at BBC HQ where Jake Humphrey's risque dancing upset Lee McKenzie."

1102: Lewis Hamilton is a whopping two-thousands of a second slower than Button. But what can Rubens Barrichello do? He can go third - so world champion Jenson Button is the quickest man in final practice. Romain Grosjean spins AGAIN, this time at turn one. He must be dizzy.

1059: It's a battle of Britain at the top as Jenson Button posts a 1:40.625 to topple Lewis Hamilton. But Hamilton is on another flier.

1057: Couple of minutes remaining now and Lewis Hamilton takes a tenth out of Sebastien Buemi with a 1:40.810 - and Romain Grosjean spins at turn six. Plus ca change.

BBC Sport's Lee McKenzie tweeting from Abu Dhabi: "Just getting ready to brave the heat and head out for our last qualy show of the year!"

1051: Sebastien Buemi now the man in P1, taking us to 1:40.934. Hamilton, Sutil, Vettel follow. Ferrari are getting ready to send Giancarlo Fisichella out for qualifying simulation. They are desperate to get the Italian into Q2 at least.

1046: Brilliant. Here's Nick Heidfeld, owner of my favourite "voice while on the car radio". He sounds miserable as sin as he admits to his BMW team he's struggling to get to grips with the track.

BBC Sport pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "The atmosphere in the paddock is great. Lots of smiley, happy drivers about. Jenson Button's dad John - known in Japan as Papa Button - was just telling me how much he is enjoying the Abu Dhabi experience. He says he has never been so relaxed and it is like being a spectator this weekend now that Jenson has reached his life-time goal by becoming world champion."

1041: Less than 20 minutes remaining and Lewis Hamilton still top of the pops with a 1:41.026, which is three-tenths quicker than Vettel. Then: Buemi, Raikkonen, Kovalainen, Webber. Vettel tells his Red Bull he's quite happy. As he should be.

BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "It's a massive weekend for Ferrari - with Ferrari World over the other side of the circuit and Abu Dhabi-based company Mubadala one of their main sponsors. But Fisichella is 19th and Raikkonen is mid-table so it's not surprising that when Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo sees a slow sector, he winces."

Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari: "The track has nothing special - just a main straight and tight corners, nothing else. It's a pity we couldn't run today. Hopefully we have a nice qualifying."

1030: Jaime Alguersuari's Toro Rosso has hydraulic failure so his session is in tatters.

1027: Jenson Button is followed by fellow Brit and former world champ Lewis Hamilton. Nice. Button goes top but is swiftly toppled by Hamilton with a 1:41.270.

1025: Sebastien Buemi takes six-tenths out of Heikki Kovalainen's best time to go top, and the Finn slides quickly down to sixth. Seb Vettel goes off at turn one, following Jarno Trulli.

1022: Heikki Kovalainen has a wobble in his McLaren, which ruins his chances of bringing his best time down. He's still top though, with a 1:43.046.

From DeanoBarlow on Twitter: "Think it's an excellent shopping window for the unsigned drivers, should be an interesting weekend, with maybe some surprises."

1017: Cars back on track. Kimi Raikkonen sets an early marker with a 1:45.378. Not much of a marker: Heikki Kovalainen's quickest time in second practice was 1:41.307.

Red Bull's Mark Webber: "Brazil was a nice weekend. I was in good shape all weekend and it was a good day for the team. The track here is pretty good. I'd like a bit more quick stuff, a few more braver sections, but it's a phenomenal complex. The chances for us are looking pretty good."

1008: Everyone's had a little look at the track and retreated back to the garages. Looks awfully hot out there.

1004: Worth checking out the Sun this morning: F1 makes not one, but two appearances on the Bizarre pages. James Corden has filmed a piece with the Brawn team for Sport Relief. More importantly, Lewis Hamilton has this to say about girlfriend and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger: "When I first met her I mentioned her huge talent and how incredibly beautiful she is. But she also has the biggest heart, gives me nothing but love, and looks after me. 'Don't Cha' is pretty wicked. Now I can say 'Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like mine?'"

1000: Green light is not even on and Giancarlo Fisichella is already making his way down the pit lane. And we're off.

BBC Sport's Jake Humphrey tweeting from Abu Dhabi: "Hiya guys. This is it...the final all ends here...the last stop of the year...16 down..1 to go...time to go out on a high!!!"

BBC analyst Anthony Davidson: "I think it's a track the drivers are enjoying. It's not the most challenging but it's good enough and coupled with how it looks, I think it's a winner."

Get involved on 606
From Noobleton on 606: "This might just be wishful thinking, but I reckon Sutil could be a dark horse for pole, or at least the front row. Probably wishful thinking."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Abu Dhabi: "Morning! If possible it feels even hotter out here in the desert - so good luck to those drivers in third practice, who already have to sweat it out through 50C temperatures in their cockpits in normal climes. The desert dust has provided a bit of fun - well, we think it was fun - in the drivers' car park this morning. Someone has written "over-worked and underpaid" on new world champion Jenson Button's road car. He's not signed a contract yet for 2010 with Brawn - is this a new negotiating technique? If it works, I'll try a similar tactic when I return to my Volkswagen in west London."

Text in your views on 81111
From Dan, Nailsea, via text on 81111: "Morning Cheese! I got a feeling Kobayashi has genuine fast pace here, and could be the one to watch today..."

0940: Now then, it's about time you did some work isn't it? Text 81111, tweet on Twitter or 606 on 606.

0937: Had an email from a friend in Abu Dhabi this morning describing the new circuit as "like a video game on steroids". Nice. Final practice - of the 2009 season in fact - is up in 23 minutes. Qualifying at 1300 GMT. Don't go anywhere. Unless you're working for the emergency services, in which case you are excused.

0930: Hello. Formula 1's great and good will have woken up in the luxurious five-star Yas Hotel. They will have marvelled at the white leather headboards of the beds, designed to resemble the billowing sails of a tall ship. They will have customised their mood lighting and wandered into the all-glass bathroom - with rain shower. They will have breakfasted in one of the nine fine restaurants. But they've missed a gloriously drizzly morning in Shepherds Bush. Oh yes.

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see also
Superb Hamilton storms to pole
31 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Abu Dhabi GP qualifying photos
31 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice results
14 Sep 09 |  Results
Kovalainen top as McLaren shine
30 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Abu Dhabi GP practice as it happened
30 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Discover the new Abu Dhabi track
17 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Zoom in and fly around Yas Marina
29 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
British GP deal very close - Hill
31 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Brawn 'confident' of strong 2010
30 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Williams turn to Cosworth engines
30 Oct 09 |  Formula 1

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