Yas Marina’s reputation as an overtaking-free zone was cemented by its latest race.
Only drivers with a huge performance advantage over other cars – in the region of two seconds – were able to overtake. This was the problem Lewis Hamilton reflected on before the race when explaining how difficult it would be to hold up Nico Rosberg and encourage others to overtake his team mate.
Hamilton backed off so much at the end of the race that even Max Verstappen, whose tyres were seven laps older, was able to catch the Mercedes. At one point he was set a lap time target of 1’45.1 but delivered laps of 1’45.779, 1’45.831 and 1’45.946.
Because Hamilton was dictating such a slow pace variations on the normal two-stop strategy became realistic and the two drivers who exploited them benefitted. Sebastian Vettel ran a long middle stint and switched to super-softs at the end, and used the performance advantage to rise from sixth to third. By the time he caught Rosberg, however, his tyres were already beginning to fade, thwarting Hamilton’s hopes he would pass Rosberg.
Another driver who used an unorthodox strategy to great effect was Max Verstappen. By converting to a one-stop strategy he was able to salvage fourth place having fallen to last after his lap one spin.
2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix lap chart
The positions of each driver on every lap. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan, click name to highlight, right-click to reset. Toggle drivers using controls below:
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2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race chart
The gaps between each driver on every lap compared to the leader’s average lap time. Very large gaps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan and right-click to reset. Toggle drivers using controls below:
2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
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