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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hamilton on pole in Abu Dhabi

Outgoing world champion Lewis Hamilton took pole for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, holding off the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the Yas Marina Circuit.

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Qualifying

Rubens Barrichello starts fourth and Jenson Button fifth in the Brawns. The BMW Saubers ended up at respectable seventh and eight in BMW's final race in F1, just behind the Toyota of Jarno Trulli in what is likely his last race for the Japanese manufacturer.

Among other drivers on the move, Kimi Raikkonen missed out on Q3, and will star 11th in his Ferrari swansong. He starts next to Toyota rookie Kamui Kobayashi. Nico Rosberg starts ninth in his last race for Williams, while Kazuki Nakajima, also exiting, slots into 12th.

A gearbox problem cost Heikki Kovalainen his chance in Q2, and a subsequent change sees him start 18th. Giancarlo Fisichella brings up the rear in his last race subbing for the injured Felipe Massa.

Like tomorrow's race, qualifying took place in the twilight. The weather forecast is calling for warm and dry, and the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix looks set to be a fitting finale to the season.

Grid and pre-race weights
  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 658.5kg
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 663
  3. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 660
  4. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 655
  5. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 657
  6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 661
  7. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 654.5
  8. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 664
  9. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 665
  10. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 661.5
  11. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 692
  12. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota, 694.3
  13. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 704
  14. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 696.5
  15. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 708.3
  16. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 695
  17. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 696
  18. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 697*
  19. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 710.8
  20. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, 692.5

*Heikki Kovalainen received a five-place grid penalty due to a gearbox change

Senna name set to return to the grid in 2010

Bruno Senna, nephew of Ayrton, has been confirmed by newcomers Campos Meta for 2010.

News first broke on Senna's Twitter page Friday:

"I'd like to thank God, my family, friends and all of my supporters!"

The team confirmed the deal in a statement Saturday.

"For Campos Meta it is an extraordinary honour to return the name of Senna to Formula One," Campos Meta's Enrique Rodriguez de Castro is quoted on the official formula one Web site.
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