The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit is unique in the Formula One calendar in that it is the only race that takes place during the twilight hours. Starting in the heat of the afternoon, the drivers will race into the night, switching from the harsh sunlight to spotlights.
The weather during the Abu Dhabi race is traditionally fine and sunny, and today's race looks set to be no different. The current weather forecast for race time is for sunny skies and a peak temperature of 90 degrees F (32 degrees C). Humidity levels are expected to be around 40 percent and some cloud scatter may appear.
While the ambient temperature may just be bearable, track temperatures can often reach close to 122 degrees F (50 degrees C). And as the temperatures start to cool as night approaches, teams will need to comprise between high-speed balance, straight-line speed and good traction when picking tires.
Sole tire supplier Pirelli has brought its P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tires, the same combination as 2011’s race.
The results of yesterday’s qualifying session were quite the surprise. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton proved fastest, and will start at pole today. Next to him on the grid will be Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber. The big surprise concerned reigning world champion and current points leader Sebastian Vettel, who will start at the back of the grid despite posting the third fastest time. This was due to his car not containing enough leftover fuel to return to parc ferme and provide the 1.0-liter mandatory sample for FIA testing.
His loss will be a boon for Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who has the best chance of stealing the world championship crown. He was seventh fastest yesterday, though now moves up to sixth on the grid.
Going into today's race, Sebastian Vettel leads the Drivers’ Championship with 240 points, followed closely by Fernando Alonso on 227 points. Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen remains a distant third with 173 points.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing remains the clear leader with a massive 407 points, followed by Ferrari with 316 points and McLaren not far behind with 310 points.