High drama continued into qualifying at Yas Marina this evening – not so much with Lewis Hamilton’s stunning lap of 1m40.630s to take pole position for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but with Sebastian Vettel being ordered to stop his Red Bull on the circuit before reaching parc ferme at the end of the session. As I write this, it remains to be seen if the grid order we have now, is how they will actually line up in just under 24 hours’ time.
Track temperature fell one click short of yesterday’s record-breaking mark of 48 degrees, but it was incredibly warm again and for the second day in a rwo there was the potential in the atmosphere for showers to build in the region. Prior to final practice I spent time monitoring a huge storm that had developed over the Persian Gulf. Thankfully that cell stayed over the water and eventually fizzled out, while just to the south-west of Abu Dhabi, two smaller showers appears then de-intensified in double-quick time.
Race day will start off dry with abundant sunshine and rapidly climbing temperatures. By early afternoon we should be up to a maximum ambient of 32 degrees.
Now, interestingly, there will be a slight rise in overall humidity levels tomorrow and given the heat this is likely to result in a few more showers developing over the United Arab Emirates as a whole. So rather than a zero percent risk we move up to around 10 to 15 percent chance of a shower reaching Yas Marina during the late afternoon. Make no mistake, it is an extremely low risk and the likelihood is that we will get a repeat of the last few days, with fine conditions for the 55-lap race.
A slightly stronger north-westerly breeze than compared to today may lead to a fine dust haze, so the early laps could prove interesting. Track temperature should start off around the mid-thirties Celsius range, dropping to 30 or 29 degrees as darkness falls during the event. The official sunset time tomorrow is 17:41 GST, so around lap 24 or thereabouts.
I will be on hand via the Twitter feed in the lead-up to the race and reporting if there is a distinct shower build-up. That’s it for the blog forecasts this week. Enjoy the race and I will be back on Monday 12th November with a completely new venue and location to play with (always interesting for a weather geek!), as the Formula 1 family touches down in Austin, Texas for the sport’s long-awaited return to the United States.