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Pre-Yas Marina analysis - drivers to revel in Abu Dhabi duel 11 Nov 2011

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Team Lotus and Timo Glock (GER) Virgin Racing. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Preparations, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday, 10 November 2011 Viceroy hotel at night.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Preparations, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday, 10 November 2011 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Lotus Renault GP and Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) HRT Formula 1 Team. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Preparations, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday, 10 November 2011 Sebastien Buemi (SUI) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Preparations, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday, 10 November 2011 (L to R): Paul di Resta (GBR) Sahara Force India Formula One Team talks with Gianpiero Lambiase (ITA) Sahara Force India F1 Engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Preparations, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday, 10 November 2011

The drivers - not least Fernando Alonso - are hoping that the two DRS zones at Yas Marina Circuit will make a big difference when it comes to overtaking this year.

“I think there will be good possibilities here to overtake, especially with DRS and it could make the race quite interesting,” Virgin’s Timo Glock says. “Let’s see, maybe we can overtake on the back of the field as well, the possibilities are much higher here.”

Vitaly Petrov, who was able to hold Alonso at bay throughout last year’s championship-deciding race, says he thinks it will be a very different situation this year with DRS and the Pirelli tyres.

“I think we need to forget already what’s happened last year here,” the Russian says. “I know I did a good race by myself to improve and to show the team I could stay for next year. It was not to use tactics against Fernando, and with the lack of overtaking here he couldn’t do anything.

“I think that DRS is definitely a big step forward. I think we will keep this for many years, five or 10 years. I think it’s a good chance for us to overtake and good for you to write something about overtaking, so I think it’s a good step.”

Sebastien Buemi, locked for Toro Rosso in battle with Force India and Sauber for sixth place in the constructors’ world championship, is also a DRS fan. “I think it’s definitely a positive. We’ve seen a lot more overtaking; we’ve even seen some overtaking in Monaco. It’s definitely good. Sometimes it feels like the DRS zone is not long enough but I definitely think it’s going to help a lot this weekend.”

The Swiss racer is up for this weekend’s fight. “We’ve got the same amount of points as Sauber so it is already good for us. We are 10 behind Force India. It was a shame what happened in India, but still I think we can continue to fight and the car is really quick now. We have a good qualifying pace. We were both in Q3 in India and then, also in the race, we are normally quite quick as well, so hopefully we can finish in the points and be in front of Sauber by the end of the weekend. Then for the last race we will see what we can do.”

Rookie Paul di Resta is out to keep Force India ahead, however, on a circuit where he’s already had plenty of experience testing the Pirellis.

“I think coming here obviously having a bit of experience isn’t negative, having done the Pirelli test last year,” the Scot says. “But, really, it’s all about the work you carry out on Friday and Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon in this case. We want to try and maintain position in the constructors’ championship and our performance has been very close to Toro Rosso and Sauber and Renault if we get it right, and really that’s our focus at the moment.

“I don’t think you can really give up on any approach. I think you have got to be fairly aggressive. Already this year we saw it change a lot. We are in a strong position at the moment but we are very focussed on trying to get our performance level and equally bring new updates if we can. Really just to try and maintain that. These guys seem to be very strong in the race and really me and Adrian (Sutil) are doing our upmost to try and grab as many points as we can and race against these guys.”

David Tremayne

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