HRT have little to celebrate from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after Daniel Ricciardo retired three laps from the end with a broken alternator and Vitantonio Liuzzi finished last, over half a minute behind the rest of the field.
In fact, the biggest contribution the team made to the race today was when Ricciardo came into the pits ahead of Fernando Alonso, holding up the Ferrari driver, who was racing for the lead of the grand prix.
Looking back on his race though, Ricciardo did not mention this incident: “I had a pretty good take off at the start, passing Glock and getting right behind Trulli, and then I stayed on the inside for turn 1, which was probably a mistake as Glock overtook me on the outside,” he recalled. “There were a few moves that I should have maybe committed to a bit stronger. The pace was good but I lost a few places at the start and had to play catch up. I closed the gap with Tonio but then I couldn't get past him.
“For the second stint I was able to keep up with Glock. I was then caught in traffic and, three laps from the end, my car stopped. It was a shame to end the race prematurely but, overall, the pace was good and I was setting some good times so that's something to take into the next race”.
Liuzzi was still complaining of a balance problem today, just as he had done after qualifying: “The car was suffering from the same balance problems as yesterday,” said the Italian. “The team worked on the issue all night to try and fix it but, unfortunately, the car wasn't perfectly balanced today. There was understeer on left turns and oversteer on right turns which meant that it was hard to achieve a good race pace.
“We got off to a good start and made up a few positions but it was a difficult challenge. Still, I pushed until the very end and got the car past the checkered flag which is a positive thing. It was a difficult race but we got a decent result”.
Team boss Colin Kolles was understandably rather disappointed with the outcome of the race today: “Clearly, this is not the result we were hoping for at all after the performance level we’ve had over the past races but the drivers did everything they could,” he said. “We had a good pace. Tonio went for a one stop strategy, which proved not to be the best one in the end. Daniel, instead, was going for two stops and carried a really consistent pace racing Glock throughout the race. Unfortunately, he couldn’t finish the race three laps from the end because of an electrical problem. It is a real shame because he was doing a fantastic race. Now we have to look ahead to Brazil and expect not to have any of these problems again”.