Welcome to our live coverage of the final qualifying of the 2014 season from Abu Dhabi. Lewis Hamilton was fastest in both practice sessions on Friday, while Nico Rosberg took top spot in final practice this morning. The Mercedes duo have looked unbeatable this weekend, so will it be Rosberg or Hamilton who takes the final pole of the year?
Welcome to live updates from the final qualifying session of the F1 season in Abu Dhabi.
Mercedes have been the dominant team all weekend, with Nico Rosberg being fastest in final practice this morning.
Lewis Hamilton was quickest in both sessions on Friday, with Mercedes 1-2 in all three sessions so far.
Nico Rosberg has already clinched the inaugural Pole Position trophy this year after taking ten poles so far and will be looking for eleventh this afternoon.
Caterham have returned this weekend after a crowdfunding project by their administrators raised enough money for them to race.
Kamui Kobayashi has returned to the team for this event, and has been joined by Briton Will Stevens, who will make his F1 debut this weekend.
Unfortunately for Marussia fans, they remain absent, with their eleventh hour plan to race falling through at the last minute.
We had some positive news about Jules Bianchi this week however, with the Frenchman now out of his artificial coma and back in France after his horror crash in Suzuka.
With Caterham’s return, qualifying has once again been tweaked, with five cars being eliminated in both Q1 and Q2 before the final top ten shoot out.
Of course the big news this week has been Fernando Alonso’s departure and Sebastian Vettel’s arrival at Ferrari.
Vettel has signed a three year contract with Ferrari and will join Kimi Raikkonen in the team from 2015.
Alonso has still to confirm his future plans, with McLaren his likely destination, although no one is giving anything away.
Looking back at this mornings practice, Rosberg was over a second clear of the leading non-Mercedes driver, with Felipe Massa third for Williams.
Fernando Alonso was fourth despite completing only eight laps before Ferrari began changing the engine on his car ahead of qualifying.
Luckily for Alonso, he will not receive a penalty as the engine is one of his five allotted for the season.
Unfortunately, Romain Grosjean will be taking a penalty this weekend. The Lotus driver will drop 20 places after changing his Internal Combustion Engine, Turbo and MGU-H.
Should Grosjean not be able to take the whole penalty (and he’ll need to be on pole to do that!) the Frenchman will likely be forced to take time penalties during the race.
Red Bull have been forced to change Daniel Ricciardo’s Turbo during the break since FP3, but again with no penalty forthcoming.
Less than ten minutes until qualifying, and teams are making final preparations.
Pirelli have brought the Soft and Supersoft compounds to Abu Dhabi.
Will anyone be able to make it through to Q2 without using the Supersofts? Mercedes possibly… but from P3 back… possibly not.
The likelihood will see both Caterham drivers dropping out of Q1 but who will join them? Lotus and Sauber look the most likely.
Sauber are still looking to score their first points of 2014 this weekend. Should they not score, it will be the teams’ first season in F1 without a point, having debuted back in 1993.
And of course this weekend sees double points in play, with the championship to be decided on Sunday.
Seventeen points separate Lewis Hamilton from Nico Rosberg, with Rosberg knowing he has to win and hope Hamilton does not finish second, amongst a number of other scenarios.
This could be Jenson Button’s last qualifying session in Formula 1, with his McLaren future still undecided
Other drivers who we could be seeing for the last time include Sauber drivers Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez, both who already know they are leaving the team after this Grand Prix.
Sauber have already announced Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr for 2015.
The first part of Qualifying is underway at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Will Stevens is the first driver on track for Caterham.
Sergio Perez and the two McLaren’s are also out early.
The sun is already beginning to set in Abu Dhabi.
Plenty of drivers now on track.
Sergio Perez is the first driver to set a time – 1:43.856s
Will Stevens sets his first qualifying lap of 1:45.781s.
Magnussen faster than McLaren team-mate Button on his first lap.
Rosberg smashes a 1:41.308s on the supersofts. Looks like they will be the tyre of choice to make it through to Q2.
Rosberg’s lap was over 1 second faster than Valtteri Bottas who went second.
Hamilton then beats Rosberg’s time by a tenth of a second.
Neither Red Bull have yet taken to the track.
With ten minutes remaining, Hamilton leads Rosberg, Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa
Massa’s second quick lap put him ahead of Hulkenberg and into fourth.
A lot of drivers have yet to bolt on the Supersofts, so lap times could drop significantly later in the session.
Maldonado goes P10 for Lotus on the Supersofts.
Grosjean goes faster than his team-mate and goes P8.
Both Red Bull’s are now on track for their first runs.
As well as the Red Bull’s, both Caterham’s are in the drop zone as well as Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari.
The supersoft tyres are now the weapon of choice, with everyone now using them for their second runs.
Vettel goes fourth on his first quick lap for Red Bull.
Ricciardo moves into third, but is almost a second slower than Hamilton at the top.
Both Ferrari’s now in the drop zone.
Perez moves out of the drop zone into 8th, Button now P16 and out as we speak.
There are still three minutes to rectify this however.
Raikkonen escapes the drop zone in confident fashion, moving up to fifth.
Button goes P3, 0.930s behind Hamilton however.
Magnussen then goes ahead of Button. Half a second currently splits P3 and P11.
The Mercedes drivers did not go back on track after their first runs, and not surprising with such a gap to the rest of the field.
The chequered flag is out, but more lap times to come.
Out in Q1 – P16 – Grosjean, P17 – Gutierrez, P18 – Maldonado, P19 – Kobayashi, P20 – Stevens.
We have lost both Lotus drivers, one Sauber and both Caterham drivers.
Good final lap for Massa, with the Brazilian getting within 3 tenths of a second of the Mercedes duo.
Grosjean will be forced to take a drive-through penalty during the race with the Frenchman only able to take four places of his twenty place grid penalty.
The times will now reset for the second part of qualifying, with another five drivers to drop out from that session.
only three tenths of a second separated P4 from P13 in Q1, meaning we could be in for an exciting second session.
Even Adrian Sutil in P16 was only six tenths of a second behind P4.
Valtteri Bottas was the only driver to get through Q1 on the Soft Pirelli tyres.
Qualifying two is underway, but no one is eager to get out on track.
Sergio Perez is the first driver out on track in Q2.
all fifteen drivers now on track, the Force India’s the first two likely to set a quick lap time.
Perez sets a 1:42.467s for the first time, with Hulkenberg almost eight tenths slower.
Massa goes top with a 1:41.575s, slightly slower than in Q1 but still a good lap.
Hamilton goes into the 1:40s, with a 1:40.920s, while Rosberg makes a mistake and is forced to abort his lap.
A few drivers making small mistakes as the track evolves.
Rosberg’s first lap was half a second slower than Hamilton but still good for P2.
Williams beginning to show their hand, with Bottas and Massa third and fourth.
Neither McLaren have yet set a time and are both back in the pits.
Currently in the drop zone with just over 5 minutes to go are Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Sutil and the two McLarens.
On the cusp are the two Toro Rosso’s with Kvyat and Vergne P9 and P10.
Button was forced to abort his first quick lap after being told to pit to top up with fuel.
Magnussen now on his first flying lap with less than three minutes to go.
Inside the final two minutes of qualifying 2.
Hamilton, Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo all remaining in the pits, though both Williams cars are on track despite being P3 and P4.
Button moves into P6 with his first flying lap, Magnussen P9.
The chequered flag is out. More times to come…
Massa and Bottas go 2nd and 3rd after a final flurry.
Out in Q2 – P11 – Magnussen, P12 – Vergne, P13 – Perez, P14 – Hulkenberg, P15 – Sutil
Bad news for Magnussen with his future still up in the air.
Good performance once more from Daniil Kvyat, who went P8 for Toro Rosso.
Kimi Raikkonen just scraped into Q3 by just 0.030s.
Now we prepare for the all important final qualifying session of the year.
Will it be Rosberg or Hamilton, or can Williams shock everyone and take top spot?
Bottas first on track, followed by pretty much everyone except Raikkonen.
The Williams drivers now on their first quick laps of Q3, can they get amongst the two Mercedes drivers this evening?
Bottas’ first lap is a 1:41.321s, with Massa’s a 1:41.119s.
Nico Rosberg goes fastest with a 1:40.697s.
Hamilton makes a mistake in the final corner and slips into second, three-tenths slower than Rosberg.
Still no sign of Raikkonen
After the first runs, Rosberg leads Hamilton, Massa, Bottas and Ricciardo.
Vettel, Button, Alonso, Kvyat and Raikkonen complete the top ten so far.
Ricciardo the first driver to come out for his second run, followed by team-mate Vettel, while Kimi Raikkonen makes his first appearance of the session.
Rosberg is the first Mercedes driver to appear back on track, with Hamilton not far behind him.
Rosberg has the advantage so far, but can Hamilton do anything about the three tenths of a second gap in the final run?
Massa and Bottas have an outside chance of pole position, but might be under threat themselves from Red Bull should they make any errors.
The chequered flag is out. More times to come…
Bottas goes P3, only 0.004s slower than Hamilton.
Rosberg goes faster with a 1:40.480s. Massa stays fourth.
Hamilton stays second, and Nico Rosberg has his eleventh pole position of 2014!
Qualifying result: 1 – Rosberg, 2 – Hamilton, 3 – Bottas, 4 – Massa, 5 – Ricciardo, 6 – Vettel, 7 – Kvyat, 8 – Button, 9 – Raikkonen, 10 – Alonso.
Raikkonen has out-qualified Alonso for only the fourth time in 2014.
Daniil Kvyat an excellent seventh ahead of Jenson Button.
And its two-by-two formation at the front. Mercedes 1-2, Williams 3-4, Red Bull 5-6.
Nico Rosberg will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from pole position from Lewis Hamilton.
Can he go on and take the title tomorrow? Join TCF tomorrow and find out!