Nico Rosberg took his eleventh pole position of the season for the season finale in Abu Dhabi, beating his Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.386s, meaning the team took eighteen of the nineteen pole positions on offer, with the Abu Dhabi front-row lock-out being their twelfth of the year.
Rosberg felt the whole team performed amazingly during qualifying but knows the important part of the weekend is on Sunday, and he will be looking to the Williams team to try and get in between the two Mercedes drivers so he can claim his maiden World Drivers’ Championship.
“Thanks to the engineers, the set-up of my car was very much to my liking at the end,” insisted Rosberg. “We did an amazing job together. I had two great laps in Q3 – but qualifying is only one step to having a good weekend.
“I hope that I can continue my form from the last race and win but, as we all know, I need some help to take the title. It will be tough but these things happen a lot in sport. I will push flat out and keep the pressure high on Lewis to try to force him into a mistake like in Brazil and also hope that the Williams have a chance to be in between us. I already offered to pay for Valtteri to have a great wellness programme tonight so that he is fully relaxed and will put on a great performance tomorrow… let’s see what happens!
“I’m highly motivated and very happy about how today went for me. Finally I want to say thank you for all the support I’ve received out there. That’s new to me and a great feeling as I’ve never been in the situation of a Championship fight before.”
Hamilton felt his laps during the final part of qualifying were mistake-free but just not good enough to match the pace of his team-mate. He still enjoyed his session, and knows it is tomorrow that counts as he looks to secure his second World Drivers’ Championship.
“I didn’t have the best of laps today,” admitted Hamilton. “Q1 and Q2 were very good and I didn’t make any mistakes in Q3, it just wasn’t a good lap. I really enjoyed it though and the car was fantastic.
“Tomorrow is when it counts; my approach will be the same as always. I had very good pace throughout practice, particularly on the long runs, which gives me confidence for tomorrow. It’s not my style to settle for second place but we’ll need to decide how to play it.”