Rosberg storms to Abu Dhabi Pole

by Paul Hensby

Nico Rosberg took his eleventh pole position of the season as he beat his Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team-mate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton in an exciting qualifying session in Abu Dhabi.

Rosberg needs to win the race on Sunday and hope that something happens to Hamilton that stops the Briton finishing second, and a few cars are within touching distance of the Mercedes duo.

The German’s lap of 1:40.480s was enough to beat his British team-mate by 0.386s, while the Williams Martini Racing duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were closer behind than anyone expected in third and fourth.

Bottas was only 0.545s adrift in third, while Massa was 0.094s further back in fourth after both drivers split the Mercedes duo during the second part of qualifying.

After the two Mercedes and the two Williams came the two Infiniti Red Bull Racing machines, with Daniel Ricciardo out-qualifying Sebastian Vettel by 0.626s, while Vettel’s 2015 replacement within the team Daniil Kvyat seventh for Scuderia Toro Rosso just 0.015s behind Vettel.

McLaren’s Jenson Button will start what could be his final grand prix from eighth, while Scuderia Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso completed the top ten.

The second of McLaren of Kevin Magnussen missed out on Q3 by just 0.030s, with Jean-Eric Vergne qualifying twelfth in the second Toro Rosso, ahead of the two Sahara Force India drivers of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.

Sauber driver Adrian Sutil pulled a good lap out in Q1 to knock out the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, who will start last after his grid penalty for an engine change and will be forced to serve a drive-through penalty early in the race.

Esteban Gutierrez will start sixteenth in the second Sauber ahead of Pastor Maldonado, with Kamui Kobayashi and Will Stevens eighteenth and nineteenth for Caterham, half a second apart.

Abu Dhabi Qualifying Times

1 6 Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes 1:41.308 1:41.459 1:40.480
2 44 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes 1:41.207 1:40.920 1:40.866
3 77 Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams-Mercedes 1:42.346 1:41.376 1:41.025
4 19 Felipe Massa BRZ Williams-Mercedes 1:41.475 1:41.144 1:41.119
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:42.204 1:41.692 1:41.267
6 1 Sebastian Vettel GER Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:42.495 1:42.147 1:41.893
7 26 Daniil Kvyat RUS STR-Renault 1:42.302 1:42.082 1:41.908
8 22 Jenson Button GBR McLaren-Mercedes 1:42.137 1:41.875 1:41.964
9 7 Kimi Räikkönen FIN Ferrari 1:42.439 1:42.168 1:42.236
10 14 Fernando Alonso ESP Ferrari 1:42.467 1:41.940 1:42.866
11 20 Kevin Magnussen DEN McLaren-Mercedes 1:42.104 1:42.198
12 25 Jean-Eric Vergne FRA STR-Renault 1:42.413 1:42.207
13 11 Sergio Perez MEX Force India-Mercedes 1:42.654 1:42.239
14 27 Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India-Mercedes 1:42.444 1:42.384
15 99 Adrian Sutil GER Sauber-Ferrari 1:42.746 1:43.074
16 8 Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus-Renault 1:42.768
17 21 Esteban Gutierrez MEX Sauber-Ferrari 1:42.819
18 13 Pastor Maldonado VEN Lotus-Renault 1:42.860
19 10 Kamui Kobayashi JAP Caterham-Renault 1:44.540
20 46 Will Stevens GBR Caterham-Renault 1:45.095


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