On-fire Rosberg storms to Abu Dhabi Pole

Nico Rosberg drove a superb final lap to secure his sixth consecutive pole position and to deny team-mate Lewis Hamilton once more in Abu Dhabi qualifying on Saturday.

The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS drivers were once again the class of the field, with Rosberg taking top spot during the first runs during the final phase of qualifying, before Hamilton assumed top spot with a time of 1m40.614s.

Rosberg did not let this phase him however, and he was able to better his team-mate’s time by 0.377s for one of his more impressive qualifying efforts in recent times.

Kimi Raikkonen was the best of the rest for the Scuderia Ferrari team, snatching third with his final lap, beating Sergio Perez, who had initially looked set to secure his career best qualifying effort for the Sahara Force India team only to see Raikkonen jump ahead.

Daniel Ricciardo secured fifth for Infiniti Red Bull Racing, 1.207s back on Rosberg’s pace, just ahead of the leading Williams Martini Racing entry of Valtteri Bottas, who is looking to secure fourth in the championship and sits only one point ahead of his fellow Finn Raikkonen.

Nico Hulkenberg was unable to match his Force India team-mate Perez, finishing the session in seventh, ahead of the second Williams of Felipe Massa, while Daniil Kvyat recovered from missing final practice to make it into the top ten shootout for Red Bull.

Carlos Sainz Jr gave himself just one flying lap in Q3 for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team, but could only manage tenth, while team-mate Max Verstappen was eliminated in the final seconds of Q2 when he was leapfrogged by Sainz, and was unable to improve his time enough to get back ahead, with the Dutch teenager missing out on making it through to Q3 by just 0.039s.

Jenson Button had one of his better qualifying performances of the season to qualify his McLaren-Honda in twelfth, ahead of Pastor Maldonado in the leading of the Lotus F1 Team drivers, while Felipe Nasr could only finish fourteenth for the Sauber F1 Team, with the Brazilian unable to improve on his time from Q1.

Romain Grosjean did not set a lap time during Q2 in his final qualifying session for the Lotus team before heading to the Haas F1 Team in 2016, aborting his first attempt before stopping on track on his out-lap when he lost all drive, with the Frenchman therefore set to start fifteenth.

Sebastian Vettel endured a nightmare session, finding himself eliminated from the first phase of qualifying, with the Ferrari driver finding himself on the wrong side of the cut off point by 0.012s when first Button and then Grosjean found time on their final Q1 lap times.

Fernando Alonso was another driver to be disappointed at the end of Q1, with the McLaren driver being forced to abort his final attempt to improve his time when he appeared to run over some debris on circuit that caused him to suffer a puncture, meaning the Spaniard qualified only seventeenth.

Marcus Ericsson was also eliminated, with the Sauber F1 Team driver also aborting his final run when his team called him back into the pits having spotted a problem on his car.

Completing the field were the two Manor F1 Team drivers, with Will Stevens, who made his Formula 1 debut at this circuit in 2014, 1.137s faster than team-mate Roberto Merhi, back in the car in place of Alexander Rossi, who is completing his season in the GP2 Series at the circuit this weekend.

Yas Marina Circuit Qualifying Result

16Nico RosbergGERMercedes1m40.237s12
244Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes1m40.614s12
37Kimi RaikkonenFINFerrari1m41.051s14
411Sergio PerezMEXForce India/Mercedes1m41.184s18
53Daniel RicciardoAUSRed Bull/Renault1m41.444s17
677Valtteri BottasFINWilliams/Mercedes1m41.656s19
727Nico HulkenbergGERForce India/Mercedes1m41.686s15
819Felipe MassaBRZWilliams/Mercedes1m41.759s20
926Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull/Renault1m41.933s22
1055Carlos Sainz JrESPToro Rosso/Renault1m42.708s17
--Eliminated in Q2----
1133Max VerstappenNEDToro Rosso/Renault1m42.521s14
1222Jenson ButtonGBRMcLaren/Honda1m42.668s12
1313Pastor MaldonadoVENLotus/Mercedes1m42.807s13
1412Felipe NasrBRZSauber/Ferrari1m43.614s14
158Romain GrosjeanFRALotus/MercedesNo Time11
--Eliminated in Q1----
165Sebastian VettelGERFerrari1m42.941s7
1714Fernando AlonsoESPMcLaren/Honda1m43.187s5
189Marcus EricssonSWESauber/Ferrari1m43.838s7
1928Will StevensGBRManor/Ferrari1m46.297s7
2098Roberto MerhiESPManor/Ferrari1m47.434s8