Pascal Wehrlein will start what appears to be his final race with the Sauber F1 Team from eighteenth on the grid, with the German just over four-tenths of a second shy on advancing to Q2.
The Mercedes-Benz-protégé looks likely to be out of a drive in Formula 1 next season with Charles Leclerc looking increasingly likely to partner either Antonio Giovinazzi or Marcus Ericsson in the team in 2018, but he ended the year out-qualifying Ericsson by 0.064 seconds.
Wehrlein says he was struggling to get his Pirelli tyres into the right operating window during Qualifying thanks to the drop in temperature between final practice and Qualifying, and with conditions set to be similar on race day, he is hoping to turn his weekend around and end the year on a high.
“Qualifying today was alright,” said Wehrlein. “Of course, I am not satisfied with the qualifying result – however, we knew that we would have some difficulties getting the tyres into the right operating window due to the drop in temperature that occurs in Abu Dhabi in the afternoons.
“The race will be at the same time of day as today’s qualifying, so we will see what is possible. I will give my all to finish the race in the best possible position.”