Valtteri Bottas secured his fourth Formula 1 career pole position in qualifying for the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team team-mate Lewis Hamilton locking out the front-row.
Bottas, who was also on pole in Brazil last time out, first lap in Q3 was a 1:36.231s with Hamilton 0.172s slower than the Finn, with both Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing over half a second slower than the Mercedes duo.
On the final runs, Bottas aborted his lap after realising he was down on his time, affording Hamilton the chance to snatch his 12th pole of the season.
He was 0.009s quicker through Sector 2, but a mistake at the final corner lost the British driver time and secured Bottas pole.
Behind the Mercedes, Sebastian Vettel was third for Ferrari, three tenths slower than Hamilton, while a last-ditch effort from Daniel Ricciardo enabled him to pip Kimi Raikkonen for fourth.
Max Verstappen will start sixth for Red Bull, alongside Nico Hulkenberg for Renault Sport Formula 1 Team.
The two Sahara Force India’s will line up in eighth and ninth, Sergio Perez ahead of Esteban Ocon, with Felipe Massa 10th for Williams Martini Racing in his final Grand Prix.
Massa knocks Alonso out
In his 269th and final qualifying session, Massa was the only driver who could deny Fernando Alonso a Q3 shootout berth for McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team.
The Brazilian was 0.071s quicker than Alonso, who will start 11th, alongside fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz Jr in the Renault.
Alonso’s team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne was 13th quickest, while Kevin Magnussen’s long wait for a Q3 appearance goes on, having last reached the final segment in Brazil 2014, while driving for McLaren.
Stroll was the slowest driver of the 15th drivers in Q2, just over 0.4s slower than Magnussen.
Hamilton was fastest in the second segment, just 0.080s quicker than Bottas for Mercedes.
The four time champion had held a 0.235s advantage over his team-mate after the first runs, but a combination of him losing time and Bottas gaining reduced the deficit.
Vettel was third fastest, as all the drivers used the ultra-soft tyres, meaning that they will all start the race on that compound.
Stroll denies Grosjean at the death
The first 18 minutes of qualifying came down to Williams driver Lance Stroll, who was the last to complete his lap.
The Canadian was in the drop-zone in 18th place, but his lap was 0.013s quicker than Romain Grosjean’s Haas, who fell down to 16th place and was eliminated.
Grosjean was joined by both the Scuderia Toro Rosso and Sauber F1 Team drivers in failing to make Q2, with Pierre Gasly 17th fastest for Toro Rosso.
Pascal Wehrlein once again beat Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson in qualifying, while Brendon Hartley due to take a 10 place grid penalty, was the slowest of all.
Meanwhile, Bottas was just 0.035s quicker than Hamilton, with Raikkonen also within a tenth of the Mercedes’ 1:37.356s benchmark.
Due to the low tyre degradation, all the drivers were able to complete two flying laps on the ultrasoft tyre, with Bottas’s fastest time coming on the second lap of his only run.
|4th||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:36.959s|
|6th||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1;37.328s|
|8th||Sergio Perez||Force India||1:38.374s|
|9th||Esteban Ocon||Force India||1:38.397s|
|12th||Carlos Sainz Jr||Renault||1:38.725s|
|17th||Pierre Gasly||Toro Rosso||1:39.724s|
*10 place grid penalty applied