Lewis Hamilton was nearly four tenths adrift of his teammate.
Mercedes’ driver, Nico Rosberg has the upper hand going into the FIA Formula One 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tomorrow, as the German driver pipped his team mate and championship rival, Lewis Hamilton to pole position in qualifying today.
Rosberg’s qualifying result also means that he has secured his 11th pole position of the season and has set the marker to Hamilton, as they go head-to-head in the race tomorrow and at the end of the 55 lap marathon one of them will become the 2014 World Champion.
Williams not far behind
Williams’ driver, Valtteri Bottas followed behind the Mercedes duo and qualified in third place to complete the top three. Bottas will be accompanied by his team mate, Felipe Massa on the second row of the grid as the Brazilian driver landed fourth place for himself ahead of the race tomorrow.
The theme of inter-team battles continued within the top 10 as the Red Bull pair, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel came next in the line-up for the grid. Ricciardo and Vettel qualified in fifth and sixth place respectively.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat claimed seventh place for himself at the end of Q3. The Russian driver will be joined by McLaren’s Jenson Button on the fourth row of the grid, as the 2009 World Champion qualified in eighth place.
Ferrari has poor showing
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen pipped his team mate, Fernando Alonso in qualifying as he secured a higher grid slot for himself. The Finnish driver ended Q3 in ninth place and his Spanish team mate, Alonso trailed behind him to take the 10th and final possible point scoring position on the grid for the race start.
Beyond the top 10, the rest of the field were left to battle over 11th to 20th place during Q1 and Q2. Button’s team mate, Kevin Magnussen and Kvyat’s team mate, Jean-Eric Vergne are among those who will begin the race outside a point scoring position.
Grosjean faces penalty
Lotus Renault’s Romain Grosjean is the only driver at present, who faces a penalty going into the race tomorrow. The Frenchman was issued with a 20 place penalty for an engine change and other related amendments to his car. As Grosjean qualified in 16th place, he cannot serve the 20 place penalty in full and it cannot be carried over to another race with it being the last one of the season tomorrow. It is therefore suspected that Grosjean will face a time penalty during the race, as an alternative means of serving the original 20 place penalty issued by the stewards. Grosjean is also due to begin the race from the back of the grid as a result of the penalty.
Grosjean will have the Caterham pair of Kamui Kobayashi and Will Stevens close by. Stevens is making his Formula One race debut this weekend. Stevens has competed in the Formula Renault 3.5 series and is known in the paddock for being reserve driver for the Marussia team. The Caterham team have been given the opportunity to participate in the Grand Prix this weekend as a result of a crowd funding initiative which led them to raise enough to compete.
When the final race of the season gets under way tomorrow, it is certain that all eyes will be on Rosberg and Hamilton, as they battle against each other on the track and when the chequered flag is waved at the end of the race one of them will take the 2014 Drivers’ title.
In order for Hamilton to ensure that his current hold of the Drivers’ Championship is secured, the Englishman has to finish in second place or higher. For Rosberg to take the ultimate prize away from Hamilton, the German driver has to win the race and Hamilton would have to finish in third place or lower. It remains to be seen which of the Mercedes drivers will hold their nerve under the pressure in their quest to finish the season with the best result possible.