Abu Dhabi GP: Hamilton takes pole from Rosberg for title decider

Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after lapping three tenths clear of F1 title rival Nico Rosberg in qualifying.

Hamilton lapped the Yas Marina circuit in 1m38.755s, and set two Q3 laps that were good enough for pole. It was Hamilton's fourth consecutive F1 pole.

Rosberg was 0.303s slower, with Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo snatching third from Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen on his final run.

The second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel will start fifth, ahead of Max Verstappen, who went off the track on his final run at Turn 11.

Both Red Bulls will start the race on the supersoft Pirelli tyres, unlike everyone else in the top 10 who set their best times in Q2 on ultrasofts.

Story of the top-10 shootout

Hamilton set a 1m39.013s on his opening lap, compared to Rosberg's 1m39.359s – a gap of 0.346s between them. Raikkonen was third fastest, six tenths down, just ahead of Ricciardo. Verstappen and Vettel were next up.

On their second runs, Rosberg set the fastest first sector of the weekend, but Hamilton was quicker through sector two and completed his lap in 1m38.755s. Rosberg's response was 1m39.058s, 0.303s down.

Ricciardo worked down to a 1m39.589s, which was enough to beat Raikkonen to third.

Vettel will start fifth, helped by Verstappen's off at Turn 11 that forced him to abort his final run.

Nico Hulkenberg was the best of the rest for Force India, 0.02s quicker than teammate Sergio Perez. McLaren's Fernando Alonso beat the soon-to-retire Felipe Massa (Williams) to ninth.

Alonso leaves it late as Red Bull hedges Q2 bets

Alonso was the star of Q2, knocking out Williams's Valtteri Bottas by 0.04s in the closing seconds of the session.

There was no such luck for the retiring Jenson Button, who failed to make it through to Q3 like Massa and he will start his final grand prix from 12th position.

Haas F1 duo Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean will start 13th and 14th respectively, ahead of Renault's Jolyon Palmer and the Manor of Pascal Wehrlein.

Hamilton produced a 1m39.382s early in the session. Rosberg ran wide at Turn 18 and was a tenth down on Hamilton. Raikkonen was third fastest, a quarter of a second off the pace.

Red Bull opted to run the supersoft at the start of Q2, in another attempt to get a strategic advantage at the start of tomorrow's race. Despite being fourth and sixth, they sent both out again on the ultrasoft – but told them to abort as their position in the top 10 was not under threat.

Wehrlein stars in Q1 for Manor

As the crucial final Q1 laps unfolded, Sauber's Brazilian GP hero Felipe Nasr was on the bubble – and in the pits – just as the chequered flag came out. Manor's Esteban Ocon just missed out on deposing him, but Palmer knocked Nasr out.

This put Renault's Kevin Magnussen on the bubble, and moments later Wehrlein knocked Magnussen out. "Easy!" he shouted over the radio on his in-lap.

Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat also beat Magnussen's time, but that was only enough for 17th and he was knocked out along with Magnussen, Nasr, Ocon, Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz and Sauber's Marcus Ericsson.

Hamilton set the pace in this session with 1m39.487s, over a second clear than Rosberg, who was only fifth fastest and admitted to making two mistakes. Raikkonen was P2 in this session, 0.851s off Hamilton.

1  Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 1'38.755  
2  Nico Rosberg  Mercedes Mercedes 1'39.058 0.303
3  Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 1'39.589 0.834
4  Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 1'39.604 0.849
5  Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 1'39.661 0.906
6  Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 1'39.818 1.063
7  Nico Hulkenberg  Force India Mercedes 1'40.501 1.746
8  Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 1'40.519 1.764
9  Fernando Alonso  McLaren Honda 1'41.106 2.351
10  Felipe Massa  Williams Mercedes 1'41.213 2.458
11  Valtteri Bottas  Williams Mercedes 1'41.084 2.329
12  Jenson Button  McLaren Honda 1'41.272 2.517
13  Esteban Gutierrez  Haas Ferrari 1'41.480 2.725
14  Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 1'41.564 2.809
15  Jolyon Palmer  Renault Renault 1'41.820 3.065
16  Pascal Wehrlein  Manor Mercedes 1'41.995 3.240
17  Daniil Kvyat  Toro Rosso Ferrari 1'42.003 3.248
18  Kevin Magnussen  Renault Renault 1'42.142 3.387
19  Felipe Nasr  Sauber Ferrari 1'42.247 3.492
20  Esteban Ocon  Manor Mercedes 1'42.286 3.531
21  Carlos Sainz Jr.  Toro Rosso Ferrari 1'42.393 3.638
22  Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 1'42.637 3.882
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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Abu Dhabi GP
Track Yas Marina Circuit
Drivers Jenson Button , Kimi Raikkonen , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Nico Rosberg , Sebastian Vettel , Nico Hulkenberg , Romain Grosjean , Jolyon Palmer , Max Verstappen , Pascal Wehrlein
Article type Qualifying report