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Rosberg Takes Pole as Mercedes Title Rivals lock out front Row in Abu Dhabi

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Rosberg Takes Pole as Mercedes Title Rivals lock out front Row in Abu Dhabi
Nov 22, 2014, 3:32 PM

Nico Rosberg dominated qualifying in Abu Dhabi to secure the all-important pole position ahead of tomorrow's title deciding grand prix at Yas Mari...

Nico Rosberg dominated qualifying in Abu Dhabi to secure the all-important pole position ahead of tomorrow's title deciding grand prix at Yas Marina Circuit

Team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton finished 0.386s behind Rosberg but had enough in hand over third-place Williams man Valtteri Bottas to make it a record 12th front-row lock-out of the season for the Mercedes team.

Hamilton locked up in the first sector of his final lap after Rosberg had set the benchmark pace with the first flying lap in the Q3 but in truth Rosberg seemed to have a discernible edge throughout the lap and duly recorded his 11th pole position of the season.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Abu Dhabi, UAE

"It was a great day again for sure and I'm thankful to the engineers today," said Rosberg. "They did a great job to sort out the car. I was really happy with the set up and it all worked out really well today.

"I got a good lap together at the end. I'm pleased with that. But of course, it's only one step. A very small step because this weekend it's about the championship. It's not about pole position or anything.

"Valtteri said he got his perfect lap together so there wasn't anything else in that. Of course it would have been great if somehow there could have been a Williams between the two of us but that can always happen tomorrow.

"For sure starting first is a great place to be and it should be a good race. "(The first corner) is going to be interesting as always. But I'm on the clean side I think. I'm not sure but maybe none of them are clean but anyways I have the advantage from pole so that should be okay."

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Practice Day - Abu Dhabi, UAE

Hamilton refused to dwell on the negatives as he looks forward to starting from second position.

"I don't know how many mistakes Nico made but I generally didn't really have the best of laps but it was still a really good qualifying session. I really enjoyed it," said the Englishman. "The car was fantastic but as Nico was saying tomorrow's the special day."

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Practice Day - Abu Dhabi, UAE

Bottas got to within two tenths of a second as he recorded his sixth third-place qualifying result of the year, his fourth in five races.

"It was a nice quali and especially with the lap at the end," he said. "The car felt pretty good and I got a really good lap at the end. It felt nice because Felipe was really quick today as well so it was not easy to beat him and yeah it's good to be third and fourth again.

"I think in race as we've seen before Mercedes normally has a bit more advantage on Sundays than Saturdays so it could be difficult but for us the main target is to finish as high as possible but if something is going to happen and if we have the pace there's no doubt we are going to try to move forward."

The Finn's Williams team-mate Felipe Massa will line up fourth, less than a tenth of a second behind Bottas, while Daniel Ricciardo will head an all-Red Bull third row just over a tenth of a second behind Massa, but fully six tenths faster than Sebastian Vettel.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Abu Dhabi, UAE

Daniel Kvyat, Red Bull Racing's 2015 replacement for the Ferrari-bound Vettel, recorded his second best qualifying position of the season in steering the lead Toro Rosso to seventh fastest time.

Jenson Button was impressive once more in what may or may not be his final Grand Prix, comfortably making it through to the final part of qualifying despite an unscheduled stop to top up fuel, a call that mystified the Englishman who exclaimed "are you serious?" when called back to the pits. Button's eighth place means he edges the McLaren season long qualifying battle 10-9.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Abu Dhabi, UAE

Missing out on the top-ten shootout for the first time in 12 races was McLaren's Kevin Magnussen, three hundredths slower than Raikkonen at the end of Q2.

Jean Eric Vergne was 12th fastest, less than a hundredth slower than Magnussen but a critical tenth of a second slower than Kvyat to end the year 12-7 down in qualifying against the Russian.

Sergio Perez won the Force India battle, albeit for 13th, ending the session three hundredths of a second faster than team mate Nico Hulkenberg who enjoyed a more comfortable seven tenths advantage over the Sauber of Adrian Sutil.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Abu Dhabi, UAE

It was an early bath for the Lotus team for whom Romain Grosjean could only manage 16th, pipped by Adrian Sutil's Sauber in the final moments of Q1. Grosjean will carry a grid penalty and a drive through penalty for his multiple engine component changes ahead of qualifying.

His team-mate Pastor Maldonado was 18th, bested by Grosjean for the 14th time this season. Esteban Guttierez split the Lotuses, his Sauber just over three hundredths of a second slower than Sutil in Q1.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Qualifying Day - Abu Dhabi, UAE

As at the front, it was a match race at the back where Kamui Kobayashi managed to see off the challenge of rookie Will Stevens by half a second, the latter ruing a final sector lock up which accounted for most of his deficit.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Qualifying

1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:41.308 1:41.459 1:40.480 13

2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:41.207 1:40.920 1:40.866 12

3 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:42.346 1:41.376 1:41.025 18

4 Felipe Massa Williams 1:41.475 1:41.144 1:41.119 20

5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:42.204 1:41.692 1:41.267 12

6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:42.495 1:42.147 1:41.893 17

7 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:42.302 1:42.082 1:41.908 18

8 Jenson Button McLaren 1:42.137 1:41.875 1:41.964 18

9 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:42.439 1:42.168 1:42.236 15

10 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:42.467 1:41.940 1:42.866 19

11 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:42.104 1:42.198 13

12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:42.413 1:42.207 12

13 Sergio Perez Force India 1:42.654 1:42.239 15

14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:42.444 1:42.384 12

15 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:42.746 1:43.074 14

16 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:42.768 8

17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:42.819 8

18 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:42.860 8

19 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:44.540 7

20 Will Stevens Caterham 1:45.095 8

 

 
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