Nico Rosberg stamped his authority on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a dominant display in the third part of qualifying to take pole by a margin of almost 0.4s from championship leader Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg had looked strong all day and under the floodlights of the Yas Marina circuit he was able to put together a faultless flying lap while Hamilton stuttered and dropped a few tenths to miss out. It was the 11th pole of the season for Rosberg, who has shown remarkable one lap pace, but often failed to translate his saturday dominance into race wins.
First Part of Qualifying
With 20 drivers competing this weekend, 5 drivers were knocked out in the first part of qualifying. As expected, the Caterham cars were some way off the pace, although Stevens appeared to have got to grips with his car a bit more than in earlier sessions, and closed the gap to Kobayashi. They were joined in elimination by the two lotus drivers Grosjean and Maldonado, and Sauber’s Gutierrez.
Hamilton managed the fastest lap in the session with Rosberg in second ahead of Felipe Massa.
Second Part of Qualifying
A late error for Nico Rosberg meant that he finished the second part of qualifying down in 4th place despite early speed while Hamilton again finished top of the pile. The Williams drivers Bottas and Massa showed that the Williams in Low Drag configuration could well provide a challenge to the Mercedes tomorrow. McLaren suffered an embarrasing moment on track when the team called Button back into the pits after a single lap because his car was underfueled. Ultimately the British driver finished the session in 6th place while Magnussen was knocked out along with Vergne, Perez, Sutil and Hulkenberg.
Abu Dhabi Pole Position Shoot Out
The final part of qualifying was a tense affair with the Williams and Mercedes teams well ahead of the field in their early laps. Bottas and Massa both showed the potential to upset the expected front row with very fast laps at the end of the session, but ultimately were unable to beat Hamilton who qualified in 2nd just 0.386s behind Rosberg despite making a couple of errors on his final timed lap.
In what’s looking like his last grand prix, Jenson Button qualified in 8th ahead of both of the Ferraris.
Abu Dhabi Grid
Here’s how the drivers will be lining up for the start of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina on 23 November 2014:
- Rosberg (Mercedes) 1:40.480
- Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:40.866
- Bottas (Williams) 1:41.025
- Massa (Williams) 1:41.119
- Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:41.267
- Vettel (Red Bull) 1:41.893
- Kvyat (Toro Rosso) 1:41.908
- Button (McLaren) 1:41.964
- Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:42.236
- Alonso (Ferrari) 1:42.866
- Magnussen (McLaren) 1:42.198
- Vergne (Toro Rosso) 1:42.207
- Perez (Force India) 1:42.239
- Hulkenberg (Force India) 1:42.384
- Sutil (Sauber) 1:43.074
- Grosjean (Lotus)
- Gutierrez (Sauber)
- Maldonado (Lotus)
- Kobayashi (Caterham)
- Stevens (Caterham)