Nico Rosberg of Mercedes has taken the 19thand final pole position of the season ahead of tomorrow’s 2015 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Rosberg produced a stunning final lap of 1:40.237 to beat teammate Lewis Hamilton by a convincing 0.377 as he took his seventh pole position of 2015, his sixth in succession and the 22ndof his F1 career.
“I’m quicker at the moment and just very pleased about that,” said the 30-year-old German, “enjoying the moment and happy to be on pole again. Primarily I just would like to win the race, because it’s a great feeling to win and it would also give all my crew and the whole team a good reason to party tomorrow night. That would be awesome!”
“I’ve generally been struggling with the car a little bit all weekend,” Hamilton conceded, “but we’ve been working hard to make some changes. But Nico was just really quick today and he did a great job in Q3.”
The second row is shared by Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez of Force India, enjoying an outstanding weekend in the team’s 150thGrand Prix, while Red Bull’s Dan Ricciardo and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas share row three.
Behind them are the second Force India of Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa’s Williams, with Daniil Kvyat of Red Bull and Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso together on row five.
In the first major shock of the weekend, out in the 18-minute Q1 segment went Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), Fernando Alonso (McLaren), Marcus Ericsson (Sauber), Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi (Manor). Vettel slowed with an apparent mechanical problem, while Alonso also had to pit with a left rear puncture as Hamilton topped that segment with a time of 1:40.974.
Almost at the same time as Alonso stopped, teammate Jenson Button was pulling a quick time out of the hat to go through to Q2 – a remarkable effort given that the McLaren Honda was giving away more than 30 kilometres an hour in top speed to some of the Mercedes-powered cars.
The 15-minute Q2 segment saw Hamilton again lead the way on 1:40.758, while Carlos Sainz left it desperately late to post the 1:42.282 that squeezed him into the top 10 – at the expense of Toro Rosso teammate Max Verstappen.
Both Lotuses also failed to make it, Pastor Maldonado finishing 13thand Romain Grosjean, enduring a wretched final weekend with the team, parking the car after “losing everything” with just moments of the segment remaining.
Button missed out on Q3 but the 2009 World Champion would have been comparatively pleased with 11thgiven the team’s trying year, while Sauber’s Felipe Nasr was the other man who failed to make it through.