Calm Rosberg On Pole But Hamilton On Title Brink, Red Bulls Excluded From Qualifying

Nico Rosberg did his part to keep his own championship chances going by beating his team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pole position at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Rosberg set his fastest time of Q3 on his second timed lap, under four tenths quicker than Hamilton. Hamilton himself was only narrowly quicker than Bottas in third, quicker than the Finn by over one and a half tenths of a second.

It is the tenth pole of the season for Nico Rosberg and the fifteenth of his career. Starting ahead of Hamilton, Rosberg needs to win the race with Hamilton finishing lower than second in order to win the driver’s world championship. Hamilton can afford to finish second with Rosberg winning the race, but not the championship.

After finishing on pole, Rosberg spoke of how the pressure was all on his team-mate. that he would do all he could to win the race and could only hope the pressure would affect Hamilton’s race.

“Of course, pressure is one of the hopes I have,” said Rosberg, whose victory in the previous race in Brazil was helped by Hamilton spinning while in pursuit.

“If Lewis feels the pressure and makes a mistake as a result, like today, and a bit like Brazil that is the opportunity I am looking for.

“I pushed flat out all the time to keep the level extremely high, that is what I do, and I’ll try to go for the win and keep the pressure on.”

Hamilton can afford to finish second in the race and still be 2014 world champion

Hamilton can afford to finish second in the race and still be 2014 world champion

Lewis Hamilton admitted after qualifying that he had been out-performed in the battle for pole position but that he would do his utmost to right the wrongs on race day.

“I don’t really pay much attention to him! Today, I think in mistakes I made the same amount as him.

“He actually had to do an extra lap on the actual race tyre which hopefully will have an effect tomorrow.

“There have been very, very few mistakes during the year so I am not worried.

“Of course Nico is trying everything possible in his head to come up with some kind of way of dealing with things, that is how he deals with it.

“Me? I just keep it to myself and do my talking on the track.

“Today he did a great job in Q3 and I will make up for it in tomorrow’s race.”

Bottas is hoping to have a strong race

Bottas is hoping to have a strong race

Valtteri Bottas put in a typically strong performance to qualify his Williams in third place. The Finn made sure to point out that his team were still in a fight in the Constructor’s Championship and would be fighting every lap of the last race.

“It is important for the team to get third in the championship and we have set ourselves up well to achieve that. I also have a good chance to regain fourth in the drivers’ championship and so will be focusing on that as well.

That was one of the best laps I have done in qualifying all season, throughout the session I worked the times down and got it all together when it mattered. I will be ready to fight for any opportunity to move forward in the race tomorrow.”

Abu Dhabi could be Button's last race weekend in F1

Abu Dhabi could be Button’s last race weekend in F1

Jenson Button was pleased to have made it into the final qualifying session in what could be his final qualifying session in F1. The British driver qualified in sixth and said that he was feeling relaxed.

“It’s full of emotion in qualifying – especially when you have almost finished your lap and you see that it is good enough to be inside the top 10 in Q2,” he said.

“So it made it a little bit more difficult, but to be fair, once we had wheeled the car back in the garage, I feel that everyone was very, very relaxed, which helped me relax because it is a very stressful time. I think we handled it very well.”

Vettel will start his final race for Red Bull from the pit lane, along with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo

Vettel will start his final race for Red Bull from the pit lane, along with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo

Red Bull were excluded from the final qualifying results and will now start the race from the pitlane. Post-race scrutineering by the FIA had discovered the Red Bull cars had front wings which flexed by more than was permitted. Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel had qualified on the third row of the grid. The team released the following statement.

“Following the decision of the stewards regarding the front wings on both our cars (Car 1 and Car 3), we are disappointed that we have been singled out for a front wing deflection test when it is clear that other teams are interpreting the rules in a similar fashion,” a team statement read. “The team accepts the decision of the stewards and will start the race from the back of the grid.”

It is not the first time that Sebastian Vettel will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the back of the grid. The German started the 2012 race from the pit lane after being unable to provide a fuel sample to the race stewards following qualifying. He went on to finish the race in third after a Safety Car featured in the race.

 

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Grid

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m40.480s
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m40.866s 0.386s
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m41.025s 0.545s
4 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes 1m41.119s 0.639s
5 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Renault 1m41.908s 1.428s
6 Jenson Button McLaren/Mercedes 1m41.964s 1.484s
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m42.236s 1.756s
8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m42.866s 2.386s
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren/Mercedes 1m42.198s 1.718s
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso/Renault 1m42.207s 1.727s
11 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m42.239s 1.759s
12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m42.384s 1.904s
13 Adrian Sutil Sauber/Ferrari 1m43.074s 2.594s
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber/Ferrari 1m42.819s 2.339s
15 Pastor Maldonado Lotus/Renault 1m42.860s 2.380s
16 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham/Renault 1m44.540s 4.060s
17 Will Stevens Caterham/Renault 1m45.095s 4.615s
18 Romain Grosjean Lotus/Renault 1m42.768s 2.288s
19 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull/Renault
20 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault

 

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