Hamilton dominates to take Abu Dhabi pole, Vettel disqualified
Lewis Hamilton took pole position in a seemingly dominant fashion. He qualified ahead of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel while also outshining his teammate Button who is only 6th. Fernando Alonso is only 7th and faces yet another uphill battle during the race.
With track temperatures 9 degrees lower than in FP3 as the evening is setting, tyre behaviour is again expected to be quite different. Interestingly, in FP3 the difference between the medium and soft tyre appeared to be marginal, in fact hardly a few tenths a lap.
It is immediately a busy session as many cars opt to go out immediately as the session is kicked off. From the first ten cars, Maldonado turns out to be the fastest, closely followed by Raikkonen and Hulkenberg. Everybody in the top end of the timesheet thus far is using the medium tyre.
7 minutes into the session, Alonso moves to the top of the timesheet after a single attempt, only to be topped by Maldonado just one minute later, 2 tenths faster than the previous best time.
Lewis Hamilton decided to come out a bit later and on his first attempt halfway into the session, he violently locks up the front left tyre. Alonso meanwhile, continuing on the same set of medium tyres goes fastest again, followed by a third fastest time for Massa.
8 minutes from the end of Q1, Hamilton gets his second lap together and improves Alonso by 6 tenths to easily take the top of the timesheet.
Vettel on the other hand came out even later and on the runup to his first flying lap immediately kicked into the guardrail with his right rear tyre. A few sparks came off of the rim but there is seemingly no damage. The German continued to move up into 5th and is immediately informed that the lap is likely good enough to move through to Q2.
5 minutes from the end, Maldonado and Di Resta are the first men out on the soft tyre.
Rosberg notes the most remarkable improvement and posts the second fastest time in Q1 thanks to the soft tyres. Jean-Eric Vergne pushed hard to get through to Q2 but lost the rear on the penultimate corner of the flying lap. He managed to stay out of the barriers and decided to try another lap, but eventually didn't get there.
The positions at the front are therefore Hamilton, Rosberg, Webber, Alonso, Massa and Maldonado. Out in 18th is Vergne, followed by Kovalainen, Pic, Petrov, Glock, De La Rosa and Karthikeyan.
Q2 gets off in similar fashion as Q1 with many drivers out early. 5 minutes into the session, both Lotus cars top the timesheets. Everybody now is taking the softer option tyre.
2 minutes later, Hamilton is on top, ahead of Webber and the Lotus cars. Alonso, Massa and Vettel are still on their way to end their first flying laps.
With just 5 minutes left on the clock, Hamilton improved again to 1:40.901, three tenths ahead of Webber. Vettel is third and Alonso fourth, just 0.003s behind his title rival. Grosjean and Lotus are still 5th and 6th, Massa 7th and Button 8th. Maldonado is 9th and Hulkenberg 10th.
During the final minutes, only Rosberg managed to improve to 7th, bumping out Hulkenberg to 11th. Pérez is out as well in 12th, along with Di Resta, Schumacher, Senna, Kobayashi and Ricciardo.
As the lights now take over from the sun, Q3 gets underway with Kimi Raikkonen being the first man out on track. Grosjean is right behind and Alonso follows about 20 seconds later.
It's Hamilton though who impresses on his first attempt, posting a 1:40.630, a full second faster than his teammate and 4 tenths ahead of second man on the timesheet, Sebastian Vettel. Mark Webber is third and Alonso 4th. Rosberg is 5th after this one attempt and immediately calls it a day, stepping out of the car and not having another go.
Felipe Massa is out a little bit later and starts his first attempt just 4 minutes before the end of the session. Pastor Maldonado is later still, coming out of the pitlane as Massa starts his flying lap.
20 seconds from the end, Maldonado posts the third time, ahead of Webber and Alonso.
The second attempts mixed up things further, although Hamilton kept ahead unthreated to take pole. Mark Webber takes second from his teammate. Vettel is third, Maldonado 4th, Raikkonen 5th from nowhere, Button into 6th and Alonso only 7th after he was unable to improve on his second flying lap.
Interestingly, Vettel was later told to stop his car, coming to a stand still at turn 19 while on his way back to the pits.
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:41.933||1:41.277||1:40.978||17|
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel (*)||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:42.160||1:41.511||1:41.073||16|
|8||8||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||1:41.926||1:41.698||1:41.603||17|
|11||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:42.579||1:42.019||-||16|
|13||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:42.572||1:42.218||-||16|
|14||7||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG||1:42.735||1:42.289||-||14|
|23||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:45.766||-||-||8|
(*) Sebastian Vettel to start from pits after being excluded from qualifying
due to a fuel problem