Rosberg takes impressive final pole of 2015

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuitae

A fierce battle between the dominant Mercedes drivers ended up with Nico Rosberg taking pole position, handing Hamilton another blow thanks to an advantage of 0.377s. Kimi Raikkonen went third fastest

Q1 kicked off with a lot of drivers opting to go out early, most of them on a plan to run two timed laps on two different sets of tyres. Most opted for an initial run on softs before another outing on the super softs while McLaren, Manor Marussia, Lotus and Sauber eventually completed two runs on the super softs.

Interestingly, both Mercedes went out on the super soft immediately, did a flying lap and effectively ended Q1 with just one used set of super softs and just 3 laps completed. That immediately put Hamilton on top of the timesheet, just ahead of Nico Rosberg.

Behind the dominant Mercedes cars it was Perez and Hulkenberg who came closest, still more than a second down on the early pace setting lap. Ricciardo and Kvyat also made it through easily, sandwishing Raikkonen who managed to consolidate a position in Q2 by completing 3 timed laps on the softs, hence not using a set of super softs yet.

At the back, the story was mainly on Alonso as he suffered a left rear puncture on his final flying lap, leaving him powerless while seeing Jenson Button set a 9th fastest time to easily get through to Q2. Vettel was the surprise elimination, apparently starting his flying lap too late, leaving him in 16th, ahead only of Alonso, Ericsson, Stevens and Merhi.

Q2 was a little bit more straight forward, with Hamilton again fastest, a few tenths quicker than Rosberg who had outpaced him in FP2 and FP3. Sergio Perez completed another blindingly quick lap to go third fastest, ahead of the only remaining Ferrari steered by Kimi Raikkonen.

In the elimination zone, Carlos Sainz managed to eliminate his team mate by just 0.036s in the dying seconds of the session. Verstappen therefore may start from 11th, ahead of Button in 12th, Maldonado, Nasr and Grosjean.

On the back of their solid performances in Q1 and Q2, the Force India drivers were out first with Perez again quicker than his team mate on his first attempt. Hamilton did go faster, and Rosberg, for the first time in qualifying, set a lap quicker than his team mate, completing Yas Marina circuit in 1:40.738, nearly 3 tenths ahead of Hamilton.

Raikkonen went fourth quickest, ahead of Ricciardo, Bottas and Massa.

On the second attempt, Hamilton found a bit of extra pace and improved Rosberg's first lap by a tenth. Kimi Raikkonen subsequently moved up into third before an agonisingly long wait forewent Rosberg's final lap, shaving another 0.377s off of Hamilton's best.


16Nico RosbergMercedes1:41.1111:40.9791:40.23712
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:40.9741:40.7581:40.61412
37Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:42.5001:41.6121:41.05114
411Sergio PerezForce India1:41.9831:41.5601:41.18418
53Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:42.2751:41.8301:41.44417
677Valtteri BottasWilliams1:42.6081:41.8681:41.65619
727Nico HulkenbergForce India1:41.9961:41.9251:41.68615
819Felipe MassaWilliams1:42.3031:42.3491:41.75920
926Daniil KvyatRed Bull Racing1:42.5401:42.3281:41.93322
1055Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:42.9111:42.4821:42.70817
1133Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:42.8891:42.521-14
1222Jenson ButtonMclaren1:42.5701:42.668-12
1313Pastor MaldonadoLotus1:42.9291:42.807-13
1412Felipe NasrSauber1:42.8961:43.614-14
158Romain GrosjeanLotus1:42.585--11
165Sebastian VettelFerrari1:42.941--7
1714Fernando AlonsoMclaren1:43.187--5
189Marcus EricssonSauber1:43.838--7
1928Will StevensMarussia1:46.297--7
2098Roberto MerhiMarussia1:47.434--8

Note - Stevens drops 5 grid places for unscheduled use of new Control Electronics unit.