Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (SportsNetwork.com) – Nico Rosberg won his
11th pole position in Formula One this season after topping his Mercedes
teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton in Saturday’s qualifying for
the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Rosberg beat Hamilton for the pole with a lap in 1 minute, 40.480 seconds,
which was 0.386 seconds quicker than Hamilton’s lap. It was the third
consecutive pole win for Rosberg and the 12th time this year that Mercedes has
started 1-2 in a grand prix.
Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi GP at Yas Marina Circuit will determine the
F1 world championship between Hamilton and Rosberg. They are the only drivers
who remain eligible for the title. Hamilton enters this 55-lap race with a 17-
point lead over Rosberg, who won the most recent grand prix in Brazil two
weeks ago. The Abu Dhabi GP will award double the amount of points.
Therefore, if Hamilton finishes no worse than second in this race, he will
claim his second world championship, regardless if Rosberg wins the event.
If Rosberg wins and Hamilton finishes third or lower, then Rosberg will clinch
his first F1 title.
The winner of this race will collect 50 points compared to 36 points for
second place and 30 for third.
Hamilton posted the quickest lap in the opening and second qualifying rounds.
In Q3, he had to abort his first lap when he locked up his brakes and nearly
went off course. Hamilton’s last lap in Q3 was clocked in 1:40.866. He led the
way in Friday’s two practice sessions, while Rosberg was fastest in final
practice, held shortly before qualifying.
Valtteri Bottas qualified third with a lap in 1:41.025, while his Williams
teammate, Felipe Massa, took the fourth spot.
Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world
champion, placed fifth and sixth, respectively, in qualifying. This will be
Vettel’s last race with Red Bull before he moves over to Ferrari for the 2015
season, replacing Fernando Alonso.
Daniel Kvyat from Toro Rosso qualified seventh, followed by McLaren’s Jenson
Button. Ferrari drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Alonso completed the top-10.
This could be Button’s last race in F1, as it is widely rumored that Alonso
will replace him at McLaren for next season. Button, the 2009 world champion,
has been competing in F1 since 2000.