Nico Rosberg has claimed pole position for the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final race of the season. The German led team-mate Lewis Hamilton by 4 tenths, meaning that he now taken 6 pole positions in a row. The result also means that Mercedes have now taken the most amount of front row lock-outs in a single season; with 15 now their tally this year.
Hamilton originally seemed to have the edge over his team-mate, leading both Q1 and Q2 before coming undone in the final session. Hamilton would go on to blame car setup issues for his 4 tenth gap to Rosberg, but there was no denying that Rosberg had put in a stunning lap to take pole with a 1’40.237.
3rd on the grid will be 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen. The Finnish driver was 8 tenths off of Rosberg on pole, with just over a tenth separating him from 4th placed Sergio Perez; who continued to show that Force India had good pace. Daniel Ricciardo was just 3 tenths off of Perez in 5th place for Red Bull.
6th and 7th went to Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg, with both separated by under a tenth of a second. Bottas will be gunning to catch Raikkonen in the race, with just 1 point between the two countryman in the championship standings. Valtteri’s team-mate Felipe Massa will start 8th ahead of Daniil Kvyat, with Carlos Sainz completing the top 10.
One of the highlights of the session was the shock elimination of Sebastian Vettel at the end of the first session. Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene would say after the session that the team made a ‘huge mistake’ after thinking that Vettel’s lap in Q1 was going to be good enough to get him through. They would be mistaken after a late improvement by McLaren’s Jenson Button that would push Vettel out of qualifying.
2015 Abu Dhabi grand prix grid:
|4||Sergio Perez||Force India||1’41.||Q3|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1’41.||Q3|
|7||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1’41.||Q3|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull||1’41.||Q3|
|10||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso||1’42.||Q3|
|11||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso||1’42.||Q2|
|15||Romain Grosjean||Lotus||No time||Q2|
*Grid penalty for Will Stevens