F1 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying result: Rosberg beats Hamilton to pole position
PUBLISHED: 19:27 28 November 2015 | UPDATED: 14:57 29 November 2015
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton will start on the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix front row after Mercedes colleague Nico Robserg stormed to his sixth successive pole position.
Rosberg took a sixth consecutive pole position – the 22nd of his Formula One career and seventh of the 2015 season – on a record-breaking night for the Silver Arrows in Abu Dhabi.
He clocked a time of 1m 40.237s in Q3 at the Yas Marina circuit.
Hamilton, the 30-year-old Mercedes driver from Hertfordshire, will line-up on the front row for the 18th time in 19 races this season – the 90th time he has started in the top two throughout his career to date.
His best Q3 lap was a 1m 40.614s.
A 15th front row lockout of the season for the Silver Arrows also set a new Formula One record.
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen qualified third on the grid after clocking a lap of 1m 41.051s, with Sergio Perez fourth in the provisional results for Force India.
After qualifying Hamilton said: “I’ve generally been struggling with the car all weekend.
“I’ve changed a lot to try and get around the issues – but I’m still not really feeling comfortable with it.
Did you know?
The granite used to build the Yas Marina circuit was imported from Shropshire in the United Kingdom.
“I did what I could out there tonight – but Nico was just really quick and did a great job in Q3, so I wasn’t really surprised he did a better lap in the end.
“It hasn’t been the best run of qualifying sessions for me lately, but I’ve still managed to turn three of those into wins.
“So, there is still an opportunity – even it is particularly hard to follow through the first sector.
“I will work as hard as I can to have a great start tomorrow [Saturday] and improve from there.
Abu Dhabi facts & stats: The track
* First race: 2009
* Circuit length: 5.554km (3.451 miles)
* Run to Turn One: 300m (0.186 miles)
* Longest straight: 1,200m (0.746 miles), on the approach to Turn Eight
* Top speed: 325km/h (202mph) on the approach to Turn Eight
* DRS zones: Two – on the approach to Turn Eight and again on the approach to Turn 11
* Key corner: Turn Seven, the left-hand hairpin that precedes the longest straight on the circuit. The DRS detection zone is at corner entry, so it’s important to remain close to the car in front while also getting good traction out of the corner
* Pitlane length: 360 metres (0.224 miles)
* Major changes for 2015: None
“I’ve got a lot of support here this weekend and that 44th win is still out there to grab, so I will be working hard for it tomorrow.”
Both Mercedes drivers completed one run in Q1 (Option), one run in Q2 (Option) and two in Q3 (Option/Option).
Pole-sitter Rosberg said: “Normally I’m not too over-excited when I’m on pole, as you don’t get any points on a Saturday.
“But this time was a pretty cool feeling. My last lap felt absolutely fantastic and it’s great to be starting P1 again.
Abu Dhabi facts & stats: The race
* Start time: 1700 (local) / 1300 (GMT)
* Race distance: 51 laps (full world championship points awarded after 75 per cent distance/41 laps)
* 2014 winner: Lewis Hamilton 55 laps in 1:39m02.619
* 2014 pole position: Nico Rosberg 1m40.480 198.988km/h (123.645mph)
* 2014 fastest lap: Daniel Ricciardo lap 50 1m44.496 191.341km/h (118.894mph)
* Safety Car likelihood: Low. Statistically, there’s a 40 per cent chance of a Safety Car and while there wasn’t an SC period last year, there were three in the five years prior to that
* Don’t put the kettle on... On laps 12 or 32. Overtaking is difficult, so a lot of ground can be won and lost at the start. Once we get into the race, expect a two-stop strategy from most cars, which means pitting on or around laps 12 and 32
* Weather forecast: Hot – we’re in the desert after all. But this is a twilight race and temperatures drop as the race progresses
“I’m also quite happy that I’ve been quicker than Lewis for the last couple of race weekends.
“At the beginning of the season he was always this tiny little bit ahead, so it’s good to turn that around.”
Rosberg added: “This is the best position to start the race tomorrow.
“I want to win this one to finish the year on a high and give the boys in the garage a really good reason to have a great season-ending party tomorrow night.”
Abu Dhabi facts & stats: The car
* Fuel consumption: 1.8kg per lap, which is on the medium-to-high side
* Full throttle: 60 per cent
* Brake wear: High. There are 13 braking events around the lap, the hardest of which is into Turn Eight, where forces peak at 5.09g
* Gear changes: 68 per lap/3,740 per race
Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, said: “That was a great qualifying session to end the season.
“Nico did a phenomenal lap at the end of Q3 with a really amazing final sector to take the pole position – his sixth in a row.
“Lewis had a solid session but things didn’t come together for him in Q3. Nevertheless, P2 is not a bad grid position at this circuit – as last year showed.
“Everything is set up for a great battle tomorrow. Both boys will want to take the momentum of a win into the winter – and we’re looking forward to the battle.”
Mercedes’ executive director Paddy Lowe added: “It was a fantastic, tense final qualifying session of the season under the lights here in Abu Dhabi.
“As in Brazil two weeks ago, we saw no need to save option tyres for the race, so it was quite a straightforward programme for both drivers with a single run in Q1 and Q2. That set up the Q3 showdown, with both Nico and Lewis running two new sets of option tyres.
“Lewis clearly under-performed on his first run in Q3 relative to Q2, then put a strong final effort together. But this was beaten by Nico’s tremendous lap.
“Congratulations to Nico for his pole and to both drivers for fantastic qualifying performances throughout the season, which is not something that should ever be underestimated.
“To take 15 all-Mercedes front rows is a very proud benchmark. Now we look forward to the final instalment of their battle tomorrow.”
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