F1: Nico Rosberg claims Pole for Championship decider in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, November 22, 2014 – Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has claimed pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from his team mate Lewis Hamilton, using the supersoft tyre, which is just over a second faster than the soft tyre that has also been nominated for the final race of the season.
Statistically, in five races held so far at Abu Dhabi, the pole position sitter has only gone on to win the grand prix once (Sebastian Vettel in 2010) while second place on the grid has won three times. Mercedes now equals the world record of 12 front-row lockouts in one season.
Conditions remained dry and warm, as has been the case all weekend, with the final Q3 session starting just after 5:40pm with a track temperature of 31 degrees. Track temperatures fell over the course of the session, which altered the usual pattern of track evolution and made it hard to know at which point in each session the circuit was fastest.
Nico Rosberg –Thanks to the engineers, the setup of my car was very much to my liking at the end. We did an amazing job together. I had two great laps in Q3 – but qualifying is only one step to having a good weekend. I hope that I can continue my form from the last race and win but, as we all know, I need some help to take the title. It will be tough but these things happen a lot in sport. I will push flat out and keep the pressure high on Lewis to try to force him into a mistake like in Brazil and also hope that the Williams have a chance to be in between us. I already offered to pay for Valtteri to have a great wellness programme tonight so that he is fully relaxed and will put on a great performancetomorrow… let’s see what happens! I’m highly motivated and very happy about how today went for me. Finally I want to say thank you for all the support I’ve received out there. That’s new to me and a great feeling as I’ve never been in the situation of a Championship fight before.
Lewis Hamilton –I didn’t have the best of laps today. Q1 and Q2 were very good and I didn’t make any mistakes in Q3, it just wasn’t a good lap. I really enjoyed it though and the car was fantastic. Tomorrow is when it counts; my approach will be the same as always. I had very good pace throughout practice, particularly on the long runs which gives me confidence for tomorrow. It’s not my style to settle for second place but we’ll need to decide how to play it.
Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was the only driver to complete Q1 using only the soft tyre, with all the others using the supersoft. With the soft expected to be the main race tyre, teams generally used the faster supersoft in qualifying.
Valtteri Bottas: It is important for the team to get third in the championship and we have set ourselves up well to achieve that. I also have a good chance to regain fourth in the Drivers’ Championship and so will be focusing on that as well. That was one of the best laps I have done in qualifying all season, throughout the session I worked the times down and got it all together when it mattered. I will be ready to fight for any opportunity to move forward in the race tomorrow.
In both Q1 and Q2, the Mercedes drivers used just one set of supersofts in each session, together with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. The pole position contenders all completed two runs on the supersoft tyre in Q3, with Rosberg going fastest in the first run after Hamilton made a small mistake. Hamilton chose to run last for the final part of Q3 but could not beat his team mate, while Bottas qualified third.
After Hamilton went quickest in the two free practice sessions yesterday, Rosberg was fastest in the warm conditions of FP3 this afternoon, using the supersoft tyre.