Rosberg keeps Hamilton from pole position in title decider

Rosberg Abu Dhabi 2014

Nico Rosberg denied his championship rival and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamitlon with a crucial pole position at the Yas Marina circuit, the location of the final round of this season’s Formula 1 World Championship.

Title contender Rosberg outpaced his rival by just over three tenths on the first runs in the top ten shootout.

The Mercedes driver improved on his second run, avoiding the lock-up later in the lap that cost him time on the first.

Although Hamilton also improved, he ended up 0.386 seconds off Rosberg to line up second on the grid.

But even if Rosberg wins Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton just needs to finish second to be take the title.

Yet again Williams looked like a potential threat in qualifying but when it came to the fastest runs in Q3, the pace advantage of the Silver Arrows was revealed.

Valtteri Bottas ended up in third place, just over half a second off Rosberg, with team-mate Felipe Massa just behind.

Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel locked out row three, ahead of Daniil Kvyat’s in the Toro Rosso.

Jenson Button beat the Ferraris to eighth postiton, with Kimi Raikkonen ninth after only completing a single run in Q3 no thanks to having run out of fresh super-softs.

Fernando Alonso, on his final race for Ferrari, was tenth having failed to improve on his second run thanks to locking up and running off the circuit.

McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen had just one opportunity in Q2, likely because of the same underfuelling problem that also forced Button to abandon his first run before setting a laptime.

Magnussen had looked set to make the top ten, only for Raikkonen and Kvyat to knock him down to P11 on their final laps.

Jean-Eric Vergne was also knocked down the order in the final seconds, ending up P12, with the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg behind.

Sauber driver Adrian Sutil was slowest in Q2, falling three tenths short of his Q1 speed.

Romain Grosjean missed out on reaching Q2 by just over two hundredths of a second during a frenetic battle in the final seconds of the first segment of qualifying.

His fellow Lotus team-mate Pastor Maldonado moved into a Q2 position before being bumped by Esteban Gutierrez, who was then relegated by Sutil.

Grosjean’s final lap was not quite enough to beat Sutil, leaving him in P16, although he will drop to the rear of the field thanks to 20-place penalty for changing power unit components.

Gutierrez ended up P17, ahead of Maldonado and the Caterhams.

Kamui Kobayashi’s was the quickest in the Caterham, although Formula 1 debutant Will Stevens put on a good show by lapping just over half a second slower despite limited running in the car.

So the championship is almost at a climix, with Mercedes locking out the front row for the twelvth time this season. Only one of the Silver Arrows can become champion but will it be Nico Rosberg or Lewis Hamilton?

Double points come into play in Sunday’s race and if Hamilton finishes second behind pole sitter Rosberg, he will win the championship. But like legenadry motor racing commentator Murray Walker has said many times: “Anything can happen in Formula 1 and it usually does”.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, qualifying positions:

1 Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m40.480s
2 Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m40.866s
3 Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m41.025s
4 Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m41.119s
5 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m41.267s
6 Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault    1m41.893s
7 Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m41.908s
8 Jenson Button    McLaren-Mercedes    1m41.964s
9 Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m42.236s
10 Fernando Alonso    Ferrari    1m42.866s
11 Kevin Magnussen    McLaren-Mercedes    1m42.198s
12 Jean-Eric Vergne    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m42.207s
13 Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m42.239s
14 Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m42.384s
15 Adrian Sutil    Sauber-Ferrari    1m43.074s
16 Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari    1m42.819s
17 Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Renault    1m42.860s
18 Kamui Kobayashi    Caterham-Renault    1m44.540s
19 Will Stevens    Caterham-Renault    1m45.095s
20 Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Renault    1m42.768s*

*20-place grid penalty for changing power unit

5 thoughts to “Rosberg keeps Hamilton from pole position in title decider”

  1. Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg hopes the pressure will get to Lewis Hamilton come the race after beating his title rival in qualifying. has the story.

    Nico Rosberg is hoping team-mate and Formula 1 championship rival Lewis Hamilton succumbs to pressure in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday after beating him to pole position.

    The German driver secured his 11th pole of the season at Yas Marina after beating Hamilton by nearly four tenths of a second, the Briton making a mistake during one of his qualifying runs in Q3.

    Although second place would be enough for Hamilton to clinch the title even if Rosberg wins, the pole-sitter is still pinning his hopes on pressuring his team-mate into making another error tomorrow.

    “Of course, pressure is one of the hopes I have,” said Rosberg, whose victory in the previous race in Brazil was helped by Hamilton spinning while in pursuit.

    “If Lewis feels the pressure and makes a mistake as a result, like today, and a bit like Brazil that is the opportunity I am looking for.

    “I pushed flat out all the time to keep the level extremely high, that is what I do, and I’ll try to go for the win and keep the pressure on.”

    Rosberg, who has just turned just three of his pole positions into victories this season, admitted that beating Hamilton to pole was not too significant.

    “Of course qualifying was my strength this year, but that is not only half of it,” he said.

    “Sunday is what counts and that is where I have looked to improve recently, like Interlagos where I made the step and that is what I need to do tomorrow.”

    Hamilton said he was not downbeat despite not being able to challenge for pole, and the 2008 world champion insisted he is not planning to change his approach for the race.

    “I am not particularly disappointed with it,” he said. “Of course you always want to be on pole.

    “I had good pace throughout qualifying and especially over long runs. Q1 and Q2 were good, in Q3 I didn’t really put a comfortable lap together, it just wasn’t a great lap.

    “Nico did a great job but we are still there for the first tomorrow. I am looking forwards, I will just drive the same as I always drive.”

  2. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton is unfazed by mind games. has the details.

    Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton insists that he is not bothered by Nico Rosberg’s mind games in suggesting that he is the one making mistakes under pressure right now.

    Rosberg says that Hamilton’s spin in Brazil, plus his failure to capture pole in Abu Dhabi, has given him hope that his title rival may slip up in the season finale.

    But Hamilton believes that Rosberg’s claims are just part of the German’s way of dealing with the intensity of the situation they are in.

    Hamilton said: “I don’t really pay much attention to him! Today, I think in mistakes I made the same amount as him.

    “He actually had to do an extra lap on the actual race tyre which hopefully will have an effect tomorrow.

    “There have been very, very few mistakes during the year so I am not worried.

    “Of course Nico is trying everything possible in his head to come up with some kind of way of dealing with things, that is how he deals with it.

    “Me? I just keep it to myself and do my talking on the track.

    “Today he did a great job in Q3 and I will make up for it in tomorrow’s race.”

    Rosberg is adamant, though, that he is boosted by Hamilton’s recent struggles, and says the fact a win is all but essential makes life a bit easier for him.

    “Lewis has everything to lose; I have everything to gain, so for sure the pressure is on him.

    “That’s my opportunity, to keep the pressure on him as much as possible and maybe he will make the mistake, which we saw today for example, and in Brazil also.

    “In Brazil I tried to keep the level as high as possible and push him into that mistake. If there is a Williams a bit closer it could be enough. Who knows?”

    Hamilton only needs to finish right behind Rosberg to win the world championship.

    But despite that relatively straightforward task, he insists he is not taking it easy – and cannot deviate yet from his normal game plan of gunning for victory.

    “I think it is very difficult to go into it [the race] with a plan,” he said. “Every race, my goal is to win. It always is every race weekend.

    “Naturally you are always trying to drive towards the limit. You don’t want to go over and above the limit and, depending on the situation you choose, how close to the limit you want to be.

    “In the last race I stepped over the limit, I won’t be doing that tomorrow, but I can still win by not going to that. As the race unfolds, I will take decisions along the way.

    “I know from experience, I will be better prepared than I ever have been.”

  3. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo have been excluded from qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after their cars were found to be in breach of the regulations.

    A report by F1 technical delegate Jo Bauer on Saturday evening said that the “front wing flaps were designed to flex under aerodynamic load.”

    Following discussions between the stewards and Red Bull representatives, the FIA decided that the cars were illegal.

    A statement issued by the stewards said that both Vettel and Ricciardo were excluded from qualifying, but would be allowed to start from the back of the grid.

    Ricciardo had qualified fifth, with Vettel just one place behind him.

    The long straights of Abu Dhabi, allied to the low speed nature of many of the corners, means that flexible wings would be particularly advantageous around the Yas Marina circuit.

    The team said it accepted the decision, but suggested it was not happy with it.

    “We have been singled out for a front wing deflection test when it is clear that other teams are interpreting the rules in similar fashion,” said Red Bull in a statement.


  4. Williams driver Felipe Massa eyes the Mercedes fight in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. has the story.

    Felipe Massa hopes the Williams can carry the fight to Mercedes in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, despite failing to get either car on the front row in qualifying.

    Massa’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas qualified third, less than two tenths behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton, while fourth-placed Massa reckoned he could have gone faster had he not been delayed by poleman Nico Rosberg on his out-lap in Q3, which he says led to a lock-up at Turn 5 that cost him time.

    Despite failing to beat either Mercedes in qualifying, the Brazilian reckons the pressure of the title battle at the front may help Williams race them on Sunday.

    “If Hamilton doesn’t have a fantastic start, maybe we can be there,” Massa said.

    “Maybe he is also feeling a little bit of pressure, which is not a surprise looking at what happened to him every time he was fighting for the championship.

    “So we will see. If it is possible to be there, we will be.

    “I have less risk, they have more risk, so for sure they need to think twice compared to what we need to think about.”

    Williams performance chief Rob Smedley said his squad would go on the attack in the race, in order to consolidate third place in the constructors’ championship.

    “The worst thing you can do coming into a championship battle – and we’ve still got one with Ferrari – with a small buffer of points and get all defensive about it,” Smedley said.

    “We have to go out and get the maximum points we can.

    “We’ve got our own priorities and want to close the gap on second tomorrow, just as much as we want to extend the gap to third, and that’s the way we have to approach the race.

    “We don’t have to do anything different. We’re getting better and better race-by-race and we have to continue in that ilk.”

    Smedley also reckoned the Mercedes were ultimately out of reach in qualifying, even if Williams had enjoyed a perfect session.

    “Lewis for whatever reason didn’t get everything together, but I think Felipe lost a tenth and a half on his best lap and that would have put him half a tenth behind Lewis,” Smedley added.

    “The reality is you’ve got another Merc up the road by four tenths, and that’s the one to concentrate on.

    “It’s not about showmanship; we have to be honest with ourselves.”

  5. Will this be Jenson Button’s last race? The 2009 world champion hopes this is the case. has the details. McLaren has delayed a decision on its 2015 driver plans until at least December 1, meaning Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen have to wait a few more weeks to find out if they are staying in the sport.

    There have been plenty of tributes to Button this weekend from the media, and the former world champion’s family have flown to Abu Dhabi to be with him.

    However, despite the feelings that it could be his last race, Button has insisted that he has every hope he can continue.

    “I hope this isn’t my last grand prix, I really do because I feel I have a lot to give,” Button said.

    “Of course, there is something in the back of your mind thinking it possible could be, so you have to enjoy it as much as you can.

    “Whether that is pictures on the wall, or untucking your shirt.

    “But I am here to do a job, I can do the best job I can, but off circuit with family and friends, we talk about things more than we would normally.

    “So far I have enjoyed this weekend, and it’s great having my family here.”

    Button qualified in eighth position and was forced to abort a run in Q2 after his team found it had not added enough fuel to complete it.

    The Briton was heard saying “Are you serious?” on the radio after the team asked him to return to the pits.

    “It’s full of emotion in qualifying – especially when you have almost finished your lap and you see that it is good enough to be inside the top 10 in Q2,” he said.

    “So it made it a little bit more difficult, but to be fair, once we had wheeled the car back in the garage, I feel that everyone was very, very relaxed, which helped me relax because it is a very stressful time. I think we handled it very well.”

    McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said the problem had been triggered by a defective fuel pump.

    “We found out that one of the fuel pumps we were using to fill up or drain the car had failed,” said Boullier.

    “So we believed the number was right, but in the lap from Jenson we saw some calculation issues on the telemetry.

    Jenson Button hopes the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is not the last race of his Formula 1 career, despite the uncertainty surrounding his future.

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