Lewis Hamilton produced one of the most impressive qualifying laps of the season to snare pole for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix despite insisting his quickest lap at the new Yas Marina circuit 'wasn't too aggressive'.
The outgoing champion was at his best during the session as he led the way during the first two segments of qualifying and then left his best lap to the end of Q3 to demote Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel from pole position.
Hamilton's quickest lap was nearly seven-tenths of a second quicker than his closest rival as he picked up his fourth pole of the year although the Briton admitted he hadn't been an aggressive drive despite the advantage over the remainder of the field.
“My pole lap wasn't too aggressive,” he said. “I was very smooth, and it just kept getting better and better. KERS Hybrid and the engine have been fantastic all season – and today was no exception – but it's the chassis that has really come good lately and we've brought them all together this weekend to create the perfect package.
“Even more encouragingly, this is all a work-in-progress for next year – and winning tomorrow would be a perfect way to end the season and raise our expectations for 2010. It should be an exciting race – I just want to go out and do the job tomorrow.”
Having been on the pace throughout practice, team-mate Heikki Kovalainen was expected to join Hamilton in fighting for pole but a transmission issue in the second phase of qualifying left him stranded on track and down in 13th on the grid.
“What a disappointing outcome to my qualifying,” the Finn admitted. “I got stuck in second gear during Q2 and that was it. I already had minor problems with the gearbox yesterday when it jumped out of gear, so it's frustrating when you have a car you can easily take into Q3.
“But I'm looking at the positives: the balance of my car has been good throughout the entire weekend, and it's been great to drive on this fantastic circuit. You can absolutely guarantee I'll be giving it my all in the race tomorrow and I'll be fighting from the first lap to the very last.”