Lewis Hamilton confirmed McLaren's early weekend pace by claiming pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ahead of both Red Bull contenders.
Despite his reluctance to consider himself a pole contender on Friday, the Briton needed just a single lap, backing off on his second flier when it became apparent that no-one would beat him, and eventually took top spot by three tenths. Behind him, it wasn't the expected Sebastian Vettel in second place, but Mark Webber, who out-gunned his title-contending team-mate by a tenth. Worse still for Vettel, however, he then failed to get back to the pit-lane, parking up under the hotel on the final section of the lap. If the issue is fuel-related, as it was with Lewis Hamilton in Barcelona, the German could be sent to the back of the grid, but team communications tend to suggest that it may instead be a mechanical problem...
Vettel ended the session some four places ahead of championship rival Fernando Alonso, who could only manage seventh spot after Pastor Maldonado produced another sterling effort for Williams and Jenson Button found time on his second run to slot in ahead of the Spaniard and behind Kimi Raikkonen. Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean completed the top ten, although the Frenchman could face a possible penalty for an unsafe release from his garage.
Full qualifying session report now available
Full qualifying session times are available