Full qualifying times HERE

  • 11th pole position of the season, 0.4s clear of Hamilton
  • Hamilton errors leave him second with two Williams' behind
  • P2 in the race will guarantee Hamilton title

Nico Rosberg took a crucial pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as he comfortably beat team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton.

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Rosberg took the early advantage in Q3 on the first runs as Hamilton ran wide out of the penultimate corner and then locked up, leaving him over 0.3s shy of his team-mate. Rosberg then improved on his final lap and Hamilton ended up 0.4s back, with Valtteri Bottas almost pipping him to second place.

Bottas was fastest in the first two sectors on his final lap, with Hamilton having had a poor opening sector, but the Mercedes dominance in the second half of the lap ensured Hamilton held on to P2. Felipe Massa starts fourth alongside his Williams team-mate, with the two Red Bulls originally on row three but later excluded for breaching technical regulations.

Daniil Kvyat impressed with seventh place ahead of Jenson Button, while Kimi Raikkonen outqualified team-mate Fernando Alonso on the fifth row.

The second part of qualifying accounted for Kevin Magnussen as team-mate Button was over 0.3s quicker, while Jean-Eric Vergne also failed to follow his team-mate through to Q3. They both dropped out ahead of the two Force Indias - with Sergio Perez ahead of Nico Hulkenberg - and Adrian Sutil.

Q1 was a tight affair as the two Lotus and Sauber drivers fought to avoid dropping out alongside Caterham. Sutil managed to pull himself through in to Q2 with his final flying lap, with Romain Grosjean failing to beat him by just 0.022s. A mere 0.114s covered Sutil in 15th to Pastor Maldonado in 18th place.

Grosjean's position of 16th will see him drop to the back of the grid as a result of a 20-place grid penalty for using sixth power unit elements. The remaining 16 positions will equate to a drive-through penalty which Grosjean must take in the race.

At the back of the field, Will Stevens delivered an impressive performance to qualify just half a second off team-mate Kamui Kobayashi in his first qualifying session for Caterham, having steadily closed the gap to Kobayashi throughout the weekend.

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The only way Nico can win is to back Lewis into the Williams cars at the start, or do a Schumacher Jerez trick, but obviously take Lewis out lol! But first he's got to convert that pole into a win, something he's struggled with a bit this year......