Lewis Hamilton insists that, while he was obviously chasing pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he was not too disappointed to be lining up behind F1 title rival Nico Rosberg.

The two Mercedes drivers went into the hour-long qualifying as favourites for pole, having dominated the three practice sessions that preceded it, but it was Rosberg - who trails his team-mate by 17 points going into the final race - who emerged on top after appearing to put together a far cleaner lap than Hamilton when it mattered most.

The Briton insisted that his lap had not been that bad, but he was clearly relieved not to have been separated from the sister Mercedes by the deceptively quick Williams of Valtteri Bottas which, after its second run, closed to within 0.004secs of the #44 machine. Hamilton then improved his own mark, but it was not enough to deny Rosberg his eleventh pole of the year.

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"I'm not particularly disappointed with [my performance]," he claimed, "Of course, you always want to be on pole as that's what we work for. I had good pace throughout practice - and particularly on the long runs, which is comforting - then Q1 and Q2 was good. Q3 was just about not putting a comfortable lap together - it wasn't really a lot of mistakes or anything, just not a great lap. Nico did a great job, but we're still there for the fight tomorrow."

Strangely muted when asked how he would approach the start of the race ("the same as every time"), and whether he would be prepared to settle for the second place that would deliver a second world title ("it's not my style"), Hamilton did admit that it was a very different situation to battling for his first championship with Felipe Massa in 2008.

"I don't really remember much from 2008 but, obviously, it was a great season," he reflected, "This is a lot different, as I'm much older and, hopefully, wiser, having learned a lot along the way. It's a great battle, although it's different when it's your team mate and not someone from another team. But it's just as exciting..."