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Qualifying highlights - Abu Dhabi 2014 - Williams lock out the second row as Mercedes do their thing

Published by Christine

Ricciardo at sundown
Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images

With all the attention firmly on the fight between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, it's easy to forget that pole position isn't the be all and end all at the Yas Marina track. There have been winners from the top four positions over the past few years, and starting from that front grid slot doesn't automatically mean victory. That being said, there's still pride at stake, and taking the final pole position of 2014 will boost any driver's confidence.

If you missed any of the qualifying session and want an easy-to-read recap, the Factbyte Factbox replay is here to lend a hand. Enjoy lap by lap coverage of the Saturday action from Abu Dhabi.

As it happened: Abu Dhabi 2014 - Qualifying

Event Highlights

  • Rosberg outpaced Hamilton for pole position, after some scrappy laps from Lewis.
  • Williams secured the second row with Bottas just ahead of Massa.
  • Alonso ran wide on his final lap, finishing 10th directly behind Räikkönen.
  • McLaren had pace, despite a refuelling mistake, but Magnussen finished 11th.
  • Romain Grosjean dropped out in Q1, with a 20 place grid penalty and a drive through in the race
  • 12:30

    Hello F1 friends! It's the final qualifying session of the year. Are you ready? I am!

  • 12:31

    Abu Dhabi plays host to the final round of the 2014 season, and this is the moment to decide pole position for the last race. Nico Rosberg has already secured the pole position trophy this year, so it's all out for the top honours at Yas Marina.

  • 12:32

    Naturally, all attention is on the Rosberg/Hamilton battle, going into the championship showdown as the final two contenders, old friends and teammate rivals. Epic!

  • 12:35

    Hamilton topped both the Friday practice sessions but Rosberg snatched the fastest time in the final hour of practice this morning.

    Fastest Session Times
    Free Practice 1L Hamilton1:43.476
    Free Practice 2L Hamilton1:42.113
    Free Practice 3N Rosberg1:41.424
  • 12:36
    Factbyte Factbox image

    Soft and supersoft tyres are on offer this weekend, and it's looking set to be a dry weekend throughout. The twilight aspect means lower temperatures to deal with but otherwise the conditions shouldn't be a factor.

  • 12:38

    Fernando Alonso found himself stranded out on track after just a couple of laps in FP2, and although he managed the fourth fastest time in final practice, his Ferrari again stopped with half the session to go. The Spaniard might be affected by a lack of running in his final race for the Scuderia.

  • 12:42

    Ted News: A last minute scare on Rosberg's car, a broken floor during FP3 had to be changed ahead of qualifying. They've just finished and it had to be re-scrutineered, so it all takes a bit of time. Now mechanics hurrying to be ready for the session ahead.

  • 12:43

    Romain Grosjean has somehow managed to get himself a 20 place grid penalty today, so unless he manages to end up on pole position, he'll be starting from the rear of the field and/or the pitlane. It was an engine penalty on top of an engine penalty that has made life difficult for the Lotus driver.

  • 12:43

    There are 20 cars on the grid this weekend, with Caterham's return. So the sessions are adjusted again to have five cars out in Q1, five again in Q2 and then the normal top ten shootout.

  • 12:44

    Caterham are running Kamui Kobayashi and Will Stevens, with the latter having a little bit of experience in Abu Dhabi. His running so far hasn't been smooth sailing but this F1 debut is a baptism of fire anyway.

  • 12:49

    Felipe Massa was best of the rest in final practice today, and the Williams team have been talking about how determined they are to secure third place in the championship this weekend. They have 44 points over Ferrari, so the maths is in their favour, but of course, it's double points tomorrow.

  • 12:50

    The sun is starting to set at Yas Marina now, with just ten minutes to go. The low sun and the shadows may be a bit tricky to deal with at the very start of qualifying, but it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

  • 12:50

    Weather icon

    Wind speed3.6mps
  • 12:51

    TweetTweet from @pirellisport: Qualifying for #AbuDhabiGP starts in 10 min. In five races here to date, there has only ever been one winner from pole: Vettel 2010

  • 12:53

    There's an interesting qualifying battle between the Sauber pair, with Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutiérrez both with nine apiece. The same goes for the McLaren duo, Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen.

  • 12:54

    Daniil Kvyat has been looking quite racy this weekend, but teammate Vergne is still looking for a drive and desperate to impress.

    Qualifying Battle
    Toro RossoQualified Ahead
  • 12:57

    The track temperature is about fifteen degrees lower than it was in FP3, so it may take a minute or two for the drivers to adapt.

  • 12:59

    The flags on top of the grandstands are flapping nicely in the breeze, which makes for a good picture but the wind might be another thing for the drivers to watch out for.

  • 12:59

    More on Grosjean's 20-place penalty, if he doesn't get pole position today, then he'll have to take an in-race time penalty. That's down to the rule where engine penalties get held over to the next race, but there is no next race.

  • 13:00

    Green flagQualifying session 1 begins.

  • 13:00

    Will Stevens peels out of the Caterham garage just in front of Sergio Pérez. He's the first driver to hit the track for this first session.

  • 13:01

    Button and Magnussen also head out for an early look at the track.

  • 13:02

    It's soft tyres for most of the drivers, although the Caterham duo have put on the supersofts already.

  • 13:02

    It also looks like Rosberg has the supersoft tyres on too.

  • 13:03

    Hamilton has put those red striped supersofts on as well, there's actually a good mix between the two compounds by those who have gone out so far.

  • 13:03

    The four Red Bull and Toro Rosso drivers have not yet left the garage, as Romain Grosjean exits for his first installation lap.

  • 13:05

    Valtteri Bottas puts the first real benchmark time in of 1:42.346. Massa slips into second, with Magnussen a further few tenths behind.

  • 13:05

    Mercedes head out to drop the times immediately, Rosberg crosses the line for a 1:41.3. Hamilton locks up on his first flying lap.

  • 13:06

    Another mistake around the final corner and Hamilton still manages to shave a tenth of a second off his teammate's time.

  • 13:07

    Still no sign of the Red Bull pair, but Kvyat and Vergne have set off for their first laps.

  • 13:09

    Hamilton and Rosberg come into the pit lane, as do several others. There are still drivers scrabbling for laptimes out on track though.

  • 13:09

    Kvyat wraps up his first timed lap of the session and it's a 1:42.5, good enough for fifth place at the moment.

  • 13:09

    Team radioJenson Button's radio suggests he's struggling with front locking today. The team confirm they can see it in the data.

  • 13:10

    TweetTweet from @McLarenF1: Quali is underway. The boys are using the fast lap/slow lap/fast lap approach in Q1 to get the best out of the tyres.

  • 13:11

    At the halfway point, Red Bull finally do send their boys out for a run. Vettel and Ricciardo hit the track for their initial runs.

  • 13:11

    Grosjean improves on his lap time for eighth place. Teammate Maldonado is also up in the top ten at the moment, but the times should start dropping in the final five minutes.

  • 13:12

    The drop zone at this moment, if you don't count the tardy Red Bulls, is Stevens, Kobayashi, Räikkönen, Pérez and Alonso. I suspect there may be more to come from the Ferraris too.

  • 13:13

    Vettel's first lap time puts him in fourth place. And Ricciardo follows behind to sneak into third.

  • 13:14

    TweetTweet from @pirellisport: We expect the softs to be the main race tyre. So don't expect the teams to be shy when it comes to using up supersofts in qualifying

  • 13:16

    Jenson Button gets his skates on and jumps up to third place. Everyone is still a second adrift from Mercedes though.

  • 13:16

    I take that back, Kevin Magnussen crosses the line for third place, and the gap is under nine tenths now. Of course, both Hamilton and Rosberg are in the garage and not defending their P1 and P2 positions.

  • 13:17

    Michelle Rodriguez watches on from the safety of the garages. Loving the fast and furious action, no doubt.

  • 13:17

    TweetTweet from @MercedesAMGF1: 2 mins left in Q1. Both drivers staying in the garage... watching the same feed as you from the comfort of the cockpit!

  • 13:18

    Chequered flagQualifying session 1 ends.

  • 13:18

    Caterham, Sauber and Lotus are in the drop zone, but all drivers still on a lap.

  • 13:18

    Will Stevens is done, he's last.

  • 13:19

    Pastor Maldonado improves to 15th place, but Esteban Gutiérrez hauls himself out of the drop zone to push the Lotus back down once more.

  • 13:19

    Adrian Sutil does exactly the same, pushing his teammate into the bottom five. Grosjean improves on his lap but can't get himself out of the drop zone.

  • 13:20
    Out in Q1
    16R GrosjeanLotus
    17E GutiérrezSauber
    18P MaldonadoLotus
    19K KobayashiCaterham
    20W StevensCaterham
  • 13:20

    Tough break for Grosjean. That's not quite the pole position he was looking for.

  • 13:21

    The fastest three in that session were Hamilton, Rosberg and Massa - who put in a last minute lap to end up two tenths off the Mercedes pair.

  • 13:24

    Tough break for the Caterham duo, both about two seconds off the pace of the rest. Three seconds off Mercedes, but that's hardly a fair comparison!

  • 13:25

    Green flagQualifying session 2 begins.

  • 13:25

    Adrian Sutil managed to snatch a place in Q2 at the last minute, meaning he tips the scales of the qualifying battle at Sauber 10-9.

  • 13:26

    Valtteri Bottas managed to save a set of tyres in that first session, the only driver to use just the soft compounds in Q1.

  • 13:27

    Sergio Pérez heads out first for Q2.

  • 13:27

    He's quickly joined by his teammate, plus Sutil, Räikkönen, Massa and Rosberg.

  • 13:28

    TweetTweet from @WilliamsRacing: For those asking, the slightly different livery is to comply with alcohol advertising regulations here in #AbuDhabi

  • 13:29

    14 drivers are now out on track with just Jenson Button remaining in the garage for now.

  • 13:29

    Button joins the fun so that we have a full house of all fifteen drivers now out on track.

  • 13:30

    Pérez's first lap time is a 1:42.4 and Hülkenberg is a full half a second and more slower than his teammate.

  • 13:31

    Massa takes a lot of kerb as he crosses the line for the first timed lap this session, he's dropped the benchmark to a 1:41.5.

  • 13:31

    Replays show Nico Rosberg locking up and missing the chicane at turn 8/9. Taking plenty of run off as he regains the track.

  • 13:32

    Valtteri Bottas must also have made an error on the track somewhere, as he's a second slower than Rosberg, who himself was 13 seconds off the pace.

  • 13:32

    Hamilton shows what the Mercedes should be capable of, with a 1:40.9.

  • 13:32

    Team radioTeam radio to Fernando Alonso: "A lot of mistakes from other people as conditions are certainly not easy, but that's a reasonable lap."

  • 13:33

    Rosberg puts together a clean lap this time, moving up to second place with 0.5s to his teammate.

  • 13:34

    Moment of calm as the drivers return to the pit lane. Neither McLaren driver has set a laptime so far this session.

  • 13:34

    The drop zone currently features Räikkönen, Hülkenberg, Sutil, Magnussen and Button.

  • 13:35

    Just over four minutes to go and Jenson Button casually leaves the garage and heads through the pit exit tunnel.

  • 13:36

    Magnussen is also out on track, and Hülkenberg too.

  • 13:36

    Replays show Button was called into the pit lane for a fuel top up earlier, to which he responded: "Are you serious?"

  • 13:37

    Team radioTeam radio to Daniel Ricciardo: "Okay Daniel, we're not going to run again. Nice job."

    He's currently fifth with a 1:41.6.

  • 13:38

    Less than two minutes on the clock and it's just Hamilton, Rosberg and Ricciardo remaining in the garage. Everyone else wants to give it one more go.

  • 13:39

    Button crosses the line for sixth place, Magnussen is in ninth. Both McLarens into the top ten for now.

  • 13:40

    Kimi Räikkönen, on a hot lap and hoping to get into the top ten, sails round the final corner and snatches 9th place.

  • 13:40

    Chequered flagQualifying session 2 ends.

  • 13:41
    Prince Harry watches on

    Royalty at Red Bull.

  • 13:42
    Out in Q2
    11K MagnussenMcLaren
    12JE VergneToro Rosso
    13S PérezForce India
    14N HülkenbergForce India
    15A SutilSauber
  • 13:44

    The fastest three in that session were Hamilton, Massa and Bottas. The Williams pair put on some speed in their final lap to both split the Mercedes cars.

    Fastest Sector Times
    Sector 1F Massa17.577
    Sector 2V Bottas42.121
    Sector 3L Hamilton40.897
    Ideal lap1:40.595
  • 13:47

    The top ten shootout features Mercedes, Williams, Red Bull, Ferrari plus Button and Kvyat.

  • 13:48

    Green flagQualifying session 3 begins.

  • 13:49

    It's Bottas who leads the way this time, with Vettel following swiftly behind. Everyone looks keen to get this Q3 session underway.

  • 13:49

    TweetTweet from @MercedesAMGF1: Get set GO! 12 mins of out and out racing, a straight fight to find as much time as possible! It's a matter of thousandths here!

  • 13:50

    All but Kimi Räikkönen have gone out for their first runs of Q3.

  • 13:50

    Weather icon

    Wind speed3.4mps
  • 13:50

    Team radioTeam radio from Lewis Hamilton: "There's vibration on these tyres again."

  • 13:52

    Bottas looks to be on a nice, clean lap, if not out and out fast. His first lap time is a 1:41.3, deposing Sebastian Vettel who had managed a 1:42.1.

  • 13:52

    Felipe Massa follows his teammate across the finish line and knocks a couple of tenths off the benchmark.

  • 13:53

    Rosberg heads straight to the top of the timesheets with Hamilton chasing him behind. A mistake in the final two corners sees Hamilton's lap unravel and he has to settle for second this time.

  • 13:53

    Too much power into that corner, hitting the kerbs hard and locking up around the final turn.

  • 13:54

    The first run sees Rosberg ahead of Hamilton, Massa leading Bottas, and Ricciardo ahead of Vettel. Time for a quick stop in the pits again.

  • 13:56

    Moment of calm with no cars on track, but Vettel breaks cover and heads out for the final stint. Ricciardo follows his teammate out of the pit lane.

  • 13:56

    Kimi Räikkönen is directed out of the garage for the first time this session, he's saving it all up for one run.

  • 13:57

    Rosberg is the first of the Mercedes drivers to leave the garage, but Hamilton isn't far behind - composing himself to take the fight to the provisional polesitter.

  • 14:00

    Chequered flagQualifying session 3 ends.

  • 14:00

    Bottas is on a great lap and he crosses the line for third place. Three tenths off pole.

  • 14:00

    Räikkönen's first lap time moves him up to seventh place.

  • 14:00

    Rosberg goes even faster than his previous time. Hamilton had a terrible first sector.

  • 14:01

    Second for Hamilton, with the full three tenths between them.

  • 14:01

    StopwatchPole position for Nico Rosberg with a time of 1:40.480.

  • 14:02
    Q3 results
    1N RosbergMercedes
    2L HamiltonMercedes
    3V BottasWilliams
    4F MassaWilliams
    5D RicciardoRed Bull
    6S VettelRed Bull
    7D KvyatToro Rosso
    8J ButtonMcLaren
    9K RäikkönenFerrari
    10F AlonsoFerrari
  • 14:03

    Replays show Alonso locked up and missed the chicane, ruining that final lap and putting him last of the top ten, directly behind his teammate.

  • 14:03
    Gap Analysis
  • 14:08

    QuoteToto Wolff on what they may or may not be telling their drivers ahead of the race tomorrow: "It makes no sense to tell the drivers anything anymore, it’s too late. They’re in their own little bubble ahead of the race. We’ve told them so many things through the season, it makes sense to leave them alone now."

  • 14:08
    Rosberg vs. Hamilton
  • 14:10

    A great session that, and it sets up tomorrow perfectly. Rosberg can only win the race and hope for the best and he's put himself in the right position for that. Hamilton can still afford to finish second, but will be looking for the win. The polesitter hasn't always had the advantage at Yas Marina, but tomorrow is probably going to be all about dealing with the pressure.

  • 14:11

    Williams will be relieved to start on the second row, they're hoping to wrap up third in the constructor's championship, and don't appear to be under threat from Ferrari at all.

  • 14:13

    Abu Dhabi doesn't have a tradition of fine racing, but with a championship hanging in the balance, it's going to be unmissable. Please join me back here again tomorrow for lap by lap coverage of the season finale of 2014!

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