- Abu Dhabi GP - Qualifying
Rosberg beats Hamilton to pole at title showdown
Nico Rosberg gave his championship chances an important boost by taking pole position at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton.
- Hamilton needs to finish:
First or second
Fifth or better if Rosberg fails to win
Sixth if Rosberg finishes third or lower
Eighth if Rosberg does not reach the podium
Ninth if Rosberg is not in the top four
Tenth if Rosberg cannot manage better than sixth
Rosberg needs to finish:
First if Hamilton is not second
Second if Hamilton is not in the top five
Fourth if Hamilton is no higher than ninth
Fifth if Hamilton is no higher than tenth
Rosberg cannot win if he finishes sixth or lower
Rosberg, whose best chance of taking the title requires him to win Sunday's race with Hamilton third, was comfortably quickest by nearly 0.4s as Hamilton made mistakes on both attempts in the battle for pole. Rosberg set a good banker lap and improved on his second run, while Hamilton locked up at the final corner on his first attempt and made a mistake on the brakes again at the first corner of his second lap.
At one point Hamilton came dangerously close to slipping to third behind Williams' Valtteri Bottas, who was 0.004s off the Mercedes driver before Hamilton increased that gap to over 0.25s on his final run. Felipe Massa had to settle for fourth in the second Williams ahead of the two Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel. However, both Red Bulls were later excluded for running illegal front wings and will start from the back of the grid as a result.
Daniil Kvyat, secured an impressive seventh place which will become fifth in his last race at Toro Rosso, ahead of Jenson Button and the two Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. McLaren's Kevin Magnussen missed out on a place in the top ten shootout by 0.030s from Raikkonen but will start ninth with the Red Bull exclusion. Jean-Eric Vergne is moved up to 10th ahead of Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Adrian Sutil.
Romain Grosjean qualified 16th but will start ahead of the Red Bulls on the second to last row of the grid once his 20-place engine penalty is applied and will also have to serve a drive-through penalty. That moved Esteban Gutierrez, Pastor Maldonado, Kamui Kobayashi and Caterham rookie Will Stevens up three places in total.