• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Qualifying

Vettel snatches 14th pole of the season

ESPNF1 Staff
November 12, 2011

Sebastian Vettel took his 14th pole position of the season as he edged out the McLarens with the final lap of qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel's time of 1:38.481 came right at the end of the session to beat Lewis Hamilton by just 0.141s, with Jenson Button only 0.009s slower than his team-mate. Mark Webber will start alongside Button on row two, ahead of both Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, while it was also two-by-two behind them with Nico Rosberg ahead of Michael Schumacher and Adrian Sutil in ninth and Paul di Resta tenth.

The first runs of the shootout saw Hamilton set the provisional pole position time, beating his team-mate by 0.3s. The Red Bull pair followed him over the line with Webber getting within 0.15s before Vettel split the two of them for second. Button still had time to find after almost losing the rear end in the final corner, and so it looked like a McLaren pole could be in the offing before Vettel's late show, which saw him equal Nigel Mansell's record of 14 in a season.

In Q2 Force India excelled to get through ahead of Schumacher, who had been told to find half a second and duly did to get through in 10th place. Only Sergio Perez looked really likely to challenge him but was unable to improve on his final lap and missed out on a place in the final part of qualifying by 0.2s.

The session was red flagged during Q2 as Massa ran over a bollard at turn 13, leaving the base of it on the racing line. Button then flicked it across the track but it remained sat on the circuit and had to be removed. Pastor Maldonado went for one run at the end of the session despite already having a 10-place grid penalty for using his ninth engine of the season, but 17th quickest means he will start last on the grid.

After an oil leak scuppered his running in FP3, Rubens Barrichello was the man to drop out in the first part of qualifying as he could didn't go out to set a time. The lack of running would not have helped his set-up and even though he had time to go out for one run at the end of the session he stayed in the garage and missed out alongside the usual suspects of Heikki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock, Daniel Ricciardo, Jerome d'Ambrosio and Tonio Liuzzi. It was a notable performance from Ricciardo, 0.1s behind Glock and over half a second quicker than his team-mate.