Nico Rosberg’s run of pole position continued in Abu Dhabi as he beat Lewis Hamilton on an evening when Sebastian Vettel was a shock exit in Q1.
Although it was Rosberg who went into qualifying as the driver to beat, it was Hamilton who set the pace in the opening two segments.
Rosberg, however, fought back in Q3. He posted a 1:40.738 to take provisional pole while Hamilton’s first effort was slower than his Q2 time.
Heading out for a second run on fresh supersoft tyres Hamilton was the first to cross the line, doing so with a 1:40.614 to edge his team-mate by 0.124s.
Rosberg again came back at his team-mate with a 1:40.237 handing him pole position by 0.377s.
Kimi Raikkonen snatched third place off Sergio Perez on their final run as he edged the Force India by a tenth.
Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Red Bull Racing ahead of Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa.
Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz completed the season’s final top ten for qualifying.
Vettel was a shock exit in Q1 as, despite being out on track and on a hot lap when the chequered flag fell, the Ferrari driver was not able to put in a good lap. For whatever reason he slowed as he entered Turn 7 but later revealed that there were “no issues with the car.” He willstart Sunday’s season finale from P16.
There were also problems for Romain Grosjean who was told “we have a problem, do not change gear, bring the car in slowly” as his E23 ran into undisclosed troubles. Lotus managed to get him back out only for the Frenchman to come to a halt on the side of the track. “I lost everything,” was his explanation. He’ll start his Lotus swansong P15.
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:40.237
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:40.614 +0.377
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:41.051 +0.814
4 Sergio Perez Force India 1:41.184 +0.947
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:41.444 +1.207
6 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:41.656 +1.419
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:41.686 +1.449
8 Felipe Massa Williams 1:41.759 +1.522
9 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:41.933 +1.696
10 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:42.708 +2.471
11 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:42.521
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1:42.668
13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:42.807
14 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:43.614
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus no time
16 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:42.941
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:43.187
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:43.838
19 Will Stevens Manor 1:46.297
20 Roberto Merhi Manor 1:47.658