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Rosberg pips Hamilton to pole

Nico Rosberg grabbed a crucial pole position ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the build-up to the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Staff Reporter
22 November 2014, 3:22pm
Nico Rosberg stormed to pole position during Saturday evening's qualifying session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, comfortably outpacing Mercedes team-mate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

Rosberg had trailed Hamilton ahead of the top 10 shootout but set a blistering time of 1:40.480 when it mattered to finish 0.386s clear.

Hamilton only narrowly beat Williams duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa, after his Q3 efforts were tarnished by a number of errors.

Hamilton holds a 17-point lead over Rosberg heading into Sunday's twilight race, with a maximum of 50 points on offer to the drivers.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo came close to the second row of the grid, but ultimately had to settle for fifth, ahead of outgoing team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Daniil Kvyat placed seventh for Toro Rosso, while Jenson Button finished eighth to ensure that he outqualified McLaren team-mate Kevin Magnussen 10-9 over the course of the season.

The top 10 was completed by the Ferrari drivers, with Kimi Räikkönen getting the better of Fernando Alonso despite completing just one Q3 run.

Magnussen was edged out of the final shootout by a late Räikkönen improvement, and is due to share the sixth row with Jean-Éric Vergne's Toro Rosso.

Force India drivers Sergio Pérez and Nico Hülkenberg also fell at the second hurdle, while Sauber driver Adrian Sutil was the slowest of the Q2 runners.

Romain Grosjean missed out on a place in Q2 by just two hundredths of a second, and looks set to take a drive-through in the race due to his complex 20-place penalty.

The Frenchman was joined on the sidelines by the remaining Sauber of Esteban Gutiérrez and Lotus team-mate Pastor Maldonado.

At Caterham, Kamui Kobayashi held the upper hand over F1 newcomer Will Stevens, but the gap was again reduced, this time to half a second.

Stevens had been on target to match his more experienced team-mate, but made a mistake during the final sector of his best lap.

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