Nico Rosberg has secured his sixth consecutive pole position ahead of the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The German posted a late lap to demote Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to second position by 0.377 seconds. Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen was a further half a second behind in third position.

Sergio Pérez confirmed the pace Force India had been displaying throughout the weekend by qualifying fourth, three-tenths of a second quicker than Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was knocked out in Q1 after he had a problem with his engine attempting his first flying lap on the super soft tyres. It didn’t help his cause that Ferrari had left it to the final minutes of the session to make the late switch from the soft compound to the super softs, which left Vettel very little room for error.

Joining Vettel in the dropout zone was McLaren’s Fernando Alonso who qualified in 17th position. Alonso wasn’t able to challenge for a spot on Q2 as he received a puncture late in the session which saw him abort his lap.

Romain Grosjean struggled with the car in his final qualifying for the Lotus outfit, as a hydraulics problem forced him into the garage for half of the Q2 session. He re-joined the circuit towards the end of the session in an attempt to register a time and get into the final stage of qualifying, although it wasn’t meant to be as his E22 stopped on track just before Turn Eight due to a gearbox issue.

Carlos Sainz Jr. left it late to post his flying lap at the end of Q2, but it was good enough to promote him into the top ten at the expense of his team-mate Max Verstappen, whose wasn’t able to challenge Sainz’s best time.

Once Q3 started, Pérez was the first driver out on the track and set a lap time of 1:41.184, which was soon followed by Nico Hülkenberg in the other Force India, although he was a second off Perez’s pace.

Hamilton then demoted Pérez from provisional pole, but he was quickly beaten by Rosberg’s time of 1:40.237. The final round in Q3 saw Hamilton re-take provisional pole by a tenth of a second while Räikkönen could only manage third eight-tenths slower. Rosberg was then the last driver to cross the line, claiming pole position by a convincing three-tenths of a second, in an older and apparently less powered engine.

2015 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Qualifying Results
Pos Q3 Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap Laps
1. Nico Rosberg de Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid 1:40.237 12
2. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W06 Hybrid 1:40.614 + 0.377 12
3. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T 1:41.051 + 0.814 14
4. Sergio Pérez mx Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B 1:41.184 + 0.947 18
5. Daniel Ricciardo au Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11 1:41.444 + 1.207 17
6. Valtteri Bottas fi Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37 1:41.656 + 1.419 19
7. Nico Hülkenberg de Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM08B 1:41.686 + 1.449 15
8. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW37 1:41.759 + 1.522 20
9. Daniil Kvyat ru Infiniti Red Bull Racing Renault RB11 1:41.933 + 1.696 22
10. Carlos Sainz Jr. es Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10 1:42.708 + 2.471 17
Pos Q2 Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap* Laps
11. Max Verstappen nl Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR10 1:42.521 + 1.763 14
12. Jenson Button uk McLaren Honda MP4-30 1:42.668 + 1.910 12
13. Pastor Maldonado ve Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid 1:42.807 + 2.049 13
14. Felipe Nasr br Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34 1:43.614 + 2.856 14
15. Romain Grosjean fr Lotus F1 Team Mercedes E23 Hybrid no time 11
Pos Q1 Qualifiers Team / Entry Time Gap** Laps
16. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T 1:42.941 + 1.967 7
17. Fernando Alonso es McLaren Honda MP4-30 1:43.187 + 2.213 5
18. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C34 1:43.838 + 2.864 7
19. Will Stevens^ uk Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B 1:46.297 + 5.323 7
20. Roberto Merhi es Manor Marussia F1 Team Ferrari MR03B 1:47.434 + 6.460 8

* Denotes gap to fastest Q2 time of 1:40.758 posted by Lewis Hamilton
** Denotes gap to fastest Q1 time of 1:40.974 posted by Lewis Hamilton

^ Post-qualifying penalties:

  • Will Stevens – who originally qualified 19th-fastest – will drop 5 grid places for an unscheduled power unit element change (Control Electronic).

Image via Mercedes AMG F1 Petronas

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Josh Kruse

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