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GP Week : Issue 215
QUALIFYING everything was as usual as the grid was decided for the final race of the year – the title decider. Indeed, with the exception of post-qualifying events, the grid was to take up a most familiar look. Yet again, Nico Rosberg played second fiddle during practice, only to put it together almost perfectly in Q3 while, again, Lewis overdrove, locked up here and there, and got beaten by nearly four-tenths. Familiar pattern. However. With everything at stake, the post-qualifying comments from the pair couldn’t have been more contrasting: Nico effusive, Lewis measured – maybe his way of keeping the pressure off himself. Rosberg: "Yeah, it was a great day again today I’m sure. I’m thankful to the engineers and everything, because they did a good job, sorted out the car ... I was really happy with the set-up. “I got a good lap together in the end; I’m pleased with that. But, of course, it’s only one step, a very small step, because this weekend it’s about the championship, not about pole position or anything. “Of course, I was hoping, you know, who knows ... Valtteri said he got his perfect lap together, so there wasn’t anything else in that. Of course it would have been great if somehow there could have been a Williams between thetwoofus...butthatcan always happen tomorrow. For sure, starting first is a great place to be and it should be a good start.” Hamilton (asked how he would approach Turn 1): “Same as every time.” How are you going to conduct the race? “Same as always.” Okay. And while the F1 press might have wished to hype it up, the fact remained that, again, the Mercs would most likely be in their own race – which was all Lewis needed. On this occasion, Valtteri Bottas won the Williams contest for the best spot on the second row, a tenth up on team-mate Massa, but nearly six-tenths from pole and, on usual form, unlikely to look after the tyres as well as the silver cars. Situation normal all round really, as Valtteri suggested, when quizzed about his approach to the first corner: “Same as usual really, just trying to gain any positions if there are possibilities but in the end the race is never won in the first corner, so that’s good to remember. So this race is no different to any other for me.” Daniel Ricciardo was only a tenth away from a second row start and a significant six-tenths ahead of the next car, his team-mate ... but then there was THAT problem with the front wings and the RB That old familar (with one exception) look formula 1 round 19 aBu dHaBi gp – Qualifying POS # DRIvER TEAM Q1 Q2 Q3 LAPS 1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:41.308 1:41.459 1:40.480 13 2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:41.207 1:40.920 1:40.866 12 3 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:42.346 1:41.376 1:41.025 18 4 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:41.475 1:41.144 1:41.119 20 DQ 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:42.204 1:41.692 1:41.267 12 DQ 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:42.495 1:42.147 1:41.893 17 7 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:42.302 1:42.082 1:41.908 18 8 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:42.137 1:41.875 1:41.964 18 9 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:42.439 1:42.168 1:42.236 15 10 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:42.467 1:41.940 1:42.866 19 11 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:42.104 1:42.198 13 12 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:42.413 1:42.207 12 13 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:42.654 1:42.239 15 14 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:42.444 1:42.384 12 15 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:42.746 1:43.074 14 16 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:42.768 8 17 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:42.819 8 18 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:42.860 8 19 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:44.540 7 20 46 Will Stevens Caterham-Renault 1:45.095 8 28 GPWEEK.com // 28 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> ABU DHABI PARTNERS: