Lewis Hamilton grabs pole for the desert showdown

Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position, after posting a lap time that was three tenths quicker than title rival Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton was ahead throughout each session, improving mainly in the middle and final sectors where Rosberg was mainly losing time. In the final run Rosberg did go faster in these parts of the circuit, although by then Hamilton was on his way to going two tenths quicker than his previous effort.

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12. 26.11.2016. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Qualifying Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com - copy of publication required for printed pictures. Every used picture is fee-liable. © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

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In the end Hamilton posted a 1m38.755s, while Rosberg could only manage a 1m39.058s. Daniel Ricciardo starts alongside Kimi Raikkonen – who out qualified team mate Sebastian Vettel for the 12th time – and is set to start on the Super Soft tyre after setting his fastest time in Q2 on them.

Max Verstappen also did the same, starting behind Vettel in 6th on the grid. Both Force India’s are next with Nico Hulkenberg ahead of Sergio Perez, while Fernando Alonso starts ahead of Felipe Massa for what will be the latter’s final Grand Prix.

Bottas out as Button fails to make Q3 in final appearance 

Valterri Bottas will start from 11th after being knocked out by a late improvement by Fernando Alonso. The Williams driver starts alongside Jenson Button, who on his final qualifying appearance was unable to get into the final part of qualifying.

Esteban Gutierrez managed to qualify ahead of Romain Grosjean, who was troubled with braking issues throughout Friday practice yesterday. Jolyon Palmer will start ahead of Pascal Wehrlein meanwhile, who could not improve on his final time from 16th.

Toro Rosso out as Wehrlein makes it into Q2 for sixth time

Both Toro Rosso drivers were unable to improve on their lap times in the first part of qualifying, while Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein managed to get into Q2 for what was the sixth time this season.

Wehrlein was four tenths quicker than team mate Esteban Ocon, who will start from 20th ahead of Carlos Sainz and Marcus Ericsson. With Wehrlein’s improvement Daniil Kvyat dropped out having failed to improve on his lap time across the line, which means he starts in 17th ahead of Kevin Magnussen who will be 18th on the grid.

Felipe Nasr also failed it improve on his time, which puts him down in 19th place.

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