MERC’S DYNAMIC DUO: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg (front) has won pole for the fight against Lewis Hamilton in the season-ending 2014 Abu Dhabi finale at Yas Marina on Sunday (Oct 23). Image: AP
ABU DHABI, UAE - Mercedes' Nico Rosberg survived intense pressure and several nervous errors on Saturday to claim pole for Sunday's (Nov 23) title-deciding 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, edging out his Mercedes team mate and arch-rival Lewis Hamilton.
It was Rosberg's 11th pole of the season and to take the Drivers' title he must win the race with Hamilton, who has a 17-point lead in the championship, fninishing third or worse
In a tightly-contested qualifying session, 29-year-old Rosberg produced his best lap time of the weekend to outpace Hamilton by four-tenths of a second - 1min40.480 - in the final top-10 third session. Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas was third in a Williams.
Disappointment came later when both Red Bull cars were later disqualified from the qualifying results for having illegal front wings and were sent to the back of the grid.
Brazilian Felipe Massa was fourth in the second Williams ahead of Australian Daniel Ricciardo and his outgoing Red Bull team mate, four-times champion Sebastian Vettel.
It was Mercedes' record-equalling 18th pole of the year and 12th front-row lockout after eight in a row..
Mercedes-Benz also became the first engine supplier to take every pole position in a season since Ford in 1969.
The most intense drama came at the end of the final qualifying session when Hamilton, who had clocked a best time of 1min40.920 in Q2, made some minor errors and clocked a final lap of 1min40.866.
It was not enough.
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff said afterwards: "It was a messy lap from Lewis, which was not expected because he had a very good lap insecond qualifying.
"I won't tell them anything anymore. They are in their own little bubble and concentrating on the race. I think we should leave them in peace now to concentrate on Sunday."
Qualifying times for the 2014 F1 Abu Dhabi GP
1 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min40.480
2 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes
3 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes
4 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes
5 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull - Renault
6 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault
7 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - Renault
8 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren
9 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari
10 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari
11 Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren
12 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - Renault
13 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India - Mercedes
14 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes
15 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber - Ferrari
16 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault
17 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari
18 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus - Renault
19 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham - Renault
20 Will Stevens (Britain) Caterham - Renaul
Start grid for the 2014 Abu Dhabi F1 GP on Nov 23
1 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes
2 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes
3 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams
4 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams
5 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso
6 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren
7 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari
8 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari
9 Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren
10 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso
11 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India
12 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India
13 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber
14 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber
15 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus
16 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham
17 Will Stevens (Britain) Caterham
18 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus
19 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull
20 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Abu Dhabi GP finale this weekend.