Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2012: Lewis Hamilton takes pole position
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2012: Lewis Hamilton takes pole ahead of Red Bull duo Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel
McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton took pole position for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ahead of Red Bull duo Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton beat Webber by 0.348 seconds to ensure Red Bull did not lock out the front row for the first time since the Singapore Grand Prix in September.
“I’m very excited,” said Hamilton. “It’s the first time for a long time to be ahead of the Red Bulls and starting at the front.
“It’s going to be tough in the race and I hope we are strong enough to fight them once again.
“The car’s felt beautiful all weekend but we’ve not made any improvement since last weekend so I guess it just likes the track and hopefully it will continue to like it tomorrow.”
Webber paid tribute to Hamilton for ending Red Bull’s run of consecutive qualifying front-row lock-outs.
“Credit to Lewis and McLaren – they have a quick car and we’ve been bumped off the front row for the first time in a while,” he said.
“We did the best we could, it was a pretty smooth qualifying and we’re still a long way up the grid. There’s a little bit of friendly fire going on which we need to tidy up.
“Seb’s still involved in the drivers’ championship and there’s the constructors’. The car is working pretty well on Sundays but Lewis and Jenson have done some pretty strong long runs as well.”
Vettel added: “I’m not entirely happy with the last part of qualifying. It was quite tricky for me. I should have been a little quicker. I think we can be happy overall. The race pace should be good tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.”
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso endured a dismal session and will start from seventh on the grid, severely hampering his chances of closing the 13-point gap to championship leader Vettel.
McLaren’s Jenson Button struggled and will start from sixth, behind Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen and Williams’ Pastor Maldonado in fourth.
“It was not very good,” said Button. “All weekend, the car has been very good. The pace has been there but in qualifying I had too much lap time.
“If I knew why, we would have sorted it out. We will look at it when I get back. Obviously the car is quick, Lewis is on pole by quite a bit.
“Most of the weekend, I’ve felt happy. I don’t know where that has has gone. We just about got into Q3 as well.”
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2012: Starting grid
1. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 40.630s
2. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 40.978s
3. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1m 41.073s
4. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault 1m 41.226s
5. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Lotus-Renault 1m 41.260s
6. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 41.290s
7. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 41.582s
8. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 41.603s
9. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 41.723s
10. Romain Grosjean France Lotus-Renault 1m 41.778s
11. Nico Hulkenberg Germany Force India-Mercedes 1m 42.019s
12. Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 1m 42.084s
13. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 1m 42.218s
14. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 42.289s
15. Bruno Senna Brazil Williams-Renault 1m 42.330s
16. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 1m 42.606s
17. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 42.765s
18. Jean-Eric Vergne France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 44.058s
19. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Caterham-Renault 1m 44.956s
20. Charles Pic France Marussia -Cosworth 1m 45.089s
21. Vitaly Petrov Russia Caterham-Renault 1m 45.151s
22. Timo Glock Germany Marussia -Cosworth 1m 45.426s
23. Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT-Cosworth 1m 45.766s
24. Narain Karthikeyan India HRT-Cosworth 1m 46.382s