F1: Rosberg in pole for F1 title decider
Nico Rosberg survived intense pressure and several nervous errors on Saturday to claim what may be a vital pole position for the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, edging out his Mercedes teammate and arch-rival Lewis Hamilton.
Rosberg, who secured his 11th pole of the season, has to come first and hope that Hamilton, who leads him by 17 points in the drivers’ championship, finishes outside the top two to overtake the Briton and take the F1 drivers’ title.
In a tightly-contested qualifying session, the 29-year-old German produced his best lap of the weekend when he most needed it to outpace championship leading Hamilton by four-tenths of a second.
Rosberg clocked a best time of one minute and 40.480 in the top ten shootout to finish ahead of Hamilton with impressive Finn Valtteri Bottas third for Williams. Brazilian Felipe Massa was fourth in the second Williams car, ahead of Australian Daniel Ricciardo and his outgoing Red Bull team-mate, four-time champion German Sebastian Vettel.
It was Rosberg’s 11th pole position of the season and the 14th of his career. It was also the Mercedes team’s record-equalling 18th pole of the year and their 12th front row lockout and eighth in succession.
The most intense drama came at the end of the final shootout when Hamilton, who had clocked a best time of 1:40.920 in Q2, was unable to avoid making minor errors as he clocked a final lap of 1:40.866. It was not enough to beat Rosberg’s time and take pole.