F1 2014: Rosberg beats Hamilton to pole at Abu Dhabi season finale
The 2014 Formula 1 season finale is set to be a thriller, what with the in house rivalry within the Mercedes AMG F1 team. With drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg separated by a mere 17 points in the championship, and with the finale at Yas Marina circuit counting for double the points (which means the winning driver will get 50 as opposed to 25 points), the battle for the title really will go down to the wire. The scenario right now indicates that if Nico Rosberg wins, then Lewis Hamilton needs to finish second to win the world championship. And as qualifying in Abu Dhabi went, it was Rosberg who finished on pole, with Hamilton setting the second fastest time. Williams driver Valtteri Bottas lines up third on the grid.
Rosberg's qualifying time of 1 minute 40.480 seconds couldn't be bested by Hamilton who finished 0.386 seconds behind. And the very nearly evenly matched pace of the two drivers indicates that the race will be close and exciting. Should Rosberg win the race, and should Hamilton fail to finish second, then Nico will take home his first world championship title. Should Rosberg finish second, then he will only win the title if Hamilton fails to finish in the top five. Winning the race, or finishing second, will ensure that Hamilton claims his second world championship title, having beaten Felipe Massa to the 2008 world championship.
The two drivers who could play a very critical role in the outcome of the 2014 title are the Williams drivers. With Bottas third on the grid and Massa fourth, there is every possibility that they will split the two Mercedes drivers during the race, which could be especially critical for Hamilton, should Rosberg win.
While it was the Red Bull drivers who locked out the third row of the grid in qualifying, the team was later penalised for a front wing infringement on their cars. This means Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel will start the race from the back of the grid. Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat will start fifth, while Jenson Button will line up sixth on the grid, ahead of the two Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso. Kevin Magnussen in the second McLaren will start the race ninth on the grid. Jean-Eric Vergne in the second Toro Rosso rounds up the top ten.
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