BU DHABI, CMC – World champion Lewis Hamilton was beaten to pole by teammate Valtteri Bottas, as Mercedes locked out front row for today’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The 32-year-old Brit, who secured up his fourth Formula One drivers title in Mexico City last month, was 0.172 seconds behind Bottas in Saturday’s final qualifying, leaving the Silver Arrows as favourites to dominate the podium yet again.
German Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari snatched a spot on the second row, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo starting alongside.
“Congratulations to Valtteri. He did an exceptional job through qualifying and it’s great to see to him performing at this level, particularly at the end of the season, which puts him in a great position for next year,” said Hamilton.
“It was fun to be out there challenging, the last qualifying of the year. Finally it’s done and we can just get on with the race tomorrow. It’s a very hard track to overtake, there are a couple of opportunities but I’ll give it everything I’ve got that’s for sure.”
Though on 345 points and having already wrapped up the drivers title, Hamilton will want to finish the season on a high after disappointing results in his last two outings.
He came home fourth in the Brazilian Grand Prix two weeks ago after starting from last following a crash in qualifying, and was ninth at the Mexican Grand Prix despite clinching the championship that evening.
His last win came a month ago at the United Grand Prix in Texas.
While Hamilton is British, his paternal grandparents hail from Grenada. He was honoured by the Caribbean island during their 2008 independence celebrations