Lewis Hamilton takes dominant Abu Dhabi pole!

Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position at Yas Marina for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi grand prix by 3 1/2 tenths from Mark Webber and 4 1/2 tenths from championship leader Sebastian Vettel. While Vettel’s championship rival Fernando Alonso could only manage seventh on the grid, nearly a second off the pole time of Hamilton, while the Briton’s team mate, Jenson Button is stuck back down in sixth place, almost seven tenths of second off Hamilton, I’m very disappointed with Jenson!

Starting with Q1 as always as it comes before the other sessions; Jean Eric Vergne exited qualifying at the first stage for the second Grand Prix in a row. The usual suspects in Caterham, Marussia and HRT joined Vergne in sitting out the remaining qualifying sessions. Lewis Hamilton topped the times in Q1 setting a time of 1:41.497 while Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi scraped through to Q2 thanks to Vergne messing up his final qualifying attempt. Despite Hamilton going fastest, the Briton had a couple of moments and Vettel clouted the wall but continued seemingly without any damage.

Hamilton topped the timesheets again in Q2 with a time of 1:40.901 four tenths ahead of Webber and six tenths ahead of Vettel. Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez, Paul di Resta, Michael Schumacher, Bruno Senna, Kamui Kobayashi and Daniel Ricciardo all exited the session in Qualifying 2.

I don’t what McLaren put in Hamilton’s fuel tank but the Briton took pole position by 0.348 seconds from Mark Webber and 0.443 seconds to Sebastian Vettel. Surprise of the session was Pastor Maldonado popping it onto the second row alongside Vettel, which will no doubt worry the German given Maldonado’s history. I’m personally massively disappointed with Button, qualifying 0.660 seconds behind his team mate in an identical car, I really can’t defend Jenson on this occasion!

Update: Vettel drops to back of field for fuel infringement!

Sebastian Vettel has been stripped of all his qualifying times and will start from 24th place because his Red Bull didn’t have enough fuel for sampling purposes. The German stopped out on track, being told to stop the car by engine supplier Renault. Ferrari and Fernando Alonso will be rubbing their hands with glee after qualifying seventh, obviously now being promoted to sixth. Everyone from fourth down to 24th now moves up one place, giving Hulkenberg a top 10 starting position!

Starting Grid for the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:

1. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
2. Mark Webber (Red Bull)
3. Pastor Maldonado (Williams)
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
5. Jenson Button (McLaren)
6. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
7. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
8. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
9. Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
10. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India)

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