Valtteri Bottas produced a stunning track-record lap to deny Lewis Hamilton pole position at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. His Mercedes team-mate, who was aiming to level his personal-best tally of 12 poles in a single season, had dominated FP3 earlier on Saturday at the Yas Marina Circuit. And when the Brit went quickest after Q2, it looked like he was on course to top the timesheets.
Read: Hamilton sets the pace in Abu Dhabi GP
However, in a qualifying session that regularly saw the track record broken, it was Bottas, who took finished top of the pile with a time of one minute and 36.231seconds. The Finn still has a slim chance of finishing second in the standings should he win the Abu Dhabi GP.
Bottas has consequently secured back-to-back F1 poles for the first time in his career, and Hamilton – who wrapped up a fourth world title in Mexico last month – will have to pass his team-mate to end the year with a victory.
Ferrari have struggled to match the sheer pace of their Mercedes rivals this weekend and Sebastian Vettel had to settle for third on the grid. This German's team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was fifth, sandwiched by the Red Bull duo of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
Williams' Felipe Massa made it into Q3 for what will be his final race in F1 and qualified 10th. Niko Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez are on the fourth row on the grid, while Esteban Ocon was ninth.
1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1:36.231seconds
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:36.403s
3.Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:36.777s
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 1:36.959s
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:36.985s
6. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:37.328s
7. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) 1:38.282s
8. Sergio Perez (Force India) 1:38.374s
9. Esteban Ocon (Force India) 1:38.397s
10. Felipe Massa (Williams) 1:38.550s