Qualifying - Vettel takes vital Yas Marina pole
Sebastian Vettel will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix just where he wants, on pole position after lapping his Red Bull in 1m 39.394s. But the most important qualifying session of the year was a major disappointment for team mate Mark Webber who managed only fifth place in 1m 39.925s and will be separated from Vettel by McLarens Lewis Hamilton, Ferraris Fernando Alonso and McLarens Jenson Button.
Earlier, Hamilton had been fortunate to avoid contact with Felipe Massa when, after a big slide on his first lap in Q2, hed had to back off the pace and resumed just as the Ferrari was alongside. The former champion walloped a camera pole, but his McLaren did not sustain any damage and he recovered his momentum brilliantly to lap second quickest before his time eventually left him fifth in that session.
He already held second place as Q3 drew to its close, but trimmed his time down to 1m 39.425s to demonstrate to Vettel that he may yet have a race on his hands on Sunday. Alonsos late improvement was bad news for Webber. The Spaniard lapped in 1m 39.792s to jump to third, ahead of Button on 1m 39.823s.
Webber will share row three with Massa, who lapped his F10 in 1m 40.202s, while Williams Rubens Barrichellos 1m 40.203s left him seventh ahead of the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg on 1m 40.516s and 1m 40.589s respectively. Like Massa, both suffered in late-session traffic. Vitaly Petrov was 10th for Renault, with 1m 40.901s.
Vettel redefined the ante in Q2 with the fastest lap of the weekend thus far in 1m 39.874s, ahead of the revitalised Button, Rosberg, Webber and Hamilton. Further back, Robert Kubica surprisingly failed to make Q3, taking 11th place behind team mate Petrov with 1m 40.780s in a Renault that still seemed not to be running as well as it did on Friday.
Kamui Kobayashi improved late on but still didnt make it beyond 12th on 1m 40.783s for BMW Sauber, ahead of Force Indias Adrian Sutil on 1m 40.914s, BMW Saubers Nick Heidfeld on 1m 41.113s, Williams Nico Hulkenberg on 1m 41.418s, Tonio Liuzzi whose Force India didnt look as good as it had on Friday on 1m 41.642s and Toro Rossos Jaime Alguersuari on 1m 41.738s.
As the sun began to set, Alonso headed Q1 with 1m 40.170s as Sebastien Buemi led those who failed to make the cut after lapping his Toro Rosso in 1m 41.824s. Behind him, Lotus took the new team honours with Jarno Trulli 19th on 1m 43.516s ahead of team mate Heikki Kovalainen on 1m 43.712s.
Timo Glock was close for Virgin but not close enough on 1m 44.095s, which put him ahead of team mate Lucas di Grassi who lapped in 1m 44.510s. Bruno Senna won the intra-team battle at HRT, with 1m 45.085s to Christian Kliens 1m 45.296s.
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