Lewis Hamilton said on Saturday that he was glad to take pole position for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi GP and “give something back” to the McLaren team that has been his motor racing home for the last 14 years.
The 27-year-old Briton, who joined McLaren as a 13-year-old karting prodigy, dominated qualifying as he ended Red Bull’s run of front row domination with a blistering show of pace that carried him to his sixth pole of the season.
Hamilton said: “It’s always such a nice view when you start from first. You have to appreciate it because there are not many opportunities to do that in Formula One. It would be fantastic to win for the team before moving to Mercedes as these guys have worked so hard. My decision has been difficult for all of us, so to finish on a high would be such a blessing. To be able to get pole today is something that I can give them back.”
Hamilton ended Red Bulls’ hat-trick of poles by topping the times by nearly four-tenths of a second. “It’s a great feeling and I am very excited. It’s the first time, for a long time, to be ahead of the Red Bulls. Normally I see the tail of them at the start of the race. I know the race will be tough because they have great race pace. I hope we are strong enough to fight,” he added.
Red Bull’s Vettel said: “I’m not entirely happy with the last part of qualifying. It was quite tricky for me. I should have been a little quicker. I think we can be happy overall. The race pace should be good tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it.”
Force India 11th, 13th
Sahara Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg will start Sunday’s race from 11th spot while teammate Paul Di Resta in the second Force India qualified 13th ahead of Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher.