Lewis Hamilton put the title challengers in the shade by taking a dominant pole position for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, finishing ahead of both the Red Bull drivers, with Mark Webber taking a surprise second ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Fernando Alonso, chasing down the 13-point gap to Vettel, could only manage a starting slot of 7th.
With points at a premium for the Spaniard, he now has Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen and Pastor Maldonado between him and the championship leader – there should be some fireworks on the cards if he’s to pass all three.
Sebastian caused a bit of a stir by parking his car out on track after the chequered flag had fallen. He was told to stop by his pitwall and he duly obliged, but with the potential massive grid penalty that could be awarded if the Red Bull ran out of fuel, the German looked a bit worried, to say the least.
Other notable performances;
Jean-Eric Vergne celebrated his contract extension at Toro Rosso by taking up his now customary 18th grid spot, which we assume he now has reserved. Nico Hulkenberg was the man to just miss out on Q3, with a stronger-than-usual display by Force India lining him up 11th, and Paul Di Resta 13th.
The “Schumacher 2012 Farewell Tour: Abu Dhabi” party will begin from 14th on the grid, a full 6 places behind team-mate Nico Rosberg, who put one laptime in during Q3 and went and got himself weighed mid-session, bizarrely. Sergio Perez, who has garnished a reputation for poor Saturday showings coupled with blinding speed on Sundays, managed 12th, so fingers crossed another stellar performance could be possible. McLaren may have an eye on him too.
And finally, Romain Grosjean caused a bit of a scare by coming out of his pitbox and straight into the path of Fernando, who was also trying to get on track ASAP. Nothing untowards came out of it, but it was a little reminder that anything can still happen under the Abu Dhabi lights.