In the final battle for the 2016 Formula One World Championship, Lewis Hamilton struck first as he won pole for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
It’s do or die for Lewis Hamilton in the season finale for the Formula One world championship. Hamilton will need a superb performance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix combined with some help from title rival Nico Rosberg to lift the championship trophy. But he is doing everything he can to help himself, snatching the pole for Sunday’s race.
The pole by Hamilton (pictured above right, with Rosberg) on Saturday was his twelfth of the season and capped off a dominant two days for him at Abu Dhabi. The reigning world champion led every practice session at the track, as well as all three qualifying rounds, finishing almost a third of a second ahead of his teammate Rosberg.
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If Hamilton was looking for help from nearby teams like Red Bull and Ferrari, it didn’t show up in qualifying. It would have been ideal for the No. 44 Mercedes team to see Rosberg start somewhere between fourth and sixth – having to negotiate through traffic and perhaps getting caught up in some opening lap chaos. While that can certainly still happen it seems less likely with Rosberg starting in P2.
It will also be worth watching to see how Hamilton handles the start of the race. He has battled through some tough beginnings throughout the year and lost the lead many times on starts. He certainly cannot afford to lose his top spot when the lights go out on Sunday.
Here are the full results from qualifying for the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:
Despite Hamilton’s domination of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race weekend so far, Rosberg remains the favorite to win the world championship on Sunday. As long as Rosberg finishes on the podium then there is nothing Hamilton can do to change the outcome.
Be sure to tune in for the final race of the 2016 Formula One season live from Abu Dhabi. Coverage begins at 7 a.m. ET live on NBCSN, followed by flag-to-flag coverage.