Record breaking night under the Yas Marina lights for the Silver Arrows. Lewis Hamilton today took his 61st career pole position – his third at the Yas Marina Circuit and 12th of the 2016 season so far. Nico Rosberg completed a 14th Silver Arrows front row lockout of the season in P2 – his 60th front row start in Formula One. The team has now taken 20 pole positions from 21 races in the 2016 season, which is a new all-time record. Both drivers completed a single run in Q1 and Q2 then two runs in Q3, using UltraSoft tyres throughout.
Lewis Hamilton: It’s been an awesome weekend so far. It’s rare that you end almost every session on top, so I’m very, very happy, with that. It’ s down to the hard work done by the mechanics and the engineers to get the car where I need it, so I’m grateful to them for that, as always. I felt so great out there tonight. It’s really sad that this is the last Qualifying session we’re going to do in this car! It’s a dream for any driver to have something this good to drive. I’ ve been doing my practice starts from the pole slot all weekend as I wasn’t planning on being anywhere else for tomorrow. I came here knowing that was a big part of what I needed this weekend and, now I’ve got that, I can focus on the race. Getting away in front will be the next important step. You need a big pace delta to overtake here, so the start will be crucial. Tonight, though, I need to look at strategy and how things need to work for me to get the win. At the moment, my pace is that little bit better. But I can’t control what happens behind me. All I can do is focus on my own race. You never know what might get thrown into the mix, so I’m just hoping my car is as beautiful as it has been so far this weekend and aiming for the win.
Nico Rosberg: I came here to be on pole, so I’m not ecstatic today. I was feeling good in the car today and put in some good laps at the end. But Lewis did a great job and was just a few tenths quicker. I’ m still in a good position to win the race and I want to end the season on a high. There are a few opportunities tomorrow, so I look forward to an exciting battle. The Yas Marina Circuit is a great track and I’m feeling very good before the last race of the year. I am proud and happy about how this season has gone for me until now. Tonight I will relax a bit with Vivian and some friends and come back tomorrow in top shape.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: No matter what it looks like from the outside, a 1-2 lockout in qualifying is never easy to achieve. So it’s a great result for the team to see this car take the front row in its final ever race weekend before it heads to the museum. It was also a great driving demonstration from our boys this evening. Lewis was on his own level all the way through, setting the benchmark in Q1 and never headed after that. As for Nico, he did exactly what he needed to do tonight, and could perhaps have been a little bit closer without a couple of errors on his lap. But it sets up the perfect scenario for tomorrow’s race – and we have Red Bull running the alternative tyre strategy, too, which could add a little bit of spice to the race. They will be looking to put us under pressure with that move and we’ll see how things play out. As for us, we will be going racing just the same way as we have done all year. The boys are free to race, like they always have been, and we will stay true to our values and principles that have served us so well in the past three seasons. It’s going to be a thrilling showdown to a fantastic season.
Source: Mercedes AMG F1