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HAMILTON THROWS DOWN GAUNTLET WITH THIRD ABU DHABI POLE

Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday’s 2016 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the best possible place – pole position, his third in Abu Dhabi, his 12th of 2016 and the 61st of his F1 career.

Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday’s 2016 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the best possible place – pole position, his third in Abu Dhabi, his 12th of 2016 and the 61st of his F1 career.
Quickest on his first run in Q3 with a time of 1:39.013, Hamilton went again and improved to 1:38.755, and while Mercedes teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg responded with a fast first sector the German lost time in the other two, clocked 1:39.058 and will start alongside Hamilton on the front row.
Hamilton is the first driver to take three pole positions at Yas Marina Circuit, a feat he accomplished with the second-fastest pole-winning time in Abu Dhabi after Sebastian Vettel’s 1:38.481 for Red Bull back in 2011.
‘It’s been a great weekend so far,’ said an elated Hamilton. ‘Today I got the car in a real sweet spot – perfect position for tomorrow!’
Rosberg, 12 points head going into the final race, did not conceal his disappointment at failing to take a third consecutive Abu Dhabi pole. ‘I’ve come here to try and take pole and win the race, so not ecstatic, but Lewis did a great job and I couldn’t do that time. But there’s still opportunities tomorrow…’
Behind the Silver Arrows will be Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, the Australian happy with achieving his target of third place in qualifying, and the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, with their respective teammates Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen on the third row behind them.
Force India have again got the upper hand on Williams as the two teams battle for fourth place in the constructors’ standings, with Sergio Pérez seventh-fastest and teammate Nico Hülkenberg eight.
Felipe Massa in ninth is the only Williams driver in the top 10 after Fernando Alonso’s McLaren eliminated Valtteri Bottas in a thrilling finish to Q2, the middle segment of the qualifying hour.
Out after Q1: Kvyat—Magnussen—Nasr—Ocon—Sainz—Ericsson
Out after Q2: Bottas—Button—Gutierrez—Grosjean—Palmer—Wehrlein

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