Mercedes’ dominance at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix continued on Saturday as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas locked out the front row in qualifying.
For the fifth year running the Silver Arrows will start first and second in the United Arab Emirates, Formula One world champion Hamilton securing his 11th pole of 2018 and 83rd of his career.
After struggling on Friday, Hamilton turned on the style 24 hours later, topping the timesheets during FP3 before cruising through qualifying.
He smashed the lap record in Q2 with a time of 1:35.693 and found even more pace in the final session, stopping the clock at an impressive 1:34.794 to take pole by a tenth.
Bottas looked on course to deny his team-mate but lost time in the final sector and had to settle for second, completing a season of Mercedes dominance.
“It was quite an emotional session for me because it’s the last time I’ll be qualifying in this car,” said the Hamilton. “I’m so grateful to the team. Today was so much fun.”
YES!!!!!!!! He’s done it!!!
Pole position under the lights for @LewisHamilton at the @ymcofficial !! #AbuDhabiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/2nOP5ca4yQ
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) November 24, 2018
Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen had to settle for places on the second row, with the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen sat just behind them in fifth and sixth.
Romain Grosjean, Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg completed the top 10, while Fernando Alonso will start his final grand prix from 15th.
Alonso ensured he did not suffer a Q1 exit in the closing seconds of the first session, but getting into the top-10 shoot-out proved a step too far for his McLaren.
He still had the satisfaction of out-qualifying team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, completing a season whitewash over the Belgian.
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:34.794
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.162s
3. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +0.331s
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +0.571s
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) +0.607s
6. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.795s
7. Romain Grosjean (Haas) +1.398s
8. Charles Leclerc (Sauber) +1.443s
9. Esteban Ocon (Racing Point Force India) +1.746s
10. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) +1.748s