Normally I’m not too over-excited when I’m on pole, as you don’t get any points on a Saturday. But this time was a pretty cool feeling. My last lap felt absolutely fantastic and it’s great to be starting P1 again. I'm also quite happy that I've been quicker than Lewis for the last couple of race weekends. At the beginning of the season he was always this tiny little bit ahead, so it’s good to turn that around. This is the best position to start the race tomorrow. I want to win this one to finish the year on a high and give the boys in the garage a really good reason to have a great season-ending party tomorrow night.
I've generally been struggling with the car all weekend. I’ve changed a lot to try and get around the issues – but I’m still not really feeling comfortable with it. I did what I could out there tonight – but Nico was just really quick and did a great job in Q3, so I wasn’t really surprised he did a better lap in the end. It hasn’t been the best run of qualifying sessions for me lately – but I’ve still managed to turn three of those into wins. So, there is still an opportunity – even it is particularly hard to follow through the first sector. I will work as hard as I can to have a great start tomorrow and improve from there. I’ve got a lot of support here this weekend and that 44th win is still out there to grab, so I will be working hard for it tomorrow.
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
That was a great qualifying session to end the season. Nico did a phenomenal lap at the end of Q3 with a really amazing final sector to take the pole position – his sixth in a row. Lewis had a solid session but things didn’t come together for him in Q3. Nevertheless, P2 is not a bad grid position at this circuit – as last year showed. Everything is set up for a great battle tomorrow. Both boys will want to take the momentum of a win into the winter – and we’re looking forward to the battle.
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)
It was a fantastic, tense final qualifying session of the season under the lights here in Abu Dhabi. As in Brazil two weeks ago, we saw no need to save option tyres for the race, so it was quite a straightforward programme for both drivers with a single run in Q1 and Q2. That set up the Q3 showdown, with both Nico and Lewis running two new sets of option tyres. Lewis clearly underperformed on his first run in Q3 relative to Q2, then put a strong final effort together. But this was beaten by Nico’s tremendous lap. Congratulations to Nico for his pole and to both drivers for fantastic qualifying performances throughout the season, which is not something that should ever be underestimated. To take 15 all-Mercedes front rows is a very proud benchmark. Now we look forward to the final instalment of their battle tomorrow.