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Qualifying - Hamilton storms to pole in Abu Dhabi 31 Oct 2009

(L to R): Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing, second; Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren, pole position; Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing, third.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Saturday, 31 October 2009 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Ferrari F60 in the third practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Saturday, 31 October 2009 Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 VJM02 in the third practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Saturday, 31 October 2009 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB5 in the third practice session.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Saturday, 31 October 2009

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel came alive for Red Bull in the dying moments of the final qualifying session of 2009, but McLaren's Lewis Hamilton kept his nerve and ultimately decimated their chances of taking pole position for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a lap of 1m 40.948s on Saturday evening. Vettel had moments before beaten Webber’s 1m 41.726s best with 1m 41.615s.

Behind them, Rubens Barrichello finally got ahead of Brawn team mate Jenson Button as they lapped respectively in 1m 41.786s and 1m 41.892s, while Jarno Trulli was also in contention for Toyota with 1m 41.897s.

Behind them the BMW Saubers annexed the fourth row of the grid, with Robert Kubica on 1m 41.992s and Nick Heidfeld on 1m 42.343s. Williams’ Nico Rosberg and Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi will share row five, with 1m 42.583s and 1m 42.713s respectively.

As dusk fell in the Formula One world’s first day/night race, and Hamilton set the fastest time in Q2 as he had in Q1, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo looked on unhappily as Kimi Raikkonen fell from Q3 contention with the 11th fastest time of 1m 40.726s. Behind him, Kamui Kobayashi lost his chance when he couldn’t squeeze more than 1m 40.777s from the second Toyota.

Heikki Kovalainen was stranded on 1m 40.983s when his McLaren stopped in Turn 17 with suspected gearbox issues shortly after that had been the first fast time. Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima should have improved after getting two green sector times, but blew it in the third and thus had to rely on 1m 41.148s for 14th, and Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari was 15th on 1m 41.689s.

Both Renaults joined the Force €ndias in stumbling in Q1, together with Giancarlo Fisichella in the second Ferrari. Fernando Alonso lapped in 1m 41.667s, Romain Grosjean in 1m 41.950s, leaving them 16th and 19th. Between them, Vitantonio Liuzzi squeezed 1m 41.701s out of his VJM02 to head team mate Adrian Sutil on 1m 41.863s. Fisichella was last, on 1m 42.184s.