Wolff: Pole-sitter Hamilton in a league of his own

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Lewis Hamilton was in a league of his own in earning pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, according to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. 

Hamilton must overhaul a 12-point deficit to Nico Rosberg in Sunday's race to retain the drivers' title and prevent his team-mate from becoming world champion for the first time.

And the Englishman is doing all he can to achieve that feat, earning top spot on the grid at the Yas Marina circuit.

"He [Hamilton] was in a league of his own this weekend and we can see that with his final pace," Wolff said.

"It's a great starting position and that's what he needs for tomorrow."

Rosberg, though, remains hot on Hamilton's heels and will start from second, as he aims to preserve his advantage in the drivers' standings. 

"He's a very rational and logical person, he knows P2 or P3 is enough, better [that] than to end in the wall in qualifying," Wolff said.

"The last lap was good and could have been closer but this is how the game goes and he just needs to drive it home tomorrow."

According to Wolff, Mercedes' non-executive chairman and former world champion Niki Lauda was relieved to see exciting but erratic Red Bull driver Max Verstappen back in sixth place on the grid.

"Niki [Lauda] said 'Thank god that Verstappen is not near us', but I don't care, he's a great driver anyway."