The German was nearly 4 tenths quicker than his championship rival Lewis Hamilton who made mistakes on both of his Q3 runs.
The Brit had, had the upper hand in Q1 and Q2 but running wide at the penultimate corner put him on the back foot after looking set to take provisional pole.
It was another 1-2 for Mercedes and in doing so become the first engine supplier to take every pole in a season since Ford in 1969.
Rosberg had made an error in his first run in Q2 slightly flat spotting his front left and had to run through the dusty run off area. This means that his starting tyres won’t be in as good a shape as Hamilton’s which will make the first stint very interesting.
It was another brilliant session from Williams as Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa locked out the second row of the grid. Bottas wasn’t far off the Mercedes of Hamilton but ultimately didn’t have the down force in the 3rd sector to challenge him or Rosberg.
Button had to abort his first run in Q2 because of a fuel bowser issue leading to another frustrated message on the team radio.
Dave Robson: "We need to pit. Box this lap."
Button: "Can I ask why?"
Robson: "Yes, we need to fuel the car."
Button: "Are you serious?"
Red Bull struggled in the desert but Daniel Ricciardo managed to get within 2 tenths of Hamilton and 0.1 of Massa. But his departing team mate and 4 times World Champion Sebastian Vettel finished his final quail session with Red Bull in 6th and 0.6 behind Ricciardo.
However both cars have been declared illegal and have been DISQUALIFIED from qualifying because of flexing front wings both cars will either start from the pit lane with modified wings or race under appeal!!
The Torro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat once again impressed with another Q3 appearance in his final race with Torro Rosso. The Red Bull bound Russian out qualified Jean-Eric Vergne once again as Kvyat lines up 7th.
Ferrari had another dire day as Raikkonen and Alonso finished 9th and 10th. Kimi had been an absent force all day and scrapped into Q3 whereas Alonso made two mistakes in Q3 which cost him a chance to fight Button and the Red Bull’s.
Caterham who had returned to the grid this weekend thanks to a successful crowd funding scheme were in their own inter team session as Will Stevens made his F1 debut. The Brit was only 0.5 behind experienced team mate Kamui Kobayashi who was 2 seconds off the Lotus of Pastor Maldonado.
Romain Grosjean was also knocked out in Q1 by 0.022 but will receive a drive through penalty in the race tomorrow because he couldn’t complete the 20 place grid penalty for a power unit change, in a bizarre rule because there are only 20 cars on the grid [Grosjean being one of them!], giving the Frenchman more misery.
But at a look to the race Hamilton only needs 2nd to automatically become champion but pole will give Rosberg satisfaction that he can do everything he needs to do. But Rosberg has only beaten Hamilton twice when they’ve shared a front row and one of them was in Monaco and the other Brazil.
The title showdown is LIVE on Sky Sports F1 from 11:30 and BBC One from 12:10 UK time. Remember it is also Double Points in the race.
For all title permutations click the link - http://theracing-line.weebly.com/my-page/formula-one-2014-abu-dhabi-permutations
1. Nico Rosberg 1:40.480
2. Lewis Hamilton
3. Valtteri Bottas
4. Felipe Massa
5. Daniil Kvyat
6. Jenson Button
7. Kimi Raikkonen
8. Fernando Alonso
9. Kevin Magnussen
10. Jean-Eric Vergne
11. Sergio Perez
12. Nico Hulkenberg
13. Adrian Sutil
14. Romain Grosjean
15. Esterban Gutierrez
16. Pastor Maldonado
17. Kamui Kobayashi
18. Will Stevens
Daniel Ricciardo PIT LANE START
Sebastian Vettel PIT LANE START