Former F1 champion Nico Rosberg claimed Max Verstappen "delivered something magical" with his spectacular pole-winning lap at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Verstappen struck back after F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton had dominated the for the majority of the weekend to deliver pole for Red Bull at the championship-deciding race by 0.371secs from his Mercedes title rival.
The Dutchman, along with team-mate Sergio Perez who qualified third, will start on the soft tyre with both Mercedes drivers on the medium compound.
Debating the lap on Sky Sports F1, 2016 champion Rosberg said: "With all this discussion, it's so damn simple, this guy just delivered something magical. That's it. It just comes down to that.
"But, as Max said, the interesting thing is he didn't want to be on the soft for tomorrow so that is what keeps it full of suspense for the race."
After partnering Hamilton at Mercedes from 2013 to 2016, Rosberg dismissed the notion that the seven-time champion had failed to deliver with his effort, pointing to the 0.556s margin to team-mate Valtteri Bottas as evidence.
"In my view, he really delivered today," declared Rosberg. "He also said himself, the lap was clean and let's not forget where his team-mate is.
"Seven-tenths? So give him a two-tenth engine and that's still half a second.
"From my point of view, Lewis did deliver today, but the other guy pulled something magical out of the bag."