In terms of excitement, today's race has a lot to live up to. We are not talking about the Porsche race or even the GP2, but rather the media buzz surrounding Bernie Ecclestone and Luca di Montezemolo as the great debate over the 2014 regulations continues.
Describing them as "unacceptable" and suggesting that the ‘green agenda" is more suited to Sports Cars and Touring Cars, Ecclestone insists that any changes will not damage Mercedes, though it is hard to see how.
Consequently, with an eye on the future, not to forget those double points on offer in Abu Dhabi, the German team will need to press home its advantage in these early races, and what an advantage.
The pair were both over half-a-second quicker than third-placed Daniel Ricciardo who was already facing a grid penalty carried over from Malaysia. Taking the Australian out of the equation therefore, there remained a gap of 0.7s over Valtteri Bottas.
The Mercedes duo are free to race and while Hamilton was clearly smarting from losing out to his teammate (and good friend), Nico Rosberg is well aware that he must prevent the Englishman from building up championship momentum if he is to keep his own hopes alive.
The Silver Arrows will disappear into the floodlight distance tonight but it is the battle behind which excites.
Behind Bottas, who will have relished out-qualifying his Williams teammate, we have Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen who both also have their in-house issues to deal with. Then there are the veterans Felipe Massa and Jenson Button, the McLaren driver participating in his 250th Grand Prix this weekend.
As if that wasn't enough, we then have Magnussen, who heads Alonso, Vettel, Hulkenberg, Kvyat and Ricciardo, each with something to prove.
Sauber and Lotus will no doubt be looking forward to later tonight when they can pack up and put the misery behind them, the Swiss outfit's lousy weekend compounded when Adrian Sutil was handed a five place - admittedly richly deserved - penalty.
With absolutely no chance of the weather gods spicing things up, we are going to have to rely on the determination of the drivers especially those wanting to assert themselves within their respective teams. If Vettel's lowly grid sot comes as a surprise, what of Hulkenberg and Kvyat.
Tyres available this weekend are medium (prime) and soft (option), whilst the two DRS zones are on the start-finish straight and on the approach to T11.
Three stops is theoretically the quickest strategy, but teams with lower levels of degradation may try two stops. The ideal three-stop strategy for the race is: start on soft, change to soft again on lap 17, medium on lap 33, and a final stint on soft from lap 41. A two-stop strategy could be: start on soft, change to soft again on lap 22, then to hard on lap 44.
The pitlane opens and the drivers make their way to the grid, lots of burnouts, drive-throughs (not the stewards' type) and practice starts.
All starting on options except Vettel and Sutil, who are clearly aiming to get them out of the way as soon as possible.
Grip has been a problem all weekend, as have the gusty winds. As they head off on the parade lap, the air temperature is 25 degrees C, while the track temperature is 28 degrees.
Perez is slow getting away for the parade lap, a couple of cars have to take avoiding action.
In the cooler evening temperatures, the drivers are working furiously in order to generate heat into their tyres.