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F1 ABU DHABI GP: VERSTAPPEN BEATS MERCEDES TO FINAL POLE OF 2020

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F1 ABU DHABI GP VERSTAPPEN BEATS MERCEDES TO FINAL POLE OF 2020

F1 ABU DHABI – Verstappen took his first pole of the season, just 0.025 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Lewis Hamilton was also within a tenth, but third on his return to the grid.

Max Verstappen took pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in an incredibly close qualifying session at Yas Marina for the final race of the 2020 season

Red Bull-Honda driver Max Verstappen took pole position for the final Formula 1 race of 2020, beating the Mercedes duo in a thrilling Abu Dhabi qualifying.

Verstappen’s pole snaps a streak of six consecutive Abu Dhabi poles for the Mercedes team that had dominated at Yas Marina since the start of the hybrid era.

Valtteri Bottas had taken the lead after the opening runs in Q3, but Verstappen managed to slot in between him and his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, while Verstappen’s own team-mate Alex Albon was just 0.156s off the pace in fourth.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

POS.DRIVERNAT.TEAMQ1Q2Q3
1Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull Racing1m 35.9931m 35.6411m 35.246
2Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m 35.6991m 35.5271m 35.271
3Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1m 35.5281m 35.4661m 35.332
4Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m 36.0161m 35.8491m 35.497
5Alexander AlbonTHAAston Martin Red Bull Racing1m 36.1061m 35.6541m 35.571
6Carlos SainzESPMcLaren F1 Team1m 36.5171m 36.1921m 35.815
7Daniil KvyatRUSScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1m 36.4591m 36.2141m 35.963
8Lance StrollCANBWT Racing Point F1 Team1m 36.5021m 36.1431m 36.046
9Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m 35.8811m 35.9321m 36.065
10Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1m 36.5451m 36.2621m 36.242
11Esteban OconFRARenault F1 Team1m 36.7831m 36.359 
12Daniel RicciardoAUSRenault F1 Team1m 36.7041m 36.406 
13Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari1m 36.6551m 36.631 
14Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1m 37.0751m 38.248 
15Sergio PerezMEXBWT Racing Point F1 Team1m 36.034No time set 
16Kimi RaikkonenFINAlfa Romeo Racing Orlen1m 37.555  
17Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1m 37.863  
18George RussellGBRWilliams Racing1m 38.045  
19Pietro FittipaldiBRAHaas F1 Team1m 38.173  
20Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1m 38.443  

And though Hamilton, returning to F1 having skipped a race due to COVID-19, briefly jumped to the top spot with his second attempt, both Bottas and Verstappen would make up their deficits to him in the third sector.

Verstappen pipped Bottas to pole by 0.025s, with Hamilton ending up another six hundredths down.

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Albon was only fifth at the end of what had looked like being his best qualifying session of the year, as he failed to improve on his final run and fell prey to Lando Norris, who was a quarter of a second off pole to claim a superb fourth place for McLaren.

Sainz’s team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr made it two MCL35s in the top six on the grid, giving the team a genuine shot at overhauling its rival Racing Point for third in the constructors’ standings.

AlphaTauri had two cars in Q3 for the third race running, and Daniil Kvyat – who is set to be replaced at the team by Yuki Tsunoda – bested Pierre Gasly by nearly three tenths, taking seventh to Gasly’s 10th.

Racing Point driver Lance Stroll and Ferrari man Charles Leclerc slotted in between Kvyat and Gasly.

Renault driver Esteban Ocon scored his first dry qualifying head-to-head victory over Daniel Ricciardo in their final grand prix weekend as team-mates, beating the Aussie by half a tenth to head him on the sixth row.

Sebastian Vettel will line up a disappointing 13th for his Ferrari farewell, outpaced by a mammoth seven tenths by Leclerc in Q2 despite switching to soft tyres for his final run while Leclerc had stuck with mediums.

He will be joined on row seven by Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi, who had been last when the chequered flag flew in Q1, having had his sole push lap deleted for a track limits infringement.

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Giovinazzi put a lap together to escape elimination at the final moment, beating team-mate Kimi Raikkonen by half a second.

This meant he got to claim 14th place overall, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez electing not to set a time in the second segment due to penalties that will ensure he will start at the back of the grid anyway.

The lead Haas of Kevin Magnussen was 17th behind Raikkonen yet nearly eight tenths off advancing to Q2, although is due to start at the back alongside Perez, likewise due to a spate of power unit penalties.

George Russell, returning to Williams this weekend after a one-off as a stand-in at Mercedes, preserved his perfect head-to-head qualifying record at his full-time team despite reporting that the tyres were “sugared” as he qualified only 18th.

Romain Grosjean’s Haas stand-in Pietro Fittipaldi was three tenths behind Magnussen in 19th and three tenths ahead of the second Williams of Nicholas Latifi – who was only 20th after spinning while getting on the throttle out of the final corner in order to start his final flying lap.

Latifi is under investigation after being released into the path of Verstappen early in Q1, which led to Verstappen slamming on the brakes and flat-spotting his right front tyre – although this ultimately didn’t complicate the Dutchman’s progression to Q2 too much.

f1 abu dhabi gp: verstappen beats mercedes to final pole of 2020 f1 abu dhabi gp: verstappen beats mercedes to final pole of 2020

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