Motor racing-Verstappen takes final pole of the F1 season in Abu Dhabi

Double world champion Max Verstappen unleashed a blistering lap on Saturday to seize the final pole position of the year ahead of team mate Sergio Perez to complete a front-row lockout for Red Bull in Formula One's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Dutchman, who heads into Sunday's race hunting for a record-extending 15th win from the 22-race season, blazed around the floodlit 5.2-km long track in a scorching one minute 23.824 seconds.


Reuters | Updated: 20-11-2022 03:19 IST | Created: 20-11-2022 02:05 IST
Motor racing-Verstappen takes final pole of the F1 season in Abu Dhabi
Image Credit: Wikipedia

Double world champion Max Verstappen unleashed a blistering lap on Saturday to seize the final pole position of the year ahead of team mate Sergio Perez to complete a front-row lockout for Red Bull in Formula One's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Dutchman, who heads into Sunday's race hunting for a record-extending 15th win from the 22-race season, blazed around the floodlit 5.2-km long track in a scorching one minute 23.824 seconds. Perez, who is locked in a battle for second in the standings with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc with the pair level on points, was 0.228 seconds slower but did enough to pip the Monegasque who will line up third.

"It was a bit of an up and down qualifying," said Verstappen, who struggled for grip in the second part of qualifying and had his car abruptly shut down in the garage at the start of the final shootout. Despite that setback, he still secured his 20th pole of his career and seventh this year.

"So we had to reboot everything, and then we went out and both of the laps were good enough, so of course very pleased with that," added Verstappen, the only driver to break into the 1:23s second bracket, with both his fast laps in qualifying's final phase good enough for pole. Verstappen, who wrapped up his second title with four races to spare at last month's Japanese Grand Prix, said he would help Perez secure second in the drivers' standings after refusing to move over for the Mexican in Brazil, leading to tension between the pair.

In qualifying on Saturday he gave him a 'tow' down the straight. "Max did a great job also for me, you know, we worked together as a team really strongly on that final run," said Perez.

"So yeah, looking forward to tomorrow, which is the day that really matters." Leclerc said he locked up a wheel on the final run, but added Red Bull were out of reach regardless.

"But we are still in quite a good position for tomorrow. But it’s going to be close with Checo for sure," he said. He can count on team mate Carlos Sainz to help him, who lines up alongside in fourth.

Mercedes, who finished one-two in Brazil with George Russell taking an emotional win ahead of Lewis Hamilton, were unable to carry their resurgence into this weekend. Hamilton in fifth led Russell in a third-row lockout for the Brackley-based team.

The seven-times world champion is hunting his first victory of the season but will face an uphill task to keep intact his record of winning a race every year. Lando Norris was seventh for McLaren ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

Sebastian Vettel, was among the stars of the evening, and took ninth for Aston Martin on his qualifying swansong. Daniel Ricciardo, heading back to Red Bull as third driver next season, rounded out the top 10 in his final qualifying session for McLaren.

Mick Schumacher, who is set to be replaced at Haas by Nico Hulkenberg, put in a feisty display on his last Saturday outing for the U.S.-owned team. The German, out of a drive next year but tipped to land a reserve role with Mercedes, made it through into the second phase of qualifying and will start 13th.

Nicholas Latifi, who is being replaced by American rookie Logan Sargeant, will start his final race for Williams in last, one place behind team mate Alexander Albon.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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