Mercedes-AMG has claimed their sixth consecutive front-row lockout for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the final race of the 2019 season. Lewis Hamilton has secured pole position with team-mate Valtteri Bottas being second fastest. Max Verstappen was third fastest for Red Bull.
In the first session of qualifying while Lewis Hamilton topped the charts with the fastest lap time, it was Romain Grosjean, Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Raikkonen, George Russel and Robert Kubica who were eliminated. However, all of them will start from ahead of Valtteri Bottas who will start from the back of the pack due to the penalty he will be serving for using his fifth power unit for the year.
This was followed Q2 in the twilight of the middle eastern sky which saw the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc top the timing sheets. But the five slowest drivers of the session were Sergio Perez, Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll, Daniil Kvyat and Kevin Magnussen who were eliminated.
The final session of qualifying went underway, all the eyes were on Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari and Max Verstappen’s Red Bull to see if they can upset the Mercedes party, which they have dominated for the last five consecutive years at the Yas Marina Circuit.
On the first run, Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time, but Verstappen split the two Mercedes cars. Leclerc was only fourth fastest with team-mate Sebastian Vettel behind him.
When all they went out for the second run, Ferrari perform another blunder as Leclerc who was attempting to hitch a tow from his team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, Leclerc failed to cross the start-finish line before the designated time expired and the chequered flag was already out when Leclerc finally did. With Leclerc out of the running, it was down to Verstappen in the Red Bull. Verstappen was on a good flying lap, but in the final corner, the dutchman ran wide and lost a heap of time and was unable to beat the time set by Hamilton.
Hamilton then came and improved on his earlier time to seal the final pole position for the season. Bottas followed him by setting the second fastest time. But due to the penalty, he will be starting from the back on the grid. Verstappen was the third fastest car ahead of Leclerc and Vettel. Alex Albon in the second Red Bull will start from sixth. Lando Norris was seventh fastest for McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo behind him in eighth for Renault. Carlos Sainz in the McLaren was ninth fastest ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, in his final appearance for Renault and possibly in F1, was 10th fastest.
All drivers will from third place onwards will move up a grid position as Bottas will drop down all the way to the back of the grid to serve his penalty meaning that Hamilton will have Verstappen’s Red Bull for company, on the front row of the grid at the start of tomorrow’s race.
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