Verstappen on pole for Abu Dhabi GP

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 11: Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on December 11, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202012110139 // Usage for editorial use only //

Qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix saw the return of Lewis Hamilton and this was good news with regards to his recovering from COVID-19. It wasn’t good news for George Russell who migrated back to his inferior Williams car struggling to get into Q2.

Q1

The session saw Lewis skate over a sausage curb banging up the underfloor of his car. His first lap was DSQ’d for track limits and the second run left him 8th quickest. Never fear, Lewis redeemed his run by going quickest in the session ahead of teammate, Valtteri Bottas but he may have used an extra set of Soft tires.

Our in Q1- Magnussen, Latifi, Russell, Fittipaldi, Raikkonen (out qualified in 2020 by Giovinazzi)

Q2

This session was about the Medium compound tire and Lewis’s first run looked completely anchored and on line. Lewis and his teammate took to the top spots in the mid 1:35’s.

McLaren were working hard and doing fairly well comparatively speaking. Their first runs were 3rd and 4th quickest ahead of the Racing Point cars as well as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Alex Albon.

Daniil Kvyat was looking good in Q1 and Q2 but besting Pierre Gasly. Sadly, Sebastian Vettel missed out in Q1 again and Daniel Ricciardo, who had his first run DSQ’d, couldn’t get into the top ten. Both Renault’s were out of Q3 and that stings given there was only 12 points between them and McLaren for 4th in the Constructor’s Championship.

Out in Q2- Perez, Vettel, Ricciardo, Ocon, Giovinazzi

Q3

Valtteri Bottas set the quickest provisional pole run with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton behind him. Alex Albon had his Red Bull behind Hamilton while the McLaren duo of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris were 5th and 6th respectively.

For the second run, Toto Wolff radioed Bottas to suggest he needed to deliver all he had. Interesting call.

What looked like a pole position for Bottas turned into an upset with Max Verstappen with their first pole of 2020! Bottas and Hamilton were 2nd and 3rd respectively. Max’s pole was the first non-Mercedes pole of the season.

Lando Norris had a great run to 4th.

POSDRIVERCARGAP
1Max VerstappenRed Bull/Honda1m35.246s
2Valtteri BottasMercedes0.025s
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes0.086s
4Lando NorrisMcLaren/Renault0.251s
5Alexander AlbonRed Bull/Honda0.325s
6Carlos Sainz Jr.McLaren/Renault0.569s
7Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri/Honda0.717s
8Lance StrollRacing Point/Mercedes0.800s
9Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri/Honda0.996s
10Esteban OconRenault1.113s
11Daniel RicciardoRenault1.160s
12Charles LeclercFerrari0.819s
13Sebastian VettelFerrari1.385s
14Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo/Ferrari3.002s
15Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo/Ferrari2.309s
16George RussellWilliams/Mercedes2.799s
17Pietro FittipaldiHaas/Ferrari2.927s
18Nicholas LatifiWilliams/Mercedes3.197s
19Sergio PerezRacing Point/Mercedes
20Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari2.617s
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