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Max Verstappen Leads Red Bull 1-2 In Abu Dhabi Qualifying

Max Verstappen Abu Dhabi 2022 Feature

For the third consecutive year, Max Verstappen will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from pole position. 

A crushing performance on Saturday (Nov. 19) at the Yas Marina Circuit from the two-time World Champion would have seen either of his Q3 times earn him the pole, but it was a lap of 1:23.824, set in the closing stages of the final session that earned him the first-place starting spot ahead of his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.

It is Verstappen’s seventh pole position of 2022, one he hopes to convert into a record-extending fifteenth Grand Prix win of the season tomorrow. All of the previous seven Abu Dhabi Grands Prix have been won from the pole, including the previous two by Verstappen. 

“A bit of an up and down qualifying,” Verstappen described to Sky Sports’ David Coulthard.

“Q2 was a bit messy, I couldn’t get the grip together. But in Q3 it felt more normal – we had a bit of a scare as the car turned off … I expect it to be a good battle tomorrow.”

The Red Bull team had to scramble in Q3 to re-fire Verstappen’s RB18, but the crew got the young Dutchman back on-track with only the briefest of delays.

“Yeah, it’s a good starting [position],” second-place starter Perez explained after the session.

“I think I just didn’t make that final step in Q3. We were a bit behind … looking forward to tomorrow, which is the day that really matters.”

The second row will be occupied by Ferrari teammates Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, with an all-silver third row courtesy of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. In one final headline-stealing performance, Sebastian Vettel put his Aston Martin through into Q3 and will start the race from ninth.


AlphaTauri, Haas, Aston Martin and Williams drivers opened the session, with Yuki Tsunoda initially setting the best time of the back-of-the-pack cars.

But it couldn’t be anyone other than Verstappen setting the fastest time. Going for his third pole in a row at Yas Marina, the two-time World Champion topped his teammate by just a few hundredths of a second. 

Only the drivers at risk went back out, led by Vettel. Staring down the end of his F1 career, the four-time champion and 51-time Grand Prix winner needed a fast lap to avoid Q1 elimination in his final chance at qualifying.

A fast lap was what Vettel delivered. Weaving his Aston Martin through the…

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