F1 Abu Dhabi GP Live Commentary and Updates - FP3 and Qualifying

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By: Jake Boxall-Legge, Stephen Lickorish, Haydn Cobb

Summary

  • Verstappen grabs pole for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, comfortably beating title rival Hamilton
  • Hamilton is over three tenths slower than Verstappen, who doesn't need his final lap
  • Bottas has a nightmare in second Mercedes down in sixth as Norris is third
  • Out in Q2: Alonso, Gasly, Stroll, Giovinazzi, Vettel
  • Out in Q1: Latifi, Russell, Raikkonen, Schumacher, Mazepin

Leaderboard

  1. Verstappen, Red Bull
  2. Hamilton, Mercedes
  3. Norris, McLaren
  4. Perez, Red Bull
  5. Sainz, Ferrari
  6. Bottas, Mercedes
  7. Leclerc, Ferrari
  8. Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
  9. Ocon, Alpine
  10. Ricciardo, McLaren
Status: Stopped
09:26 So, a Verstappen and Hamilton front row for the all or nothing F1 title showdown. Who'd have thought? We can't stress this enough, tomorrow's race is not one to miss. The race starts at 1pm GMT (5pm local time). Until then, it is goodbye for today. Stay safe.
09:18
 
09:17 Verstappen signs the customary mini Pirelli tyre award for pole position, his 10th of the season. How cruical could pole be for the race?
09:15

Norris on starting behind the title fighters: "I am a bit nervous because I want to stay where I am and watch everything unfold over the first few laps or the whole race but I also don't want to get involved too much as it could cause controversy. I don't know whether to go for the move, not go for the move, you tell me?"

09:14 Norris, to arguably the biggest cheers of the day: "It came in Q3 run one and I made some improvements on mistakes and I did a clean lap in the end. I went for pole but it didn't work out! It was a nice lap and P3 was a bit of a surprise."
09:12 Hamilton on starting on mediums against Verstappen on softs: "We are in a good position I would like to think with our tyres for tomorrow. I hope that we can have a good race."
09:11 Hamilton on second place: "Max did a great lap today, we just couldn't compete with that lap. We've got a great crowd here, regardless of the few boos. We just couldn't answer that lap, it was a fantastic lap from him."
09:09 Verstappen on his pole: "It is an amazing feeling, we definitely improved the car again for qualifying as before it was on and off. It was difficult especially with their [Mercedes] form."
09:08 Verstappen, naturally, is buzzing with his 10th pole of the season and second pole at the Yas Marina circuit. He hops out of the car and looks ready for the fight tomorrow.
09:06 Verstappen's first Q3 lap was enough for pole position and in the end he takes top spot by a sizeable 0.371s. Norris takes third ahead of Perez, then it is Sainz while Bottas is down in sixth.
09:03 Norris pops up to third place for McLaren! But it is Verstappen on pole for the F1 title decider!
09:03 ...Hamilton puts in a 1m22.480s and does not take pole position! Rest of the laps coming in.
09:02 ...and still a couple of tenths down in second two...
09:02 Hamilton is fractionally down on the pole time in sector 1...
09:01 Hamilton leads the train out ahead of Bottas so he has clear air but no slipstream.
08:59 Right, all 10 cars back in the pits ahead of the final Q3 runs. All or nothing time.
08:58 Strong showing from Ferrari again with Sainz fifth and Leclerc sixth, a tenth or so ahead of Norris.
08:57

Perez completes his lap after slipstreaming Verstappen to go third ahead of Bottas. Tsunoda was briefly third but he lost his lap for track limits at Turn 16.

08:55 Yes it does! Hamilton goes second with a 1m22.660s. That is a 0.551s gap between the two title contenders.
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