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Live: F1 Abu Dhabi GP updates – FP3 & Qualifying

Follow the live action as the final Formula 1 practice and qualifying sessions of the 2023 season take place at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

A disrupted Friday in Abu Dhabi has left teams with little data ahead of a crucial final qualifying session of the year. 

Second practice saw only 23 minutes of action after crashes for Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg, with Charles Leclerc ending the hour fastest. This followed an FP1 session that saw 10 rookie drivers replace regular runners, with both Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton among those watching from the sidelines. 

Conditions in FP3 are far from representative of those that will be seen in either qualifying or the grand prix, meaning teams are likely to enter qualifying without complete certainty on set-up directions. 

FP3 begins at 10:30am GMT with qualifying following at 2pm GMT. 

By: Haydn Cobb, James Newbold, Sam Hall

Summary

Summary
  • Verstappen takes 12th pole of F1 2023 in Abu Dhabi despite not improving on his final Q3 flyer
  • Leclerc will join Verstappen on the front row, while Perez and Gasly had their final laps deleted to drop them to the tail end of the top 10
  • Tsunoda impresses with sixth to raise the prospect of AlphaTauri snatching seventh in the constructors' table away from Williams
  • Russell knocks Hamilton out in Q2, while Sainz blames traffic after dropping out in Q1
Leaderboard
  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
  2. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
  3. Oscar Piastri, McLaren
  4. George Russell, Mercedes
  5. Lando Norris, McLaren
  6. Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
  7. Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin
  8. Nico Hulkenberg, Haas
  9. Sergio Perez, Red Bull
  10. Pierre Gasly, Alpine
Status: Stopped
For answers to all of those questions and hopefully a few others, join us tomorrow for all the build-up and action from Yas Marina as it unfolds and the 22-race season draws to its close. Thank you very much for joining us today, and we'll see you tomorrow for the finale. Until then, goodbye!
F1 2023 is almost at its end, but tomorrow we have a 58-lap race to tie off the loose ends. Who will win out in the close tussle for fourth in the drivers' standings? Will there be a final twist in the tale for bragging rights in the intra-Ferrari and Alpine battles in the standings? And can AlphaTauri wrest seventh in the constructors' table from Williams?
Little doubt then that the Red Bull RB19 will go down as one of F1's best ever cars. We've known that for a long time, but Max Verstappen capped off its mega season by recovering from a tough FP3 to lead the way in qualifying - and you can read the full report here.
Verstappen's pole position today means that the Red Bull RB19 has led the way in 14 of the 22 qualifying sessions for Grands Prix this year, a conversion rate of 63.63%. Of the remaining eight, seven went to Ferrari (31.31%) and one to Mercedes (4.5%).
Tsunoda's qualifying heroics could come in handy for AlphaTauri in the constructors' battle over seventh with Williams. Just seven points split the two teams, and should he manage to finish in the position he'll start from, that would earn the Faenza squad a priceless eight points to swing it back the way of AlphaTauri.
An impeding incident involving Piastri and Gasly will be investigated after the session, we're informed by the stewards.
Norris has delivered the perfect example there of why drifting isn't fast. It may look cool, but sliding means you're not getting ideal traction. Still, he's surely passed his audition for the next time Vin Diesel needs a stunt driver.
Alonso, who began the year as Red Bull's strongest challenger, ends it in seventh ahead of Hulkenberg and the pair who lost their final laps - Perez and Gasly.
Tsunoda completes his excellent Saturday with a strong sixth, which is his best-ever grid slot in F1. He managed seventh twice in Baku and Austria in 2021.
Piastri ended up as the best McLaren after Norris's lurid slide meant he failed to improve on his final run. Russell meanwhile split the McLaren pair in fourth.
Verstappen's final margin over Leclerc was 0.139s as he brings the curtain down on a crushing 2023 with his 12th pole of the year. His 32nd career pole puts him level with Nigel Mansell in the all-time list.
Gasly and Perez both lost their final efforts for track limits at Turn 1, while Christian Horner reveals over the radio that he won a €500 bet with Helmut Marko over his world champion charge making it onto the front row. Horner comments that it's like getting blood out of a stone.
The checkered flag is out, and Max Verstappen is the polesitter for the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Rather fitting, given how this year has gone for him.
Verstappen falls a tenth shy of his earlier effort, but he didn't need to find any more time such was his huge margin. Now the waiting game commences.
A huge slide through the hotel complex surely costs Norris some ground as he ends up dropping time on his final run. He's jumped by Piastri and then by Leclerc.
"We've seen that," remarks Leclerc's engineer as he has to jam on the anchors to avoid Alonso cutting into the queue trawling out of the pits. That's a move I've seen a few times on the M25.
Here they come then. For the final time in 2023, it's time to decide who gets the pole.
Verstappen then is almost four tenths to the good heading into the final qualifying runs. That is a massive margin for the rest to make up, even assuming he doesn't improve again.
Alonso, a subdued Leclerc and Gasly complete the top 10. We say subdued - Leclerc remarks over the radio that he felt it was a really good lap, and isn't sure why he's shipped over a second compared to the driver he was fighting for victory last week in Vegas.
Russell moves into fourth as the last man to log a first flyer in Q3. It slots him ahead of Perez who had a huge snap of oversteer exiting Turn 1. Hulkenberg avoids the track limits issues he faced in the first two qualifying segments to slot into seventh.
Norris is 0.371s down after his first flyer, but it's enough to put him second ahead of Piastri, Perez and the inspired Tsunoda.
A 1m23.445s from Verstappen is the benchmark to beat. Can anyone top it?
We're go for Q3. Here's where it really counts.
Alonso (Aston), Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and Hulkenberg (Haas) joining Perez and Piastri in the second Red Bull and McLaren mean we'll have eight different constructors vying for glory in Q3.
One thing you can say about F1 in 2023 is there has been no shortage of variety in the pecking order behind Red Bull. Five different makes made up as many positions in Q2, with Verstappen heading Norris (McLaren), Leclerc (Ferrari), Russell (Mercedes) and Gasly (Alpine).
Once again, Hulkenberg redeemed himself after pushing beyond the track limits to make Q3 as Magnussen languishes in 17th. A good day for the 2015 Le Mans winner, who was quicker than Piastri's McLaren in that session.
"Something isn't right with this car," reports Hamilton to a resigned Peter Bonnington. He'll be relieved that this will be his last time qualifying the W14.
Joining Hamilton in making an early visit to the media pen, Ocon is 12th ahead of Stroll. Albon's early gambit isn't enough as he is also eliminated in 14th, ahead only of Ricciardo.
As the flag comes out, Hamilton is eliminated in 11th by his team-mate Russell, who avoids the drop himself by vaulting from 15th into fourth in the dying seconds.
Third for Leclerc and fifth for Hulkenberg, the times are tumbling fast.
Everyone bar Verstappen is out on track as it stands, the Red Bull man content with his work so far. Intriguingly, he was fastest only in the middle sector, with Norris on top in the first and last sectors on their first Q2 runs.
Albon therefore shuffles Hamilton into the drop zone as the rest of the field embark on their prep laps. He's 11th, with Stroll now the man on the bubble.
From 13th, Albon finds 0.387s to move up to fifth. A good lap that.
As in Q1, Albon kicks us off for the final flyers. Williams has clearly decided that sitting in a traffic jam in the pit exit is no good for its tyres and is willing to offset potentially slightly better track conditions for optimal tyre preparation.
Ricciardo, Gasly, Albon, Ocon and Hulkenberg face the drop as it stands. The Haas driver was once again penalised for track limits, after a moment at the final corner took him wide, although it wasn't good enough for the top 10 anyway.
Here come the McLarens, and Norris slots into his almost customary slot as Verstappen's closest challenger with a lap that is 0.180s shy to split the Red Bulls. Perez is third and Piastri fourth, demoting Russell to fifth and Tsunoda to sixth.
Tsunoda pops up again in third, behind Russell, and ahead of Leclerc. What did the AlphaTauri driver have for breakfast today?
But Verstappen isn't hanging about. He flicks the switch and blazes to the first sub-1m24s lap of qualifying, a 1m23.740s that is over seven tenths quicker than Russell. Wowzers.
A 1m24.965s opening effort from Albon is slower than he managed in Q1. Russell, Stroll and Hamilton all go quicker.
Albon and Hamilton are the first drivers out of the box to begin their opening runs.

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