Hamilton gets final pole position of the season in Abu Dhabi to end drought!

30-11-2019 13:20 | Updated: 30-11-2019 14:25
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
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Hamilton gets final pole position of the season in Abu Dhabi to end drought!

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton has taken pole position at the Yas Marina Circuit to end his personal drought, as he beat Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen to secure the fastest time for the first time since Germany back in July.

Hamilton was on his longest streak without pole position since joining Mercedes, going nine weekends without setting the pace on a Saturday afternoon as the German works team completed another one-two, although Bottas will start from the back of the grid due to a grid penalty.

Ferrari continued their cold streak in Abu Dhabi, as they have still never qualified on the front row at the Yas Marina Circuit as Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel qualified in fourth and fifth respectively.

Behind sixth-placed Alexander Albon, it was Lando Norris who set the pace in midfield, beating Daniel Ricciardo to seventh place as he ends the season beating teammate Carlos Sainz in the qualifying duel 11 to 10.

Q1

Somewhat surprisingly, both Alfa Romeo cars were found back in the elimination zone after an amazing weekend in Brazil. Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen qualified in P17 and P18 respectively, only leaving the two Williams cars behind them. George Russell completed the clean sweep in qualifying, beating Robert Kubica for the 21st and final time to repeat what Fernando Alonso did last season. The final eliminated car was of Romain Grosjean for Haas, who was narrowly beaten to safety by teammate Kevin Magnussen.

At the top, it was Hamilton setting the pace followed by Albon, as it seemed Red Bull were the only team able to keep up with Mercedes as the sun was setting in Abu Dhabi. Leclerc and Vettel were fifth and seventh respectively, with Sergio Perez sneaking between the two SF90's.

Q2

Despite running on soft tyres, Vettel couldn't set the quickest time in Q2 at the Yas Marina Circuit. The German will be the only driver of the top three teams to not start on the medium tyre as he set the fourth quickest time.

His teammate Leclerc set the pace on the harder tyre, keeping both Mercedes cars at bay as the Silver Arrows were sandwiched between the red cars.

In the elimination zone, Magnussen set the worst lap by a relatively long way (although it was only a tenth of a second). Above him were Daniil Kvyat and Lance Stroll, the latter making it out of Q1 in Abu Dhabi for the first time in his career. Perez got 'mini pole' as he was 11th, the highest position while still having free range of tyres. Pierre Gasly followed closely in P12 as both McLarens and Renault made it through to the final shoot-out. 

Q3

The first of the two stints was somewhat predictably led by the rapid Hamilton, who beat Verstappen and Bottas in that order to complete the top three. Leclerc and Vettel couldn't crack the top three as the Ferrari's were losing a whopping six-tenths compared to Hamilton in the middle sector, something which couldn't be compensated with their straight-line speed.

1:34.828 was the time to beat from Hamilton, and Leclerc failed to make it to the checkered flag in time to set his final lap for the second time this season. It looked like Vettel and Albon slowed the Monegasque down as he expressed his anger on team radio.

Bottas pipped Verstappen to P2 as the latter ran wide in the final corner in his final run, although the Dutchman will go up to P2 on the grid with Bottas serving a grid penalty. It was the fifth time Hamilton was on pole position in Abu Dhabi as he extends his amazing record in the Middle East.

In midfield, it was Norris who beat every other midfield car to P7 as he beat Ricciardo and Sainz to it, meaning the 20-year-old has beaten Sainz in the qualifying duel 11 to 10, although the Spaniard has scored the bulk of the points during the races across 2019.

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