Max Verstappen Claims Pole For 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

(Image credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Max Verstappen clinched pole position for 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but will be joined by title rival – Lewis Hamilton on the front row.

Verstappen endured a tough FP3 and survived a tricky flat-spot in Q2 to benefit from an opening flying lap tow in Q3 to claim pole position, ahead of Hamilton who qualified second after topping FP3 as Lando Norris snatched a shock third place on the grid.

Now here is a full roundup of FP3 and Qualifying for the last time in 2021.

 

FP3

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Mick Schumacher was first out of the pits as the lights went green but it was Esteban Ocon who set the initial benchmark of 1m 26.645, which was quickly dismantled by Verstappen who posted 1m 24.997 on hard tyres before lowering his time to 1m 24.828 after two cooldown laps.

Hamilton and Bottas meanwhile both pitted after installation laps but came back out on soft tyres with Hamilton going top, as the Brit posted 1m 24.241 as Bottas settled into third although he was briefly displaced by Perez who went 0.004 seconds shy of Verstappen.

Just before the half-hour mark, Hamilton unleashed his first qualifying simulation as he posted a session-topping 1m 23.274, before struggling to match that time on further laps as he also got caught out by Nikita Mazepin on a flier as he exited the pits.

Verstappen struggled with rear wing issues as he largely focused on medium tyre runs but eventually fell 0.214s short of his title rival on his qualifying simulation on soft tyres.

Bottas, Perez, Lando Norris, Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top seven, whilst Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo and Charles Leclerc finished eighth, ninth and tenth despite setting their quickest times on the medium tyre.

Outside of the top ten, everyone set their quickest lap time on the soft tyre except for Alpine duo of Ocon and Fernando Alonso, who finished 12th and 15th respectively on the medium tyres.

Position Driver Team Time 
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m 23.274
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull + 0.214
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes + 0.751
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull + 0.773
5 Lando Norris McLaren + 0.832
6 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri + 0.949
7 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri + 0.977
8 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 1.321
9 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren + 1.459
10 Charles Leclerc Ferrari + 1.484
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 1.547
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine + 1.560
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo + 1.763
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo + 1.774
15 Fernando Alonso Alpine + 1.820
16 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin + 1.841
17 George Russell Williams + 1.946
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams + 2.048
19 Mick Schumacher Haas + 2.066
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas + 3.058

 

Qualifying

Q1

Sebastian Vettel led the field out for the opening runs as Perez set the first benchmark time of 1m 24.253, which was swiftly surpassed by Verstappen who posted 1m 23.680 to go fastest.

Hamilton meanwhile waited back in the pits before setting 1m 23.266 in the seventh minute, whilst the elimination zone come halfway point compromised of; Lance Stroll, Vettel, Nicholas Latifi, Mick Schumacher and Mazepin.

Come the checkered flag, Stroll and Vettel avoided elimination as Latifi improved to qualify 16th fastest ahead of George Russell, Kimi Raikkonen, Schumacher and Mazepin.

Up front, Hamilton topped Q1 after improving to 1m 22.845 on a fresh set of the soft tyres.

 

Q2

Hamilton was first out on track as several drivers opted for medium tyres and set the benchmark lap time of 1m 23.185 on the medium tyre compound, just 0.004s clear of Verstappen with Bottas a further 0.057s back in third.

Sainz meanwhile opted for the soft tyre alongside Leclerc and both Alpine plus Aston Martin drivers, which paid off as the Spaniard headed out later into the session and posted 1m 23.174 to go top in the eighth minute.

Verstappen on his second flier flat-spotted his mediums which consequently forced a change of tyre compound and race strategy.

At the halfway mark of Q2 once everyone completed their opening fliers, the elimination zone compromised of; Ricciardo, Stroll, Antonio Giovinazzi, Vettel and Gasly.

Come the checkered flag, only Ricciardo escaped as Alonso was eliminated in 11th after failing to improve on his final flier, as Gasly and Giovinazzi qualified 12th and 14th fastest on medium tyres with Giovinazzi splitting Stroll and Vettel.

Verstappen meanwhile topped the session from Perez after posting 1m 22.800, yet both Red Bull drivers will have to start the race on the soft tyres after having set their fastest Q2 times on the softest available tyres.

Hamilton and Tsunoda were the only two drivers to reach Q3 who set their best lap times on the medium tyre compound.

 

Q3

Perez was first to head out in Q3 in order to provide Verstappen with a slipstream tow for their opening fliers as everyone put soft tyres on, which saw Verstappen set a 1m 22.109 to go top from Hamilton by 0.551s with Perez third fastest after getting return tow from Verstappen on his flier.

Tsunoda meanwhile had his opening lap time deleted after he exceeded track limits at the final corner.

Hamilton was then first out for the final runs as several cars battled for track position ahead of their final fliers, with the seven-time champion falling 0.371s short of Verstappen who claimed his tenth pole of the season despite qualifying for the grid on softs in Q2 to Hamilton’s mediums.

Norris will start from third ahead of Perez, Sainz, Bottas, Leclerc, Tsunoda, Ocon and Ricciardo.

Position Driver Team Time 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m 22.109
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 0.371
3 Lando Norris McLaren + 0.822
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull + 0.838
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 0.883
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes + 0.927
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari + 1.013
8 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri + 1.111
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine + 1.280
10 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren + 1.300
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1m 23.460
12 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri + 0.583
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 0.606
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo + 0.791
15 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin + 0.845
16 Nicolas Latifi Williams 1m 24.338
17 George Russell Williams + 0.085
18 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo + 0.441
19 Mick Schumacher Haas + 0.568
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas + 1.347

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Max Verstappen Believes “there are no guarantees” in Title Decider at 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Sport Grill
  2. Lewis Hamilton Feels Confident He “in a good position” for 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Sport Grill

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