Grand prix

Verstappen beats Perez to pole for Abu Dhabi season finale

The two-time world champion posted two laps good enough for pole in Q3 on his way to topping qualifying for the seventh time this season, 0.228s clear of Perez, who secured a Red Bull front-row lockout. 

Verstappen will be eyeing his 15th victory of an already record-breaking 2022 campaign in Sunday’s grand prix. 

“It was a bit of an up and down qualifying. It started off quite well,” said Verstappen. “Q2 was a little bit messy. I don’t know why but on those tyres I couldn’t get the grip together. 

“But then in Q3 it all felt a bit more normal. We had a bit of a scare, the car turned off before the first run, so we had to reboot everything. Then we went out and both of the laps were good enough.”  

Perez’s late improvement saw him leapfrog Charles Leclerc, who outpaced Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz by two tenths. 

Lewis Hamilton was over six tenths adrift of Verstappen’s pole effort as he took fifth with a lap just 0.003s faster than Mercedes teammate George Russell

McLaren’s Lando Norris took seventh ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, who was ninth in his final qualifying of his F1 career. 

Outgoing McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo completed the top-10, 1.2s off the pace. 

Fernando Alonso narrowly missed out on a spot in Q3 as he took 11th for Alpine, ahead of AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda. 

Mick Schumacher was 13th-fastest in his final qualifying session for Haas, a tenth clear of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu. 

Kevin Magnussen failed to follow his Haas teammate into Q2 and was dumped out in 16th, ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly. 

Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas could only qualify 18th, ahead of the Williams pair of Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi, who was slowest of all in qualifying for the 10th time this season.

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