Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Qualifying Report 2022 and Highlights: Verstappen storms to pole as Red Bull score 1-2 in final qualifying session of the season at Yas Marina

Max Verstappen stormed into pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, beating Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez and Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc as the sun set and the on-track action intensified in qualifying at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Verstappen led the way with a time of 1m 23.988s after the first Q3 runs and improved to a 1m 23.824s on his final lap.

Carlos Sainz followed team-mate Leclerc in fourth, while Lewis Hamilton and George Russell put their Mercedes cars in P5 and P6 respectively to ensure the top three teams of 2022 start the final race of the season in formation.

Lando Norris was one of the stars of qualifying as he finished seventh in his McLaren, ahead of Alpine rival Esteban Ocon – the two teams went on to battle for P4 in the constructors’ standings.

Another man who made the stands cheer was Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel, who stormed to ninth in his final F1 qualifying session, while Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) rounded out the top 10, albeit with a three-place grid penalty for the causing a collision with Kevin Magnussen in Brazil.


Red Bull races

Red Bull races




Fernando Alonso couldn’t follow teammate Ocon into Q3, as he fell a few thousandths short during Q2, finishing P11 and just ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, who led AlphaTauri’s charge with a solid session to close out the season.

Mick Schumacher finished his final F1 qualifying run with Haas in 13th, as the wait continues to find out where he goes next, as Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu joined him as Q2 eliminaters.

In Q1 and the first knockout stage, Magnussen got his feet back on the ground after his spectacular pole position amidst changing conditions in Brazil – the Dane was the first driver to miss the Q2 cut on P16.

He was joined on the sidelines by Pierre Gasly and Valtteri Bottas in the other AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo machines, with Williams drivers Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi – the latter also retiring from the sport – at the rear.

Qualifying Highlights: 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


Q1 – Magnussen goes from pole to output Q1

There was much intrigue over the lead at Yas Marina after Verstappen and Red Bull topped Friday night’s second practice session, ahead of Russell’s Mercedes and Leclerc’s Ferrari – albeit with the Dutchman using more soft tires than his rivals.

As the cars rolled out of the pit lane for the start of Q1, in similar conditions to FP2, it was Verstappen who set the early pace with a 1:24.754, putting him just over half a tenth ahead of team-mate Perez. and three-tenths on Sainz’s Ferrari.

With Mercedes couple Russell and Hamilton adrift for the best part of a second, split by Norris in his McLaren, Verstappen’s only concern at the moment has been his headrest, reporting via the Red Bull pit wall that “I think he’s broken and request checks.

When the drivers re-emerged for the final runs, there were no changes to the sharp end of the timetables, with Verstappen – who headed back to the pits rather than completing his second attempt – holding on for P1 ahead of Ferrari duo Perez Sainz and Leclerc and Norris.


Verstappen immediately lit up the timing screens – and track – as qualifying got under way

Further back, Vettel was in the drop zone and in danger of dropping out in his final F1 qualifying appearance, but delivered an inspired final lap to jump up to sixth place, edging out the Mercedes cars of Russell and Hamilton defeated, while Zhou and Tsunoda completed. the best 10.

Outgoing Haas driver Schumacher made it to Q2 in 11th, followed by Ocon, Stroll and Ricciardo, while Alonso squeezed through after recovering from a nasty first attempt, suffering a wild skid in Turn 9.

Following the highlights of his pole last time at Interlagos, Magnussen was knocked out of Q1 along with Gasly, Bottas – the Alfa Romeo man swearing on his way back to the pits as he complained his tires “didn’t work” – and Williams couples Albon and Latifi.

Eliminated: Magnussen, Gasly, Bottas, Albon, Latifi


Magnussen’s pole in Brazil seemed a long time ago when he got out in Q1

Q2 – Perez on top as Vettel seals a spot in Q3

Red Bull again led the way in Q2, but this time it was Perez who was pretty much at the top of the timing screens, as he shaved some three-tenths off Verstappen’s speed-defining Q1 effort en route to a 1m 24.419s.

After a quiet start, Ferrari upped the pace as Q2 came close to second and third with Leclerc and Sainz respectively – the duo separated by just 0.004 seconds, while Verstappen settled for P4, a tenth further back.

Hamilton was confused by Mercedes’ 0.355 second gap to the front of the pack as he took fifth, with Norris again sharing the Silver Arrows as he beat Russell to round out the top six positions.

Vettel produced another stunner at the end of Q2 to take P8 and progress to the pole position shootout, despite traffic frustrations, while Ocon and Ricciardo – apart from his grid penalty – also made progress.

Alonso was unable to join teammate Ocon in Q3 in the other Alpine as he narrowly missed out on P11, while Tsunoda, Schumacher, Stroll and Zhou fell the other drivers at the second hurdle.

Eliminated: Alonso, Tsunoda, Schumacher, Stroll, Zhou


Vettel put in some stunning laps to take the pole position shootout on his farewell weekend

Q3 – Verstappen and Red Bull make their mark

Red Bull were again quick out of the blocks in Q3 as Verstappen clocked in a time of 1:23.988 on his first run to lead the way from Sainz, Perez and Leclerc, while Hamilton and Russell looked on in P5 and P6 respectively.

And as the drivers came out again for their final efforts, Verstappen only cemented his lead by clocking a 1m 23.824s, as Perez got the jump on the Ferraris to give Red Bull a front row lockout.

While Verstappen and Perez were separated by two tenths, there was only half a tenth between the Mexican in P2 and Leclerc in P3, with Sainz, Hamilton and Russell drifting in the pole battle during the decisive laps.

As the top three teams occupy the top six positions, Norris and McLaren were left behind to take the ‘best of the rest’ spot in P7, followed by Ocon’s Alpine, Vettel’s equally impressive Aston Martin and second McLaren from Ricciardo.

Ricciardo’s three-place grid penalty for Sunday night’s race means he drops to 13th for his final start with the Woking team, promoting Alonso, Tsunoda and Schumacher.


After fast flashes from Ferrari and Mercedes, qualifying was for Verstappen and Red Bull

Key quote

“It was a bit of an up and down qualifying. It started pretty well. Q2 was a bit messier. I don’t know why, but with that set of tires I couldn’t get that grip together – then in Q3 it all felt a bit more normal. Then we had a bit of a scare, the car cut out for the first run, so we had to restart everything,” said pole sitter Verstappen.

“We went out and both laps were good. I’m very happy about that, but also very happy that both cars are on the front row, because… obviously we want to win the race, but we also want to finish second with Checo in the championship, so that’s definitely a good start before tomorrow.”

What’s next?

The 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will conclude an exciting season under all-new technical regulations, will start at 5pm local time on Sunday. Visit the RACE HUB for more information.

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