Abu Dhabi GP: Hamilton has first pole since Germany in Mercedes 1-2
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton took pole in F1 Abu Dhabi GP from Valtteri Bottas as Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen ended up third.
It was an eventful first part of F1 Abu Dhabi GP qualifying at Yas Marina circuit as Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton headed Red Bull Racing's Alexander Albon and Vlatteri Bottas, with the Thai racer pushing the Finn to third after a late quick lap.
There was a spin for Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at Turn 21 when the German lost his rear while entering the final corner. There was also an unsafe release incident in the pits when Toro Rosso released Daniil Kyvat in the path of Haas' Romain Grosjean.
The incident will be investigated after the session. It was close at the back end with Grosjean eventually missing the cut in 16th with a 1m38.051s lap. The Frenchman led the two Alfa Romeo Racing and the two Williams drivers behind.
It was Antonio Giovinazzi (1m38.114s) ahead of Kimi Raikkonen (1m38.383s) in 17th and 18th, while George Russell (1m38.717s) led Robert Kubica (1m39.236s) to end up a clean sweep in 2019 F1 season.
The strategy game was on in the second part of F1 Abu Dhabi GP qualifying as both Mercedes and Red Bull opted to set their best time on the medium compound along with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Haas' Kevin Magnussen.
Interestingly, Ferrari chose to split their strategy with Vettel on the soft compound. It was Leclerc as the quickest driver in the end from the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Bottas, after a late quick lap from the Monegasque.
The midfield was close as usual by both McLaren and Renault made it through as Racing Point's Sergio Perez (1m37.055s) missed out in 11th with Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly (1m37.098s) 12th, followed by the other Racing Point of Lance Stroll (1m37.103s).
The other Toro Rosso of Kvyat (1m37.141s) then slotted in 14th with Haas reverting to the soft compound after the initial run on the medium as Magnussen (1m37.254s) ended up in 15th. All of them stands to gain a place due to Bottas' penalty.
The third part of F1 Abu Dhabi GP qualifying had Mercedes' Hamilton on provisional pole with a 1m34.828s lap from Red Bull's Verstappen and Bottas after their first runs. The Ferrari duo were losing massively in the final sector majorly.
Hamilton (1m34.779s) improved further to eventually take pole in Abu Dhabi GP, his first since the 2019 German GP, to end up with five in all. He even bettered last year's F1 pole lap by 0.015s as Bottas (1m34.973s) made it a Mercedes 1-2.
He won't start from the front though as he is to start from back with Red Bull's Verstappen (1m35.139s) to take his place after finishing third. Ferrari's Leclerc (1m35.219s) was fourth after he failed to make it to the chequered flag to put in his last lap.
Teammate Vettel (1m35.339s) was fifth with Red Bull's Albon (135.682s) in sixth ahead of McLaren's Lando Norris (1m36.436s), who ended up as the best of the rest. He pipped Renault's Daniel Ricciardo (1m36.456s) in the end.
The Top 10 then was rounded out by the other McLaren of Carlos Sainz (1m36.459s) in ninth and the other Renault of Nico Hulkenberg (1m36.710s) to end the last qualifying of the 2019 F1 season.
[Image courtesy: Mercedes] [Note: This report was also written by me on FormulaRapida.net]