Verstappen rockets to pole: 2022 Abu Dhabi GP qualifying

Max Verstappen put in another compelling qualifying performance to take pole at Yas Marina for the 2022 Abu Dhabi GP.

The Dutchman was in a class of his own, with both Q3 laps good enough for the top grid spot tomorrow.

It was two by two on the first three rows, with Sergio Perezthe Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and carlos sainz more the mercedes a pair of Lewis Hamilton and george russell following Verstappen.

Lando Norris was, as is often the case, closest to the “Big Three” in seventh position, with Esteban Ocon eighth, an impressive Sebastian Vettel ninth in his last GP weekend and Daniel Ricardo completing the top 10.

Here’s how qualifying went.


Nicholas Latifi was knocked out in Q1 of his final F1 qualifying session

Andrei Heuler/Getty Images

Several drivers hit the track early, with both Aston Martins quickly heading to the top of the timesheets.

In his final F1 weekend, Sebastian Vettel clocked a time of 1min 26.285sec and teammate Lance Stroll immediately went a tenth quicker – however, the fastest of them all was Yuki Tsunoda with a 1min 26.135sec.

Soon more heavyweights came out, with Leclerc taking a tenth off Tsunoda in sector 1, half a second in sector 2 and almost 1 second faster at the end of the lap.

A moment later, his championship rival for second place, Perez, beat the Monegasque’s time by 0.4s, before Verstappen beat that lap by 0.066s.

Norris and Ricciardo both looked sharp, 0.8 seconds off the pace in fourth and fifth with half the session up. Their times looked even more impressive when Hamilton was only able to slot between the McLarens on his first effort, with Russell just ahead of Norris.

Verstappen complained that his headrest was broken, while Fernando Alonso had a moment and could only manage 12th in his first run.

Tsunoda, whose impressive time meant he was still tenth, was perched on the weighbridge after being randomly called with five minutes remaining.

All the drivers started with less than four minutes on the clock, with cars queuing at the last corner to try to find space.

Vettel, who had to navigate a slew of nearly stationary cars in the final sector looking for space, took fifth with a time of 1min 25.523sec, while Mick Schumacher leaps to the tenth.

Several big names came out in the third quarter – last week’s poleman Kevin Magnussen was knocked out in 16th by half a tenth, Pierre Gasly was o.o2sec further, Valtteri Bottas in the 18th and both williams of Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi forming the last row.


Fernando Alonso's Alpine during qualifying for the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Alonso missed the Q3 cut by 0.03sec

Joe Portlock/F1 via Getty Images

Both Mercedes took to the track in a bid to book a banker, with Hamilton clocking a lap of 1 minute 25.772 seconds, but Russell immediately did better by 0.4 seconds.

There was a slight gap before the rest of the field disappeared, as an impressive Vettel came between the Silver Arrows, before Ocon then moved into second, 0.15s behind Russell.

Sainz, who seemed to be the fastest Ferrari in Interlagos, topped the timesheets with a time of 1min 25.090s, but was soon blown away by the two Red Bulls.

It was No2 team Sergio Perez who now took the lead with a lap of 1min 24.419sec and Verstappen at 0.4sec.

Hamilton then improved, closing within 0.355 seconds of the Mexican in second, while Russell was fourth fastest, half a second behind Perez.

“Three tenths? exclaimed Hamilton when told of his gap to Perez, but in reality the Mercedes looked solid, given the increased wear on its tires on Sunday.

Sebastian Vettel in the Abu Dhabi spotlight during qualifying for the 2022 Grand Prix

Vettel entered Q3 for his final F1 qualifying session and will start ninth

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Vettel was fastest of all in the first sector, his time being good enough for the fifth, because behind him the timesheets became a spinning slot machine with laps flying away.

Norris was once again impressive, becoming the meat of a Mercedes sandwich in sixth, while Ocon and Ricciardo also squealed in Q3.

Alonso was eventually eliminated in 11th, Tsunoda in 12th, Schumacher in 13th, Stroll in 14th and Zhou.


3-2022-Red-Bull-F1-driver-Sergio-Perez-at Abu Dhabi GP

Perez made it a Red Bull 1-2

Red Bull

Again Mercedes was first on Yas Marina, with Hamilton lapping first and fastest in 1min 24.678sec.

Sainz was 0.4 seconds ahead halfway through his first race and held on to that margin as he crossed the finish line.

Leclerc was a hair’s breadth – 0.062sec – while Perez had a squirm in the final corner which meant he was three hundredths behind Sainz.

Verstappen then reached the top, almost 0.3 seconds quicker than Sainz, but appeared to be wide on the final corner – however, his lap still stood.

Vettel had his first race five minutes later and on an empty track his lap was good enough for seventh place, 0.973 seconds behind Verstappen.

Ricciardo also made his first attempt but couldn’t do better than Vettel while Ocon set a ninth fastest time.

Leclerc struggled through the hairpin, but made up for it by going just a tenth slower than Verstappen.

Sainz couldn’t improve and remained third, Perez moved into second, before Verstappen extended his margin with 1min 23.824sec – his two Q3 laps were good enough for pole.

Hamilton – who had an oversteer at Turn 14 – and Russell were fifth and sixth despite improving, while Norris, Ocon, Vettel and Ricciardo followed behind.


Friends reunited: Verstappen and Perez will start in the front row

Getty Images via Red Bull

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying results

Position Driver Crew Time
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1min 23.824sec
2 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1min 24.052sec
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1min 24.092sec
4 carlos sainz Ferrari 1min 24.242sec
5 Lewis Hamilton mercedes 1min 24.508sec
6 george russell mercedes 1min 24.511sec
seven Lando Norris McLaren 1min 24.769sec
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1min 24.830sec
9 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1min 24.961sec
ten Daniel Ricardo McLaren 1min 25.045sec
Q2 times
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1min 25.096sec
12 Yuki Tsunoda Alpha Tauri 1min 25.219sec
13 Mick Schumacher Haas 1min 25.225sec
14 Spear Stroll Aston Martin 1min 25.359sec
15 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1min 25.408sec
Q1 times
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1min 25.834sec
17 Pierre Gasly Alpha Tauri 1min 25.859sec
18 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1min 25.892sec
19 Alex Albon williams 1min 26.028sec
20 Nicholas Latifi williams 1min 26.054sec

Comments are closed.