Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying - Verstappen snatches his first podium for 2020

The Track

Formula One signs off with the traditional Abu Dhabi GP this year. This track is surely not new to the teams and fans. It consists of 21 corners with two DRS zones creating great opportunities for drivers to overtake. While the medium tyres can prove to be ideal in the long run, the qualifying session proved that the soft are ideal for more speed and also grip.

How are they lined-up on the grid?

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
  3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  4. Lando Norris (McLaren)
  5. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
  6. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
  7. Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri)
  8. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
  9. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
  10. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)
  11. Esteban Ocon (Renault)
  12. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
  13. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
  14. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
  15. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
  16. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
  17. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
  18. George Russell (Williams)
  19. Pietro Fittipaldi (Haas)
  20. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

What went on during the session?

Max Verstappen starts first on the grid tomorrow. He almost crashed with Nicholas Latifi in Q1 as they were coming out the pit lane. On his radio, he complained about the traffic that he found on his way out of the pit lane. He later on recorded a poor lap as his hand got stuck in the cockpit and so finished the session fourth. For Q2, he started off with medium tyres but he told his engineer on the radio that they "completely dropped off at the end." He changed to the soft compound once again and finished the session in third to make it to the next session. During Q3, he set a last flying lap which saw him go quicker than both Mercedes with a time of 1.35.246. 

Meanwhile, his teammate at Red Bull, Alex Albon will start in fifth place. He managed to make it to Q3 after having his time deleted in the second session due to track limits at turn 21.

Albon was not the only one who had his time deleted. Lewis Hamilton struggled to record a good time during Q1 as he exceeded the limit and went off the curb at turn 20. Antonio Giovinazzi had his last lap time deleted and so finished off Q2 in 14th. In the process he out qualified his teammate at Alfa Romeo, Kimi Raikkonen, and managed to just get out of the elimination zone.

Tomorrow will be the last race for Sebastian Vettel in red. The German is set to join Aston Martin Racing next season after Ferrari announced that he will be leaving at the end of the season earlier this year. Vettel could not manage to get to Q3 and will start his last race from 13th. Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc managed to record a great time at the last sector during Q2 and got a Ferrari in the top ten of the grid for tomorrow.

McLaren had great pace during the qualifying session this afternoon. Lando Norris managed to finished fifth in Q1 and fourth in Q2. For his last session he used soft compound tyres which were two laps old and managed to get him a great position on the grid for tomorrow. He will be racing for the last time besides his teammate Carlos Sainz who will be joining Ferrari next season.

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Next year, Renault's Daniel Ricciardo will be in one of the McLaren's. Renault did not have the best of sessions this afternoon as both cars had been eliminated in Q2. Ricciardo had his time deleted due to track limits at turn 21 and later on only managed to get a good enough time to finish in 12th. His teammate, Esteban Ocon will start in 11th but told his team on the radio everything can change tomorrow and the can finish the race in a good place.

 

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From a first place podium last Sunday, to 15th place on the grid for Racing Point's Sergio Perez. The Mexican took his time to go out during Q2 and as he went out with soft tyres, his team notified him that track cooled by one degree. He had no time to gather enough heat in his tyres and so did not even get a lap in during the session. But it will be of no surprise if he manages to go up the places just like he did last Sunday.

Meanwhile from second place on the grid last Sunday to starting of from 16th for George Russell. This weekend the Brit will be wearing Williams' racing suit as Hamilton has recovered from COVID-19. He did not manage to qualify for Q2 after he said that he could not get a good grip of the car. He said that it was quite a complicated weekend for the team. His teammate, Nicholas Latifi spun at the end of his last lap in Sector 1.

Pietro Fittipaldi makes another appearance for Haas this weekend as Romain Grosjean did not fully recover from his injuries suffered during the Bahrain GP. He told his team on radio that the car felt slow and he will be starting off from 19th.

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