Verstappen beats Perez to final F1 2022 pole as Mercedes fall back


Max Verstappen on pole by 0.2s from Sergio Perez; Ferraris on second row, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell only fifth and sixth; Sebastian Vettel stars in final qualifying in ninth; Watch Abu Dhabi GP live on Sky Sports F1 at 1pm on Sunday, with build-up from 11.30am

By Matt Morlidge at Yas Marina

Last Updated: 19/11/22 3:20pm

It's a one-two for Red Bull as Max Verstappen takes pole in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Sergio Perez second

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It’s a one-two for Red Bull as Max Verstappen takes pole in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Sergio Perez second

It’s a one-two for Red Bull as Max Verstappen takes pole in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Sergio Perez second

Max Verstappen will start on pole position for the final race of a 2022 season he has dominated after beating Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez in an Abu Dhabi GP qualifying that saw Mercedes’ threat fade away.

Mercedes were not able to replicate their Brazil, or Abu Dhabi practice, pace once the floodlights came on at Yas Marina on Saturday and were usurped by Ferrari as Red Bull’s closest challengers – though the Q3 finale quickly became a head-to-head battle between Verstappen and Perez.

Perez had been faster driver through qualifying but double world champion Verstappen aced both of his laps in the final segment – both of which would have been good enough for pole, and eventually beat the Mexican by 0.2s.

Following the team orders dispute of last week, Verstappen also gave Perez, who is aiming to clinch second place in the championship, a tow to help his lap.

Charles Leclerc, locked on points with Perez in the standings, finished third for Ferrari, just four hundredths of a second off the second Red Bull, and Carlos Sainz will join him on the second row for the final race of 2022, which is live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday at 1pm with build-up from 11.30am.

Ride onboard with Max Verstappen as the Dutchman pipped his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to pole in Abu Dhabi.

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Ride onboard with Max Verstappen as the Dutchman pipped his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to pole in Abu Dhabi.

Ride onboard with Max Verstappen as the Dutchman pipped his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to pole in Abu Dhabi.

In a two-by-two top six, Lewis Hamilton – having escaped a penalty shortly before the shootout over a red-flag scare in final practice – and George Russell could only manage fifth and sixth for Mercedes.

While Lando Norris was a ‘best of the rest’ seventh for McLaren, who enjoyed a strong qualifying with Daniel Ricciardo also in the top-10, the star of the shootout was retiring four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel, dodging traffic in the final sector, stormed out of Q1 and then Q2 in his Aston Martin and finished ninth, five places higher than team-mate Lance Stroll.

Fernando Alonso was a surprise absentee from the final shootout while Kevin Magnussen followed up the first pole of his career in Brazil with a Q1 exit in Abu Dhabi, in 16th.

Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying Results
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
3) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
4) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
5) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
6) George Russell, Mercedes
7) Lando Norris, McLaren
8) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
9) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
10) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

More to follow…

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