Returning to the place where he controversially clinched his first Formula One title Max Verstappen claimed his seventh pole this year at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. This is the twentieth of his career. This puts him six behind Finnish legend Mika Hakkinen for tenth all-time in poles won. Verstappen will be looking to win his third straight race at the Yas Marina circuit.
This week Formula One returned to three segments qualifying as opposed to the sprint race won by George Russell last week. This setup requires drivers to lay down the fastest lap times possible to establish their spot in the grid. Red Bull was able to take the top two spots. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz slipped their Ferraris into the second row. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will be in the third row for Mercedes at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
There was a lot of controversy between teammates Verstappen and Perez last week. Verstappen made clear even with his title locked up that Red Bull will not ask him to move aside for his teammate. But less than a week later they teamed up to keep Ferrari out of the front row in Abu Dhabi. This could be huge for Red Bull’s chances to finish the season first and second in the driver’s championship standings. Red Bull has never finished first and second in the same season and Verstappen now seems willing to achieve this goal.
Abu Dhabi will be four-time champion Sebastian Vettel’s last race of his career. The German will be retiring from Formula One after sixteen years. Vettel has driven for four teams BMW Sauber, Red Bull, and Ferrari, He is finishing his career with Aston Martin. He has set many Formula One records during his career. He is the youngest driver to ever claim a pole at twenty-one years seventy-two days. Also, during his 2011 championship season, he set the record for most poles in a year at fifteen. He is also second all-time in most wins in a season with thirteen. Vettel has not done much since his championships but he will go down as one of the greatest drivers of all time.
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