Pole position for Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi, Leclerc and Piastri behind

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Photo credits: Red Bull Content Pool

Only a few hours ago Red Bull was coming in and out the garage during FP3 to try and fix the set-up of his RB19, that seemed to struggle down the asphalt of the Yas Marina International Circuit.

Now Max Verstappen is celebrating yet another pole position, the 12th this season for the 2023 World Champion.

As we head into a season finale that will decide the second place on the Constructor’s Championship – only four points are between Mercedes and Ferrari – let’s take a look at how things went down for this qualifying in Abu Dhabi.


A slow start as the first cars begin to come out of the pit-lane only after a whole four minutes.

Everyone – but George Russell – is now on track and the first flying lap is Logan Sargeant’s: 1m24.722s on the clock for the American, a time that is quickly deleted for exceeding track limits.

Something quite common in this first attempts it seems, as Hulkenberg, Zhou, Magnussen and Gasly also have their lap times deleted for the very same reason.

Meanwhile, it’s Verstappen’s first effort that tops the timesheet, 1m24.722s that puts him ahead of Lando Norris’ McLaren and Charles Lecler’s Ferrari.

Not much traffic and Williams makes the most of it sending out Sargeant for another try that is worth the fourth position.

Times improving and improving each time a driver crosses the ending line, with Yuki Tsunoda making a brief appearance in P2 and Sargeant having his time deleted for track limits yet again.

But the most dramatic end to this first bit of qualifying is for Ferrari: Carlos Sainz stands in P18 with only one last shot to enter the top fifteen – caught up in the last minute traffic – he closes the lap with a time that is only good for P15.

Sergio Perez’s last effort, however, takes him up to P2, pushing Sainz down in P16 and putting an end to his chances of progressing onto Q2.

To make it just on time are the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, while a lock up at Turn 6 costs Zhou the qualification.

At the top is a Red Bull one-two with Max Verstappen leading the way and Yuki Tsunoda completing the top three.

Out in Q1: Sainz, Magnussen, Bottas, Zhou and Sargeant


This time drivers lose no time to take on the Yas Marina circuit and it’s Max Verstappen taking the top spot on his first attempt. Quite a good start from Yuki Tsunoda as well this Q2, as the Japanese begins right where he left off: P3 ahead of Charles Leclerc.

But it’s short lived, as it’s soon Perez taking his place, with Lando Norris sliding his McLaren up in P2 not that far away from Verstappen – who was 0.180s faster than the Brit.

As the last minutes approach Alex Albon gets the most out of his Williams to go fifth, while Hulkenberg is at risk after having his time deleted for going over track limits yet again.

A strong middle sector that has Verstappen sit in the garage, without going for a final attempt, while everyone else is improving to try and stay out of the drop zone.

Something Mercedes is struggling with: George Russell is P15, but he sprints up into fourth on his last lap, sending his teammate Lewis Hamilton in P11 just as the session comes to an end.

Out in Q2: Hamilton, Ocon, Stroll, Albon and Ricciardo


The top spot as cars close their first flying laps of this Q3 is Max Verstappen in 1m23.445s, followed suit by Lando Norris.

Same order as their teammates, Oscar Piastri comes out ahead of Sergio Perez, who overteers at Turn 1 and is pushed back in fifth when the W14 of George Russell closes the lap taking P4.

As everyone is on the chase for the Red Bull up in front, Lando Norris slides out on the kerb on his final run, a costly mistake that puts him behind Piastri.

While it’s Leclerc taking second place with a brilliant last attempt, 0.139s behind the pole man who is yet again Max Verstappen.

Only P9 for the other Red Bull, with Perez’s time deleted for track limits at the very last minute, just like Pierre Gasly who will be P10 on the grid for tomorrow’s race.