Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying: Max Verstappen beats Sergio Perez to final F1 2022 pole as Mercedes fall back

Last Updated: 19/11/22 3:14pm

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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.

In a two-by-two top six, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell could only manage fifth and sixth for Mercedes.

More to follow…

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