Abu Dhabi Qualifying: Hamilton hammers them

Lewis Hamilton obviously intends seeing out this season with a win and got off to the best start possible by claiming pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with teammate Valtteri Bottas second to make it a fifth successive silver front row lockout at Yas Marina Circuit.

The five times Formula 1 World Champion raised the bar with his first Q3 run which he then improved with his second effort, and with it nailed his 83rd pole position in the top flight.

Bottas’s best effort came close but not enough to dislodge his teammate from top spot and will start alongside him.

The Finn summed up, “I was aiming for pole but both of us on the front row is great for the team. Lewis was performing well and is was very difficult to beat him today.”

Hamilton summed up, “I’m so grateful for all the support we’ve had here. It’s so emotional for me because it’s the last lap I’ll do in this car. I’ve been so emotionally attached to this car.”

“I never say there is a perfect lap the first one wasn’t spectacular there was excursions and movement at the rear end the last sector was the killer and were I was able to make the difference, that’snot easy to do. Valtteri did a great job and Sebastian too,” he added.

Ferrari turned up the wick for qualy as they tend to do, but when it mattered Sebastian Vettel was third but three tenths shy of the top time with Kimi Raikkonen a further couple of tenths down in fourth.

Vettel said afterwards, “No surprise. They looked very competitive all weekend. Qualifying was a bit up and down. We tried everything and gave it everything we have.”

“It’s a long lap so there’s a lot of lap time to be found if everything works out. I was happy in our session and happy. I would have liked to get in the front row but it’s not the case. I said to the guys tomorrow we will fight as hard as we can, anything can happen,” added the Ferrari driver.

After a problem packed morning, Daniel Ricciardo was pleased to beat his teammate Max Verstappen in their final qualy duel. The Aussie was six-tenths down on the pole lap time, but a couple of tenths faster than the Dutchman in the sister car.

Haas driver Romain Grosjean found the sweetspot around the venue to claim the Best of the Rest accolade, and seventh best time while his teammate Kevin Magnussen failed to make it beyond Q2, he was 13th.

After his FP3 crash, Sauber rookie Charles Leclerc impressed once again ending the session in eighth place, half a second faster than his teammate Marcus Ericsson in Q2.

Esteban Ocon was ninth in the Force India, his final qualifying for the team, outperforming teammate Sergio Perez by three tenths. The Mexican will start from 14th.

Row five should be all yellow with Nico Hulkenberg tenth fastest for Renault, ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz in 11th.

Fernando Alonso will start his final grand prix from 15th on the grid, the McLaren driver whitewashing teammate Stoffel Vandoorne 21-0 this season in qualifying.

Report in progress…