F1: Lewis Hamilton on POLE in Yas Marina Abu Dhabi

By Our F1 Correspondent

Lewis Hamilton on pole for final race of the season as the Brit looks to finish off title-winning campaign in style at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi

  • Lewis Hamilton goes fastest to start Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in pole position
  • Hamilton set a new track record as he record 83rd career pole on Saturday
  • Sebastian Vettel went third fastest as Mercedes secure front-row lockout 
  • Fernando Alonso reached Q2 in final qualifying session of his F1 career

Lewis Hamilton set himself up for the perfect finale to his greatest season by taking pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

It was the Briton’s 11th pole as he chases his 11th win of the year.

With the title settled long ago, there is nothing riding on the final round of the 21-race season except pride.

Lewis Hamilton (centre) celebrates his pole position, finishing ahead of Valtteri Bottas (left) and Sebastian Vettel after qualifying at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 

Lewis Hamilton (centre) celebrates his pole position, finishing ahead of Valtteri Bottas (left) and Sebastian Vettel after qualifying at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Vettel shares a post-qualifying discussion with Hamilton after just missing out on pole

Mercedes secured their fifth straight front row lockout at the Yas Marina circuit

Hamilton celebrates his stunning pole lap in front of supporters on the start/finish straight

Hamilton celebrates his stunning pole lap in front of supporters on the start/finish straight

There was much support for Hamilton in the stands at the Yas Marina circuit

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But British fans still waved their Union Jacks with pride under the night sky of the desert track as Hamilton put himself top of the time sheets.

The 33-year-old led Mercedes’ one-two: Valtteri Bottas was 0.162sec behind, with the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen third and fourth.

‘I am quite emotional because this is the last time I will qualify in this car,’ said Hamilton, who was wearing a special golden helmet to the fifth title he won in Mexico last month.

‘I am closer to this car than any other. The first lap wasn’t spectacular but the last one I started off calm and got more and more aggressive. The final sector was the killer – where I made the difference.’

ABU DHABI GP QUALIFYING TIMES

POLE POSITION SHOOTOUT

1 Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes 1:34.794

2 Bottas (Fin) Mercedes 1:34.956

3 Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:35.125

4 Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:35.365

5 Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:35.401

6 Verstappen (Hol) Red Bull 1:35.589

7 Grosjean (Fra) Haas 1:36.192

8 Leclerc (Mon) Sauber 1:36.237

9 Ocon (Fra) Force India 1:36.540

10 Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 1:36.542

ELIMINATED FROM Q2

11 Sainz (Spa) Renault 1:36.982

12 Ericsson (Swe) Sauber 1:37.132

13 Magnussen (Den) Haas 1:37.309

14 Perez (Mex) Force India 1:37.541

15 Alonso (Spa) McLaren 1:37.743

ELIMINATED FROM Q3 

16 Hartley (Nzl) Toro Rosso 1:37.994

17 Gasly (Fra) Toro Rosso 1:38.166

18 Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren 1:38.577

19 Sirotkin (Rus) Williams 1:38.635

20 Stroll (Can) Williams 1:38.682

Hamilton set a new track record at the Yas Marina circuit to secure pole position

Hamilton set a new track record at the Yas Marina circuit to secure pole position

Vettel could only manage third fastest as Mercedes secured front-row lockout

Fernando Alonso, 37, is retiring after Sunday’s race. He qualified only 15th of 20 runners, so has no chance of adding to his 32 wins in a controversial 18-race career.

However, the Spaniard became the first driver for over a decade to out-qualify his team-mate at every race in Stoffel Vandoorne, matching the record he set in 2008 when he thrashed Nelson Piquet at Renault.

A point may just be possible in his no-hope McLaren, which is decked out in the colours of his Spanish province, Asturias.

A paddock party was thrown for him under lights last night to mark the end.

Fernando Alonso reached Q2 in his final qualifying session of his Formula One career

Fernando Alonso reached Q2 in his final qualifying session of his Formula One career

Max Verstappen kicks up sparks as the Dutchman qualified a lowly sixth for Red Bull

The sun sets as Alonso tackles the track during the final qualifying session of the season

UAE elite aerobatic flying team 'Al Fursan' flies over the Yas Marina circuit before qualifying

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