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