F1 2020: Verstappen snatches Abu Dhabi pole ahead of Mercedes duo

Verstappen joined Lance Stroll as the only non-Silver Arrows driver to take pole this year under the lights at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Red Bull’s Verstappen sealed his place at the front of the grid in the last race of the season right at the end of qualifying with a lap of one minute, 35.246 seconds on Saturday.

Bottas was 0.025s slower than the Dutchman, while Hamilton – returning after missing the Sakhir Grand Prix following a positive test for coronavirus – will start behind his Mercedes team-mate in third after he was 0.086s off the pace.

Verstappen, who led a Red Bull one-two ahead of Alex Albon in FP3, said: “Very happy with that. It was a tricky qualifying at the beginning to get laps in. In the last sector there are so many corners you can make a mistake. Luckily everything came together in that final lap.

“It is a long season for everyone, a lot of races in a row. It was a good final qualifying for everyone in the team. We are very happy with it. The whole year when you’re behind and getting closer is a bit frustrating but very, very pleased with today.

“It seems like we have a decent top speed this weekend. Hopefully this will work out for tomorrow.”

Lando Norris took an impressive fourth place for McLaren, with Albon fifth and Carlos Sainz sixth.

Sebastian Vettel will start his final race for Ferrari in 13th, one place behind team-mate Charles Leclerc – who qualified ninth but has a three-place grid penalty for causing a collision in Bahrain last week – in what has been a miserable season for the Scuderia.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:35.246 2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.025s 3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.086s 4. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.251s 5. Alex Albon (Red Bull) +0.325s 6. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +0.569s 7. Daniil Kvyat (AlphaTauri) +0.717s 8. Lance Stroll (Racing Point) +0.800s 9. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.819s 10. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +0.996s

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