Abu Dhabi GP: Verstappen takes final pole of 2023 at Yas Marina

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Max Verstappen romped to his 12th pole position of the season in qualifying at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion overcame a difficult practice to lead Q1, Q2 and Q3 at Yas Marina in a performance befitting his 2023 dominance.

Charles Leclerc gave Ferrari the edge over Mercedes in their battle for P2 in the Constructors' Championship with second on the grid.

While Oscar Piastri completed the top three as McLaren again showed pace but couldn't quite deliver the goods to beat Verstappen.


After his troubles in practice, Verstappen immediately went fastest in Q1 for Red Bull.

The Mercedes' and Aston Martins found themselves at risk starting the final runs, while several drivers also had their initial times deleted for exceeding track limits.

Logan Sargeant had both his flying laps deleted for track limits at Turn 1, leaving the American at the bottom of the timesheet.

Carlos Sainz's miserable weekend continued as the Spaniard was knocked out in 16th after a late flier by Sergio Perez.

Kevin Magnussen only managed 17th with the Alfa Romeos of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu 18th and 19th.

Remarkably, just 0.44s covered the top 15 and only one second covered the entire grid.


Verstappen needed just one run to lead in Q2, but was less than a two-tenths clear of Norris in second on used tyres versus Max on fresh softs.

The big story was at Mercedes, where George Russell knocked out Lewis Hamilton in 11th after his second run.

Esteban Ocon followed in 12th, ahead of Lance Stroll, Alex Albon and Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top 15.


New tyres gave Verstappen the edge again at the start of Q3, leading Norris by three-tenths albeit with used tyres on the McLaren.

Lando went quickest in the first sector on his final effort but a slide passing under the hotel section meant he wouldn't improve his time.

That meant Max's initial time of 1m23.445s was good enough to secure pole for a fourth year in a row at Yas Marina.

Charles Leclerc snatched a front-row start for Ferrari in second as Oscar Piastri claimed the honours at McLaren in third.

A late lap put Russell into fourth, with Norris slipping to fifth and Yuki Tsunoda a strong sixth for AlphaTauri.

Fernando Alonso was seventh and Nico Hulkenberg eighth for Haas. Perez slipped to ninth after his last lap was deleted for track limits and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10 in the Alpine.