Max Verstappen will be on pole for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, lending a helping hand to make it a Red Bull front-row lockout.
A “little problem” had meant that Verstappen was slow out of the garage in Q3, leaving Sergio Perez without what appeared to be a planned slipstream benefit.
But that plan came good on the final runs, boosting Perez to the front row, while Verstappen claimed the final pole position on offer for 2022.
Q1 threatened to wield the axe on a big name, but Sebastian Vettel pulled a mighty lap out of the bag to avoid a Q1 exit in his final qualifying appearance, going from the elimination zone to P5 at the time with that effort.
Nicholas Latifi could not say the same on his last qualifying outing, at least for the foreseeable future, as he dropped out along with Williams team-mate Alex Albon, Valtteri Bottas, Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen.
Verstappen set the pace from Red Bull team-mate Perez.
Red Bull remained on top in Q2, their drivers switching places as Perez set the pace for that session.
Failing to make the cut for Q3 were Zhou Guanyu, Lance Stroll, Mick Schumacher, Yuki Tsunoda and Fernando Alonso, in what was Alonso’s final qualifying session as an Alpine driver.
Perez went out alone for Q3, wondering where his team-mate was as Red Bull told him that a “little problem” was keeping Verstappen in the garage.
It was not a very long delay for Verstappen, but it did put him out of sync with the pack for his opening run.
He nonetheless went onto provisional pole, with Perez going only P3 behind Carlos Sainz, a big slide out of the final corner costing Perez a chunk of time.
Verstappen was there to offer the slipstream for Perez’s final run, but as Verstappen improved, P2 was the best that Perez could manage, a couple of tenths adrift as Red Bull secured a front-row lockout.
Read our full qualifying report here.
1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing1:23.824
2 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing+0.228
3 Charles LECLERC Ferrari+0.268
4 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari+0.418
5 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes+0.684
6 George RUSSELL Mercedes+0.687
7 Lando NORRIS McLaren+0.945
8 Esteban OCON Alpine+1.006
9 Sebastian VETTEL Aston Martin+1.137
10 Daniel RICCIARDO McLaren+1.221
1 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing1:24.419
2 Charles LECLERC Ferrari+0.098
3 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari+0.102
4 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing+0.203
5 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes+0.355
6 Lando NORRIS McLaren+0.484
7 George RUSSELL Mercedes+0.521
8 Sebastian VETTEL Aston Martin+0.555
9 Esteban OCON Alpine+0.588
10 Daniel RICCIARDO McLaren+0.649
11 Fernando ALONSO Alpine+0.677
12 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri+0.800
13 Mick SCHUMACHER Haas F1 Team+0.806
14 Lance STROLL Aston Martin+0.940
15 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo+0.989
1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing 1:24.754
2 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing+0.066
3 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari+0.336
4 Charles LECLERC Ferrari+0.457
5 Lando NORRIS McLaren+0.633
6 Sebastian VETTEL Aston Martin+0.769
7 George RUSSELL Mercedes+0.791
8 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes+0.840
9 Guanyu ZHOU Alfa Romeo +0.840
10 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri+0.876
11 Mick SCHUMACHER Haas F1 Team+0.957
12 Esteban OCON Alpine+0.981
13 Lance STROLL Aston Martin+0.987
14 Daniel RICCIARDO McLaren+1.012
15 Fernando ALONSO Alpine+1.028
16 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team+1.080
17 Pierre GASLY AlphaTauri+1.105
18 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo+1.138
19 Alexander ALBON Williams+1.274
20 Nicholas LATIFI Williams+1.300