Qualy: Hamilton claims final pole of the season

Date published: November 24 2018

Qualy: Lewis Hamilton claims final pole of the season

Lewis Hamilton will start the season finale in Abu Dhabi from pole position having edged Valtteri Bottas in Saturday evening’s qualifying.

Despite concerns, qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix began with all 20 cars able to take to the track, even Daniel Ricciardo’s RB14 which suffered a water pressure issue late in final practice.

There was great news for Fernando Alonso fans in Q1 as he put in a last-gasp effort to prolong his final qualifying session through to Q2. His team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne wasn’t as fortunate.

He dropped out along with both Williams and Toro Rosso drivers. For Pierre Gasly it was a disappointing end as his STR13 ground to a halt on his final hot lap.

Into Q2 several teams, including Mercedes, Ferrari and Force India, tried to gamble on the ultrasoft tyres.

But while it worked for Hamilton, who clocked a lap record of 1:35.693, the Ferraris found themselves a full second down on the Mercedes driver.

Heading out for a second run Max Verstappen was second on the ultras ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Alonso’s qualifying ended in Q2, the McLaren driver finishing in 15th place.

He was joined on the sidelines by Carlos Sainz, Marcus Ericsson, Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez.

Into Q3, using the hypersoft tyres, Hamilton laid down a benchmark time of 1:35.295 – a new lap record – while Vettel went second, 0.057s down.

Hamilton wasn’t done.

His second run saw him again break the lap record with a 1:34.794 to grab the final pole position of the season. Bottas went second, 0.162s down while Vettel was third, 0.331s down.

Raikkonen was fourth ahead of Ricciardo and Verstappen.

Romain Grosjean was best of the rest ahead of Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg.

Times
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.794
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.162s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.331s
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0.571s
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 0.607s
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.795s
7 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.398s
8 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1.443s
9 Esteban Ocon Force India 1.746s
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.748s
11 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:36.982
12 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:37.132
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:37.309
14 Sergio Perez Force India 1:37.541
15 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:37.743
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:37.994
17 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:38.166
18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:38.577
19 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:38.635
20 Lance Stroll Williams 1:38.682

Follow all the action from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix via our live race centre