Motor racing-Hamilton takes Saudi pole, Verstappen hits the wall
MOTOR-F1-SAUDI:Motor racing-Hamilton takes Saudi pole, Verstappen hits the wall(Reuters) -Lewis Hamilton boosted his bid for a record eighth Formula One title by taking pole position at the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Saturday as Red Bull rival Max Verstappen crashed at the last corner on his final qualifying lap.
The contenders are tied in the race for the World Championship while Mercedes has a slight edge over Red Bull for the constructors' title. © Provided by Sports Illustrated Verstappen: DPA/SIPA USA | Hamilton: IPA/SIPA USA
Formula One fans, we are just one race away from crowning the World Champion and Constructors' title.
Max Verstappen snagged the pole during qualifying in Abu Dhabi while Lewis Hamilton will start at second. Before Saturday, Verstappen had not been the fastest qualifier since the United States Grand Prix in October.
Mercedes took every pole and win at Abu Dhabi from 2014 until '19. Then, last season, Verstappen shocked the Formula One world when he claimed his first pole position of the season. The young Red Bull driver went on to win the race.
Hamilton dominates Saudi practice ahead of key title weekend
Lewis Hamilton clocked the fastest time in both practice sessions on Friday for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the season where he hopes to keep his pursuit of a record eighth world title on track. The Mercedes driver posted a quickest time of 1min 29.786secs in the first session on the new street circuit. He later eclipsed that with 1min 29.018secs under the lights in the curtailed second session. Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas clocked the day's second quickest time of 1min 29.079secs, just 0.61secs behind Hamilton.AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly was third quickest, ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen who went round in 1min 29.213secs.
Lando Norris finished in third for McLaren, while Red Bull's Sergio Pérez and Mercedes's Valtteri Bottas placed fourth and sixth respectively. The latter two teams are in a battle for the constructors' title, but Mercedes has the advantage with a 28-point lead in the standings. If they can score at least 17 points between Hamilton and Bottas on Sunday, Mercedes will clinch its eighth consecutive title.
The two title contenders—Verstappen and Hamilton—both faired well during practice despite the new track changes at Yas Marina. While the 24-year-old topped the first practice, the 36-year-old Brit drove the fastest lap during the second. Verstappen, though, fell to fourth during the second practice.
In the third practice, Hamilton placed first and Verstappen second, a flip of their finishing positions in qualifying.
Johnny Herbert about stages Vs. Hamilton: Chances on Crash "are high"
© Motorsport images a duel on knife cutting edge: max stages against Lewis Hamilton max stages vs. Lewis Hamilton. A duel that pulls the Formula 1 community so much in your spell, as has not been any more. Before the final 2021 in Abu Dhabi, even comparisons with the rivalry between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna are sometimes pulled. of this comparison is not about. Similar to Between Prost and Senna, it has also clarified between stages and Hamilton several times.
Verstappen held the lead for the drivers' title heading into last weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but a chaotic race filled with standing starts, multiple safety cars and a back-and-forth battle between the contenders threw the 24-year-old's title dreams for a loop. It all came to a head when Verstappen was told to let Hamilton pass with 12 laps to go, but the two collided. The Mercedes driver went on to win the race, tying the two heading into the season finale.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is slated to begin at 8 a.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 12. Because it will be 5:00 p.m. local time, the race will be lights out in no time
More Formula One Coverage:
- The Netflix Effect: How a Docuseries Helped Trigger an F1 Boom
- Hamilton or Verstappen? How World Champion, Constructors' Titles Will Be Decided in Abu Dhabi
- Max Verstappen Not Participating in Next Season of Netflix's 'Drive to Survive'
- Through the Fire and Flames
trapping over Hamilton: "This should give him comfort and drive" .
© Motorsport Images max stages hopes that Lewis Hamilton dwells despite Bitter title leaflet after the Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi, at the Lewis Hamilton the victory and Title after a controversial safety car phase to Max lost, Rücktragsübert tend to be the seven-finished formula-1 world champion. Even Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff could not dispel this.