Valtteri Bottas beat Lewis Hamilton to pole position at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, whilst the Ferrari’s were unable to put a challenge on the Mercedes cars as Sebastian Vettel’s run of consecutive front rows came to an end.
Bottas’ pole time was a 1m36.231s, which was 0.174s faster than Hamilton’s best effort after getting his second lap wrong, whilst the Ferrari’s were over half a second adrift.
Story of the session
As the light went green, Gasly was first to take to circuit – and there was a stampede of midfield teams to take onto circuit.
Ericsson was first to set a lap 1.40.692, but was quickly pipped by Kevin Magnussen by over a second, until the top runners took to circuit – which saw Hamilton head Bottas by 0.231s.
However, the track quickly improved – as Bottas knocked Hamilton off top spot, whilst the Ferrari’s couldn’t get near the two Mercedes Formula 1 cars. Bottas’ pace setting lap was a 1.37.356 – which was the fastest lap around Yas Marina.
Raikkonen seemed to have the edge over his team-mate, as the Finn went just 0.097s off his countryman’s lap.
The Red Bull’s struggled during the first session – they trailed the leaders by some 0.6s, whilst Verstappen’s struggles continued.
As Q1 came to an end, Grosjean, Gasly, Wehrlein, Ericsson and Hartley faced elimination after a last-gasp lap by Lance Stroll.
As the light went green for Q2, Bottas was first to head back onto track after heading the time-sheets in Q1, with his team-mate closely followed.
As the two Mercedes team-mates completed their first laps, Hamilton headed Bottas by 0.235s, whilst Ferrari’s played second fiddle to the two Silver Arrows – with Vettel third and Raikkonen fourth.
As Q2 came to an end, the headline was that Massa knocked Alonso to make Q3, as Alonso, Sainz, Vandoorne, Magnussen and Sainz all faced elimination.
As the light went green for the pole shootout, Raikkonen was first to head out onto circuit, closely followed by Hulkneberg and Bottas.
After the first runs, the headline was Valtteri Bottas – as he pipped Lewis Hamilton to the top spot for pole, whilst Verstappen managed to pip his team-mate by the slightest of margins.