Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Max Verstappen beats Sergio Perez to pole position

Verstappen took pole by 0.228 seconds as Perez pipped Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by 0.04secs in their fight for second in the championship. Despite that, Verstappen threw down the gauntlet with an exceptional first lap as Perez had a slide out of the final corner and was more than 0.3secs behind. Verstappen improved again on his final lap by just over 0.15secs and he gave Perez a helping hand with a tow on the main straight, which might have been enough to make the difference between a place on the front row or third. Verstappen said: “Q3 was good, before that it was all a bit up and down. “The second run was more straightforward but it wasn’t easy to find more lap time, just a bit more in the final sector. Leclerc said he expected it to be “close” with Perez in the race. The car was very quick through the slow corners in the final sector, but was struggling with its high drag on the straights and Hamilton ended up 0.684secs off the pace, with Russell just 0.03secs behind.

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