Max Verstappen on pole, Hamilton second, for title-deciding Abu Dhabi GP

For this duel in the desert Max Verstappen drew first blood with pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, relegating his title rival Lewis Hamilton to second on the grid and with work to do if he is to take the title in Sunday’s decisive showdown. If Hamilton is to take a record eighth title, he knows he will have to pass his rival. Tied on 369.5 points apiece, Verstappen has nine wins to Hamilton’s eight. Hamilton went out first and push as he did, he was down in the first and second sectors and could not make up the gap to his rival. Yet variables remain, Hamilton and Verstappen set their best times in Q2 on alternate tyre types with which they will start the race. Hamilton is on the mediums but after Verstappen flat-spotted his medium rubber potentially damaging a tyre, Red Bull opted to set another time on the softs.

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