Lewis Hamilton topped the final qualifying session of the 2019 Formula 1 season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to end his pole position drought.

Hamilton dominated qualifying under the lights at the Yas Marina Circuit on his way to claiming his first pole position since July’s German Grand Prix, ending a nine-race streak without a pole - his worst run since 2011.

The recently-crowned six-time world champion set two laps good enough for pole in Q3, with his final effort of a 1m34.779s beating Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas by 0.194s to clinch the 88th pole of his career and fifth of the 2019 campaign.

Bottas will drop to the very back of the grid for Sunday’s race, however, after taking on a fresh power unit following his failure last time out in Brazil.

As he did in final practice, Max Verstappen remained Mercedes’ nearest challenger but a mistake on his final run in Q3 denied him a shot of a second consecutive pole for Red Bull as he wound up 0.360s adrift of Hamilton.

Despite maintaining a straight-line speed advantage throughout the first sector over its rivals, Ferrari was losing as much as six tenths to Mercedes in the twisty final sector as Charles Leclerc was only fourth-quickest and 0.440s slower than Hamilton’s pole lap.

Sebastian Vettel struggled to match his younger teammate and even suffered an embarrassing spin during an outlap in Q1 before ultimately taking fifth spot on the grid, some two-tenths down on Leclerc, despite the Moneqasque running out of time to complete a final Q3 run after claiming Vettel had slowed too much ahead of him. 

Alexander Albon was sixth-fastest in the second Red Bull, with Lando Norris claiming ‘best of the rest’ spot in seventh place to win the qualifying head-to-head battle against McLaren teammate Carlos Sainz.

Renault made strides following its one-lap pace struggles on Friday to get both its cars into the top 10, with Daniel Ricciardo outpacing teammate Nico Hulkenberg as Sainz sandwiched the Renault pair in ninth. 

Sergio Perez missed out on a spot in Q3 by just two-tenths as he outpaced Pierre Gasly and Racing Point teammate Lance Stroll, with less than a tenth splitting 11th-placed Perez to Daniil Kvyat in 14th.

Despite a promising start to the weekend, the Haas pair struggled in qualifying as Kevin Magnussen could only manage the 15th-fastest time, ahead of Romain Grosjean, who was unable to progress beyond Q1.

It proved a difficult session for Alfa Romeo too, with Antonio Giovinazzi outpacing Kimi Raikkonen by nearly three-tenths to get the better of his more experienced teammate for the second time in the last three races.

The slowest times in qualifying once again belonged to the Williams duo, with rookie George Russell spearheading the British squad’s efforts.

The Briton completed his qualifying supremacy over outgoing teammate Robert Kubica with a lap time that was less than a tenth faster to ensure he has beaten the Pole in each of the 21 qualifying sessions this season.

Full qualifying results for the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

 

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