The seven-time world champion was 0.214s quicker than Verstappen during the soft tyre runs ahead of a crucial qualifying session at the Yas Marina Circuit in their winner-takes-all championship showdown. 

Both championship contenders aborted laps following lock ups, with Hamilton reporting overheating rear tyres and Verstappen struggling with balance issues on his Red Bull. 

“It just doesn’t fucking Turn at Turn 6, it’s unbelievable,” Verstappen reported after a lock up on his first effort on the soft tyres. 

Red Bull also faced a reoccurence of its DRS issue in FP3, with the team seen changing Verstappen's rear-wing due to reliability concerns.  

For the second week in a row during a practice session, Hamilton unintentionally blocked Haas driver Nikita Mazepin. The incident occurred as Hamilton exited the pits, with Mazepin forced to take evasive action at Turn 3. 

Valtteri Bottas was third-fastest but ended up 0.751s adrift of his Mercedes teammate during the qualifying simulation runs. 

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez took fourth ahead of Lando Norris’s McLaren, while the AlphaTauri pair of Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly continued their strong form in Abu Dhabi to take sixth and seventh. 

Completing the top 10 order were Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo, and Charles Leclerc

Qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place at 5pm local time (1pm GMT).