Race Weekend Central

Max Verstappen Takes 1 More Pole for the Road in 2023

Max Verstappen ended Saturday’s (Nov. 25) final qualifying session of the 2023 F1 season in a very familiar position: first on the charts and on pole for the race in Abu Dhabi.

It’s the Dutchman’s 10th pole of the season, coming at a race in which he’s already clinched the driver and constructor championships.

Charles Leclerc came up just short of scoring the pole and will start in second. Oscar Piastri caped off his strong rookie campaign by qualifying third in the final race.

Q3

Lando Norris took a dive to try and nab the pole, but hit a kerb in the last section and lost a lot of time in the closing seconds of the session. Norris was able to finish his lap but could only qualify fifth.

Sergio Perez crossed the line for the final time in fifth, but had his last lap time deleted and will instead start ninth.

Pos.Driver #DriverTeamTime from Leader
1.1VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:23.445
2.16LeclercFerrari+0.139s
3.81PiastriMcLaren Mercedes+0.337s
4.63George RussellMercedes+0.343s
5.4NorrisMcLaren Mercedes+0.371s
6.22Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri Honda RBPT+0.523s
7.14Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes+0.639s
8.27Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari+0.663s
9.11PerezRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT+0.726s
10.10Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault+1.103s
See also
Slipstream Saturday: End of the Road for AlphaTauri

Q2

There were no wrecks or incidents in this qualifying session. Lewis Hamilton surprisingly did not make it out of Q2, with a loose car to blame, in a crucial weekend in which Mercedes and Ferrari are separated by just four points for second place in the constructors championship.

“Very loose, the car is unpredictable,” Hamilton said to F1 Media in a clip that played during the F1 TV post-qualifying show. “At every corner. In one corner, it’s one way, in another corner, it’s another way. It’s not a consistent car or balance. No setup change I can make seems to make it right. It’s a struggle just to get out of Q1.”

Pos.Car #DriverTeamTime from Advancing
11.44HamiltonMercedes+0.081s
12.31Esteban OconAlpine Renault+0.113s
13.18Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes+0.144s
14.23Alex AlbonWilliams Mercedes+0.161s
15.3Daniel RicciardoMcLaren Mercedes+0.164s

Q1

Logan Sargeant qualified as high as fourth provisionally, but violated track limits on both of his fast laps by running wide in turn 1 and thus did not set a time in the session.

Carlos Sainz followed up a bad wreck in FP2 on Friday with being knocked out in the first round of qualifying, a crushing blow for Ferrari’s hopes to pass Mercedes for second in the Constructors’ standings.

“It’s been a very tough weekend for us, not only for the crash but also because our pace hasn’t been great,” Sainz said to F1 Media after the session “The car doesn’t feel bad, the stopwatch just isn’t looking too good. And then we went out too late, got stuck in the middle of the mess with traffic and everything.

“We had a problem with the front wing, and for some reason we were one of the last ones to go out even though we were clearly under pressure. We found a lot of cars in sector one, sector two. We needed a clean lap, and we didn’t get it.”

Pos.Car #DriverTeamTime from Advancing
16.55SainzFerrari+0.138s
17.20Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari+0.164s
18.77Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari+0.188s
19.24Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari+0.559s
20.2SargeantWilliams MercedesN/A

2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Qualifying Results

And so it has come to this: the final race of the 2023 F1 season. Lights out for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will come at 8 a.m. ET, with coverage on ESPN.

About the author

Michael has watched NASCAR for 20 years and regularly covered the sport from 2013-2021. He moved on to Formula 1, IndyCar, and SRX coverage for the site, while still putting a toe in the water from time-to-time back into the NASCAR pool.

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Alex Curtis

Going to be sad to watch the last F1 race ever…if you believe the media but they are always right about world issues, right?

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