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Max Verstappen Wins 20th Career Pole in Abu Dhabi, Final F1 Race of 2022 Is Up Next

The last F1 qualifying session for 2022 took place at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi yesterday, and we now know what the starting grid for today's race is going to look like. Some drivers managed to add some more points to their names at the end of day two, which has implications for the championship rankings. If today is going to be at least remotely as exciting as the final race of 2021, we're in for some serious fireworks.
Max Verstappen Wins 20th Career Pole in Abu Dhabi, Final F1 Race of 2022 Is Up Next 29 photos
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Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull have been on top of the free practice sessions that were held on Friday and Saturday. So it was natural to expect that the same drivers would also be the fastest ones in qualifying.

At the start of Q1, Tsunoda and Schumacher were up in P1 and P2. But it didn't take long for Charles Leclerc to get in on the action and raise the bar. Just moments later, Perez found an additional 0.391 seconds, but it was a short-lived victory, as Verstappen also registered his first quick lap of the day.

The reigning World Champion would prove to be unstoppable in Q1, with a lap time of 1:24.754. Sergio Perez was second fastest overall, and the two Red Bull Racing drivers were the only ones who managed to dip below the 1:24 mark for this session.

Both Ferraris were hot on their tails, with Carlos Sainz in P3 and Charles Leclerc in P4. Lando Norris was the fastest McLaren driver in Q1, as he was just behind Leclerc, while Daniel Ricciardo would have to settle for P14. It was somewhat surprising to see Sebastian Vettel ahead of both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, so it's not hard to understand why Toto Wolff wasn't happy with his team's performance.

Max Verstappen Wins 20th Career Pole in Abu Dhabi, Final F1 Race of 2022 Is Up Next
It felt just as shocking to see that Zhou Guanyu was the ninth fastest, while Valtteri Bottas would not make it into Q2. Last year, he was third overall in the championship, but things haven't been going as well for him in 2022.

Tsunoda finishes the first part of qualifying in P10, with Schumacher down in P11. Both of their teammates would be knocked out of the session, though, even though Magnussen had taken Pole Position just last weekend. And things were just as rough for team Williams, as neither Albon nor Latifi could even dip below the 1:26 mark.

The Silver Arrows were off to a good start in Q2, with both Hamilton and Russell up in the higher echelon. Of course, it only took a few minutes before someone went even faster, as Leclerc and Sainz managed to best their Q1 results.

But the two Scuderia Ferrari aces would ultimately get to the end of Q2 in P2 and P3, respectively. That's because Sergio Perez was looking more determined than ever, and it seems that he might have had the engine resources to get up there as well. Verstappen would be fourth fastest in Q2, with Hamilton behind him in P5.

Max Verstappen Wins 20th Career Pole in Abu Dhabi, Final F1 Race of 2022 Is Up Next
Seeing Norris in P6 is further proof that the young Britton might just have a big future in F1, given the fact that he's only 23 years old at present time. Somehow, he was even faster than George Russell, who was down in P7.

Sebastian Vettel is set on winning some more F1 points before retiring, as his fast lap was good enough to have him sitting in P8, ahead of Ocon and Ricciardo. Meanwhile, the drivers that were knocked out of qualifying were: Fernando Alonso, Yuki Tsunoda, Mick Schumacher, Lance Stroll, and Zhou Guanyu.

As always, the most exciting part of any non-Sprint F1 Saturday is represented by Q3. All the top drivers are fighting for Pole Position, and the stakes are at an all-time high. At this point, it was unlikely that either one of the Mercedes-AMG drivers would be able to top the charts.

So it was probably going to be a showdown between Red Bull Racing and Ferrari instead. There were speculations that Max Verstappen could potentially help Sergio Perez secure the top spot, but there were also those that felt that the Mexican driver would have to pull himself through it all alone.

Max Verstappen Wins 20th Career Pole in Abu Dhabi, Final F1 Race of 2022 Is Up Next
The 25-year-old Dutchman was eager to secure his 20th career Pole Position, and with a lap time of 1:23.824, no other driver could stand in his way. He is now tied with Valtteri Bottas and Damon Hill in the list of F1 Polesitters, but he still has a few more years to go before even coming close to Lewis Hamilton's performance of getting 103 Pole Positions.

With Sergio Perez starting from P2 today, chances are that we will be witnessing another crushing Red Bull victory in Abu Dhabi. Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will be starting from the second row, while Lewis Hamilton and George Russell are set to launch from the third one.

Given what transpired yesterday, Charles Leclerc is now one point behind Sergio Perez in the series rankings. At the same time, Ferrari is now 20 points ahead of Mercedes, which further complicates things for the Silver Arrows.

The race is set to start at 5 PM GMT+4, and drivers will have to complete a total of 58 laps before a winner is decided. This is the final race of 2022, so it's certainly worth following, as there won't be any live action to see for the next few months.

 
 
 
 
 

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