Verstappen stuns Mercedes by seizing pole for season finale

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying

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Max Verstappen, Red Bull and Honda broke Mercedes’ six-year dominance of pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by just two hundredths of a second.

Valtteri Bottas was poised to deny Lewis Hamilton pole on his return by less than a tenth of a second. But Verstappen pulled off a remarkable final lap to deny Mercedes another sweep of the front row.

Q1

To begin with the Mercedes pair took up their usual places at the top of the times in Q1, Bottas ahead of Hamilton. But the latter’s lap time was deleted – he’s run wide at turn 20 and hit the kerb hard, his car bouncing into the air, and was judged to have exceeded track limits. He managed another lap but that left him eighth, nearly a second off his team mate.

The Red Bull pair were next, Alexander Albon four-tenths of a second off, and Max Verstappen unusually seven-tenths of a second slower than his team mate. Before starting his lap, Verstappen complained he’d damaged his tyres when Nicholas Latifi came out of the pit ahead of him. “I already have a flat spot because of the Williams guy sending the car out,” said Verstappen. “Unbelievable. What an idiot.” The stewards announced they would investigate the near-miss and summoned Williams over an alleged unsafe release.

Sergio Perez edged Albon out of second place and a series of other drivers relegated Verstappen further down the order. Not wishing to waste a new set of softs, he stuck with the same tyres for a further run, and produced a time good enough for second place.

George Russell, Williams, Yas Marina, 2020
Russell went from front row last weekend to Q1 exit
George Russell had hopes of getting his Williams into Q2 again following a strong run in final practice. But he was only 18th ahead of the final runs, reporting his tyres were too hot, and requesting a rear wing settings change. He was held up before his final run when he was called to stop at the weigh bridge. Williams had him out in time to begin a last lap, but he missed the cut for Q2 by over half a second.

Having had his first lap time deleted, Antonio Giovinazzi pulled out a rapid final effort to grab a place in Q2, beat his team mate and secure a narrow win in the qualifying battle at Alfa Romeo. Raikkonen was almost half a second off his team mate in 16th, while the Haas and Williams drivers also went no further. Nicholas Latifi, who ended the session last, spun as he prepared to begin his final run.

Charles Leclerc moved up to third with his final run, relegating Verstappen to fourth, the Red Bull driver being compromised when his right hand got stuck in the side of his cockpit. Hamilton did a final run to put his progression to Q2 beyond doubt, and ended Q1 on top.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’37.555
17Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’37.863
18George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’38.045
19Pietro FittipaldiHaas-Ferrari1’38.173
20Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’38.443

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Q2

Mercedes and Renault put both their drivers on medium times at the start of Q2, hoping to reach the final stage of qualifying on them and bank a strategic advantage. Other teams split the decision between their drivers: As usual Verstappen was the only Red Bull driver on the harder tyre while at McLaren only Carlos Sainz Jnr, who had been unimpressed by the performance of the soft tyres yesterday, took the mediums.

Bottas edged Hamilton on their first runs, while Sainz was almost a second off the pace-setter. Lando Norris, on his softs, was half a second quicker. Albon initially split the pair on his soft tyre run, but the time was deleted for exceeding track limits. Surprisingly, Verstappen’s medium tyre time was no quicker than Sainz’s, putting him fifth.

Daniel Ricciardo also lost his medium tyre run to a track limits violation. With Sergio Perez, who will start at the back having exceeded his power unit allocation, not doing a lap, only a dozen cars set times initially. Racing Point briefly sent the Sakhir GP winner out to assess the track conditions and supply information for Lance Stroll’s next run. Esteban Ocon and Giovinazzi were the only drivers outside the top 10 initially.

Verstappen, who complained about a loss of tyre performance at the end of his lap, tried another run but stayed fifth, and was also called to the weigh bridge when he pitted. Back in the pits he immediately asked if there was another set of mediums available for another run, and told there was, had them fitted for his final run.

Leclerc also opted for mediums for his final run, and both he and Verstappen grabbed places in the final 10. In his final qualifying session for Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel failed to join his team mate in Q3, despite running soft tyres. “I gave it everything I had,” he said. “Copy-paste from Q1. No better, no worse.” Albon did manage to match Verstappen’s team to within a tenth of a second, though like Vettel he was on softer tyres than his team mate.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Esteban OconRenault1’36.359
12Daniel RicciardoRenault1’36.406
13Sebastian VettelFerrari1’36.631
14Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’38.248
15Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes

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Q3

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2020
A superb final sector secured Verstappen’s first pole of 2020
The first runs were close between not just three but, unusually. four drivers. Bottas was quickest, but Verstappen split the Mercedes, and Albon was just 15 hundredths off the pace setter.

In the final runs, Hamilton hit back with a 1’35.332 to go fastest. But Bottas – buoyed by a pre-run encouragement from team principal Toto Wolff to give “all you have, Valtteri” – edged his team mate off pole position, pipping him by six hundredths of a second.

But Verstappen, who for much of the season has followed the Mercedes pair to third place in qualifying – so much so he has lately joked he would keep the third place chair he’s repeatedly sat in on Saturday afternoon – had something left in reserve. Dead even with Bottas after the second sector, he dodged through the twisty final sector 25 thousandths of a second quicker than the Mercedes, and that made the difference for pole.

“Bad luck,” Bottas’s engineer told him. “P2, Verstappen P1.” “Oh damn,” responded the driver.

Albon couldn’t match his team mate’s improvement and lost out to Norris on his final run. Sainz put his McLaren sixth, losing the qualifying battle with his team mate, and was unhappy with his last effort. “Sorry for that I fucked up the chicane in turn eight, nine,” he told his team.

Daniil Kvyat continued his late-season upswing in form by taking seventh ahead of Stroll. “Good lap!” he enthused, “I enjoy this so much.” Leclerc took ninth, which will become 12th – still ahead of his team mate – after his three-place grid penalty from the last race.

Top ten in Q3

1Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’35.246
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’35.271
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’35.332
4Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’35.497
5Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’35.571
6Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’35.815
7Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri-Honda1’35.963
8Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’36.046
9Charles LeclercFerrari1’36.065
10Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’36.242

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2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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101 comments on “Verstappen stuns Mercedes by seizing pole for season finale”

  1. Lewis beaten by Bottas AND by Verstappen… definitely not good for his already shaken reputation.
    I can definitely see Kallenius making some phone calls to see if he can save a few millions for next year. Just saying.

    1. @liko41

      definitely not good for his already shaken reputation

      What shaken reputation? Can you explain how Russell’s performances last weekend, considering he was beaten by a “mediocre” driver by Bottas in qualy who could be beaten by “any average” driver, invalidates Hamilton’s achievements? We can start by how Russell’s perfomance in any way discredits Hamilton being more than a match for Alonso.

      Lets be honest, people like you- despite what Hamilton does- will never accept how good he is. Not that it matters of course.

      1. @blazzz
        Well, if you can’t understand the difference between a driver who drives his own car all year long and another one who got called two days in advance, that’s your problem I guess.
        As if racing point could have expected hulkenberg to perform like Perez…

        1. Okay. Since we’re on the line of making excuses…
          If you can’t understand that Hamilton’s preparations were hampered by contracting a killer virus and still got within a whisker of pole, that’s your own problem I guess?

          Still can’t address how one weekend is a large enough sample to discredit 13+ years I see? That’s also your own problem.

          1. @blazzz In comparing Hamilton’s relative performance to Bottas compared to Russell here, the argument is unbelievably that consideration must be given to Hamilton for having been sick, but none to Russell for having to deal with a new car in a new team on short notice.

            Not considering that their relative disadvantage wouldn’t at a very minimum outweigh each other, even if the reality is obviously that Russel’s is by far the greater, again just speaks of the dishonesty of the argumentation that pervades any discussion when it comes to Hamilton.

          2. @balue

            By that logic, we also need to take into account a short, 54s circuit, with not that many corners and the fact that Russell was in fact a Merc test driver before? Or, is it a case of one rule for Hamilton (judged harshly) and Russell gets less slack (unfamiliar car)?

          3. @blazzz
            If he was out of form, he should have left that seat to Russell again.
            What was he afraid of?
            Oh, yeah…

      2. @blazzz – What shaken reputation?

        So you already knew Lewis was wildly overrated? And that Bottas is mediocre?

        Lewis’ reputation rests solely on his performance against Bottas (given he’s not partnered a single other driver on the grid). We saw with no doubt last week that Bottas is (how can I put this nicely?) struggling. So when you have no competition outside the team and no competition inside the team (and for extra points a team and ‘sport’ that actively wants the record book rewritten, because a sport with a level playing field is just too hard) you start to see Hamilton’s achievements for what they are: predetermined, inevitable and meaningless.

        To question how his reputation was shaken last week with a straight face just reveals your bias. Lewis fans can ‘lalala not listening’ their way past last week, but those that are paying attention got to see truly how overrated Lewis is.

        1. @asherway

          Lewis’ reputation rests solely on his performance against Bottas (given he’s not partnered a single other driver on the grid).

          Another casual spotted. Solely on Bottas? Alonso? Rosberg? Button? Then, Lewis also went to war with Vettel in 2018?

          So when you have no competition outside the team and no competition inside the team (and for extra points a team and ‘sport’ that actively wants the record book rewritten, because a sport with a level playing field is just too hard) you start to see Hamilton’s achievements for what they are: predetermined, inevitable and meaningless.

          So just to be clear- by your logic, being beaten by Bottas (as Russell was last weekend) somehow means he’s better than Lewis?

          Also, what do you think about Paddy Lowe’s informed opinion on Hamilton’s abilities? Care to tell us hoiw you’re more informed? How long have you been watching F1?

          I’ll tell you what’s meaningless. A keyboard warrior who thinks putting as many asterisks to Hamilton’s achievements means anything.

        2. How do you rate Schumi? Never had any decent teammates and they were all contracted to move over for him. Hamilton has had a three world champions as teammates and seen them all off.

      3. People like you will not see the facts no matter how clear they are.

    2. Indeed. Hamilton, finally exposed, must report to the factory and receive his broom and dustpan immediately, right?

      1. @dmw probably just a substantial salary cut.

        1. @liko41

          Toto should be sacked, and be replaced by you. Have your hollow CV at the ready?

          1. @blazzz
            Toto is really doing his own business here and is negotiating his own contract with Merc.
            This is why I wrote that it’s Kallenius who should act to lower Hamilton’s paycheck.
            Ola has absolutely all the aces up his sleeve.

    3. Man, the race ain’t over. Hang on to your horses. Mercs looked good on medium tyres.

    4. @liko41 One of the stupid*st comments seen here for some time. He’s just recovered from a virus that has killed millions this year. My disdain for you is immense.

      1. @david-br
        Only because you don’t read you own comments. Sorry (not sorry) for hurting your feelings, groupie.

        1. @liko41
          When one can’t articulate an intelligent counter argument, petulant insults are the go to

          1. @blazzz
            How do you know, when you have never articulated an intelligent argument yourself?

      2. Perez algo got covid and i didnt hear all this excuses

        1. Because everyone responds the same? Have you actually paid any attention this year? Or is that maybe beyond your capacities?

      3. Not millions, only 1.5 million. Of which almost all of them were above the age of 70. None of them were fit and young guys who do sport for a living.

        If Lewis weren’t fit to drive, he should have let Russell do the job. When you’re in the car you’re expected to perform. No excuses.

        1. @spafrancorchamps

          When you’re in the car you’re expected to perform. No excuses.

          Does that also to apply to Russell last weekend then? No excuses about being “unfamiliar with the car” as well for eg?

        2. @spafrancorchamps A 10th down on Bottas despite not being fully recovered is still performing, a lot better than any of us would manage I’m sure, just not 100%. It’s up to Mercedes if that level is sufficient for them. It’s up to Lewis if he feels he’s up to that physical and mental stress (though I think Mercedes also have a duty of care in this situation). Yes Russell could have done the job. But it’s truly risible to criticize Hamilton for being a fraction down this weekend and cite this ‘failure’ as reason to ditch a 7-time champion, and really low-level to ignore the health cost, deaths and suffering caused by Covid-19. And not everyone lives in one of the richer countries where access to healthcare (and shortly vaccines) is so simple and people can afford to be so blasé about it.

          1. @david-br
            You are missing a lot of points here.
            1) Saying that Hamilton has been beaten by Bottas and not accepting his positive covid tests as an excuse for it has NOTHING to do with other victims of this terrible disease.
            I am not lacking respect for the ones who died or lost friends. I am saying that, if Hamilton accepts to come back this weekend, covid cannot be a valid excuse for him. He he was out of form, he should have left Russell do the job.
            So, stop this utter nonsense.

            2) “A fraction” means the world in F1 and Hamilton knows perfectly. He had beaten Bottas by very slim margins plenty of times this season.
            Schumacher may not have had the strongest teammates, but he beated all of them soundly.

            3) Hamilton is a 7 time world champion and a very deserving one, but right now, with this team and this car, Russell could probably do a very similar job for one tenth of his salary.

        3. Exactly. You can’t say you’re fit to drive and then use covid as an excuse when you don’t perform.

        4. only 1.5 million

          sigh…

      4. If he is in any way still affected by the virus then he shouldn’t be racing

    5. On the other hand, Verstappen only outqualifying Hamilton when he admits to not feeling quite healthy yet after Covid-19 – how does that do anything to hurt Hamilton’s reputation @liko41?

      You also seem to ignore that Mercedes haven’t done much, if any, development on this years car for the last 4-5 months (just look at how RB have steadily been getting closer to that base line by developing their car), rather focussing on next year and the year after that already. That means it makes it harder and harder to stay ahead. Maybe Mercedes cut it close, but then, even despite that they sealed both championships already a few races ago, so it worked for them.

      1. @bascb
        LOL! Yeah, because Red Bull is comparable with Mercedes.

        1. Off course they are comparable to Mercedes. If you put their respective fastest laps on the tracks as the season developed next to each other, it gives a very clear picture.

          At the start of the season Red Bull was about half a second off. They got somewhat closer and then Mercedes seems to level out while Red Bull keeps improving and getting closer.

          Sure, the gap was there all year, but now Red bull have cought up. Will probably be at least another 3 tenths, if not more, between them by the start of the next year though.

        2. @liko41

          Are you aware that Merc stopped developing the W11 mid season? You sir, come across as a casual F1 fan.

          1. Oooh, strong words, beware the casual fan.
            What an elitist comment.

          2. @johnnik

            Well, make outlandish, unsubstantiated statements, and be rightfully branded a casual.

          3. @blazzz
            And yet they are still dominating, lol!
            You are actually making an argument to diminish the drivers’ achievements even more!

    6. Yeah I mean 7 x WDC, 90 odd wins, 90 odd poles, most successful driver in the history of F1.

      Not sure his reputation can take such a shaking really.

      Are you a comedian or just know nothing about F1?

      1. A clown is a type of comedian :)

        1. @Gav clearly you are talking about yourself here.

          1. Poor effort, Primary school level. Back to the drawing board for you.

          2. @Gav Still I got you, though.

    7. I read it and thought it was mildly funny as a troll post but then I saw this was meant as a serious sentence, which is actually funnier than if it were a joke, in a sad way.

    8. @liko41 asides from the fact that your post, and your subsequent behaviour, comes across as an extremely hyperbolic overreaction – if you’ve already decided that you want to throw criticism at Hamilton and Bottas then, given Verstappen was also only a few tenths ahead of a McLaren that has been markedly slower than Red Bull’s car for most of this season, are you also going to say that Verstappen also failed to perform in qualifying and should be fired?

      1. @anon
        Verstappen outqualified his teammate every time this season.
        EVERY-TIME. Try again.

    9. Jose Lopes da Silva
      12th December 2020, 17:53

      What’s your views on Michael Schumacher as a driver?

    10. @liko41 The last thing I am is an LH groupie and imho you’re being utterly ridiculous. You haven’t seemed to even grasp that GR was in a no pressure situation for one weekend that would have felt as much like a treat for him as a task. His performance was awesome, but it has nothing to do with him, for example, handling the pressure of a season long WDC fight, which he has yet to come close to proving. Sure LH doesn’t have a ton of pressure these days either, but then he’s been there done that in seasons past. Your attitude regarding how F1 works in reality is one I am glad I have never had, and it’s such a shame it shades F1 for you.

      1. @robbie
        No pressure?
        LOL.
        He had to replace a 7 time world champ and recordman for both wins and pole positions and he knew he would be judged by that sole race. His future was at stake.

        1. @liko41 You see that is simply not the case. Everybody knew, particularly at Mercedes, that they were throwing this relative newbie to F1 into the deep end, and him just taking on the task respectfully and with full effort, trying his best, was all that was expected of him. Drivers in that situation simply are not judged by a sole race, let alone that being for their future. Not to mention, all one had to do was pay attention to his talk and his demeanour all weekend to know he was taking this as a privilege and an honour and not like his whole career was hanging in the balance. As I said before, the issue is your attitude and your grasp of reality about how it works in F1. It is simply wrong and bizarre that you think Mercedes would, on such short notice, the car not even fitting him to where it hurt him to drive it, judge him on that one race. They would have already known of him that he would take on the task with much enthusiasm and effort and that’s all they expected of him in the circumstance.

    11. Hahahahahaha

      Shaken.

      Hahahahah

      Only to you, and no one cares what you think. Anyone who knows anything about F1 knows that Hamilton’s reputation is probably at the strongest it’s ever been.

      You’ll get over it sweetheart.

      1. @Gav
        You clearly are not living in this world, lol!
        Do you ever read newspapers?

        1. Do you ever listen to F1 insiders, you know people who actually know this stuff rather than armchair fans like yourself?

          You haven’t a clue, and several are pointing it out to you here. Stunning lack of self awareness.

          1. @gav, boy, what several Hamilton’s fans are pointing out really can’t touch me.
            Truth is Mercedes would indeed take a serious consideration about Hamilton’s contract.

  2. Mercedes will be looking at how they lost pole on a track where they were undefeated and with two drivers who are great at this track. Bottas and Hamilton should keep this exciting for tomorrow. Question is if Hamilton remains behind but appearing to be quicker, will they instruct Bottas to let Hamilton go? Bottas needs 4th to beat Verstappen to 2nd place in the championship if the latter wins the race.

    1. Probably track was not evolving as much.

      1. Bottas mentioned that they had trouble getting the softs right, that probably is what gave Verstappen the chance he took. Had been a distinct possibility for several teams (Renault too maybe) from FP3 @krichelle, @pinakghosh, but the track did indeed seem to not evolve as much after q2 too(let’s not forget, half a second off last year’s time too)

    2. We’ve seen it for several years here, that in the last part of Q3 the times sometimes don’t come. Or not for everyone @krichelle, @pinakghosh, @bosyber, depending on who and which car can still get the tyres to work. It is probably what helped McLaren make it work and worked against the Mercedes a bit. And possibly Renault in Q2 too.

      1. It appears so. When I was younger, I remember Hamilton and Button losing pole to Vettel in Q3 in 2011, but Hamilton’s Q2 time was enough for pole position. Hamilton also had this in 2014 and 2017 I think. We still have a final exciting race at least, and let’s hope that the top 3 stay in one shape after lap one.

      2. Coventry Climax
        12th December 2020, 16:49

        That shouldn’t be such a miracle. They Q around sunset, so during that, the track cools down. (And more so in a desert.) Some cars are better in hot circumstances, others in cooler. Nothing new.

      3. Well, yeah, Coventry Climax, I was pointing to this happening in the past, and yeah nature works a certain way. Duh

  3. I don’t know about “stunned Mercedes”- I had Max as favourite for pole after practice 3. But it was a stunning lap by a top quality driver which sets up the race nicely.

  4. Probably if you told Albon yesterday he would be three tenths from Verstappen he would say that would be a great session for him. But somehow he’s in fifth with verstappen on pole.

    1. 3 tenths at this track is the equivalent of 6 tenths at any other track. Zero improvement in qualifying again.

  5. Ooohh! What a race we have on our hands tomorrow. That Red Bull is a rocket on the straights. Can’t wait for Lewis, Seb and them to retire and properly welcome the new generation of racers. F1 is looking good.

    Superb Max, what a guy.

    1. Red Bull was only faster than Haas and Ferrari on the straights how are they a rocket?

  6. When Toto came on the radio to Valteri, I thought it was Darth Vader!!

    1. Toto might force choke him tomorrow if he does not beat Verstappen to 2nd place in the championship. Lol

      1. Wondering whether there’s a bonus clause (performance clause?! probably not?) in his contract @krichelle

        1. @bosyber

          We’ll never know unless Mercedes disclose contract information. Although based on his comments since last week, I think he is fully aware that Mercedes could consider a lineup change by 2022, and that he can no longer be secured of his spot at the team unlike the last 3 times. The fact that Mercedes keep on signing him for one- year must also be an alert signal to him. Since I am pretty nice and sensible towards Bottas considering the opposition he has faced for the last 4 years, it may save him for 2022, if he wants to continue driving for Mercedes, but he has been pretty disappointing lately. Maybe he feels depressed after all he has gone through with the bad “luck” during the year that appeared to have no end. I know moods can affect performance in life, and I can kind of sympthazie with that. I just hope he can end the season on a high because he is a nice guy, and although being nice does not guarantee winning methods, it feels like he could use a break. Mercedes want the overall best result for the team, that is 1-2 in the drivers championship and the top spot in the constructors title race.

  7. A shame Sainz couldn’t edge Norris in qualifying battle though he is the first F1.5 driver on the alternate strategy with that lovely Q2, with next Leclerc only 9th. This could turn into a very good result for McLaren there, with the two strategies covered, at the front and with rivals miles behind.

    Hopefully the start doesn’t turn into a carbon fest and we get to see an exciting season final.

  8. Jose Lopes da Silva
    12th December 2020, 14:27

    If he doesn’t win the race, it’s because he’s a bad driver, as he has the pace to win. And Albon it’s terrible.
    That’s the argument we’ve saw around here after the Nurburgring race. It’s very much the same logic around Hamilton and Bottas.

  9. Perez will only be 15th not last. So this one should be in the bag.

  10. Lando was the star of qualifying.

  11. This is good for the show in the race. Mercedes must split their strategies for Bottas and Hamilton, so that Max cannot win the race.

  12. That was Max, not his car!!

    1. Even though Albon ( who is dreadful) is only 0.3 off Max? Of course the car is good. Credit to Verstappen as he’s a great driver, but let’s not get carried away. The RedBull has been the second best car all season and it’s clearly been much closer to Mercedes this weekend.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        12th December 2020, 19:06

        Basically, yes. If it was a Red Bull 1-2 it would have been the car.

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva, and yet, Albon’s performance is an indication of the car being comparative strong here, as he has performed abnormally strongly compared to his usual performance across the rest of the season. With his average qualifying performance being 0.65s slower than Verstappen and 4 places behind Verstappen on the grid, you’d normally expect Albon to have been around where Kvyat is on the grid.

          1. Jose Lopes da Silva
            13th December 2020, 0:04

            Yes, I can acknowledge that by being only 0,3s ahead of Albon it was not a great day for Verstappen.
            Still.

      2. What a way to say that Max can get pole even when his car is not the best and Hamilton is in the best car.

  13. Excellent qualifying by Verstappen and Norris. Should be a good race tomorrow.

  14. Meanwhile, the people who strongly dislike Max because of Portugal are dead silent…

  15. Well deserved job. Mercedes lose the pole with the fastest machine out there and they know it. Too early to call Hamilton back? Tomorrow we will know it.

  16. I don’t think Hamilton is 100% fit. He was uncharacteristically rather erratic in the practice sessions yesterday and didn’t really impress today against the (relatively) mediocre Bottas who had to have a hurry up from the boss and Verstappen who did not have the naturally fastest car for one lap but made it so.

    Tomorrow is open season on the start and there could well be some shenanigans at turn one. If not the fun is going to be watching the McLaren and the RP cars fighting for the millions extra for the team securing third place in the championship

  17. Albon being this close on a rather long lap tells me the gap between the Red Bull and the Mercedes is signficantly smaller now than it was a few months ago.
    Still terrific lap by Verstappen.

    1. The track seemed odd today, not sure whether it was tyres or the track not taking rubber but Mclaren in terms of time were close as well so seems tough to measure how close Red Bull might be. It was a great session though! Lovely seeing teams within striking distance of the Mercs. Felt like the early 2010s

  18. Don’t underestimate the Adrian Newey design.

  19. Finally Red Bull get their car sorted, but typically way too late.
    Hamilton same Q relative to Russell was pointed.
    Norris amazing lap when it counted in the intra team battle is a good sign, and ditto not for Sainz.
    Shame Perez was not taking part (he should have just for fun). For sure his confidence would be worth a couple of tenths.
    Albon ‘just’ 3 tenths off Verstappen means Marko can finally ‘justify’ his re-signing, no matter what the race outcome

  20. This type of qualification I have missed most of this season. A couple of hundreds of a second, this time Ves was the lucky one. Good performance of all on the first rows. Now let’s race!

  21. Does Silverstone know something we don’t? Don’t they usually wait for someone to retire before they get a part of the track named after them. Silverstone International Pit Straight straight to be re-named ‘Hamilton Straight’.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      12th December 2020, 19:06

      They do that after someone retires or gets 7 world titles.

    2. It’s fitting that they named a straight after him as that Mercedes glides past all other cars in a straight line.

    3. ian dearing, the FIA has announced their latest entry list for 2021, and according to that document Hamilton will be driving for Mercedes in 2021.

      For all the speculation thrown there, the only outfit which hasn’t been able to confirm its full line up yet is Red Bull – the works team and the Alpha Tauri team are both to confirm who will have the second seat in each team.

      1. Hamilton doesn’t have a contract for 2021.

        Although I don’t think he’d do a Rosberg. Hamilton would have a farewell tour imo.

  22. Should be a good race or at least an exciting first half lap.

    1. LEC is way down the field. So less opportunity to crash in others in front… i hope..

  23. That was a bit of a strange qualifying.
    Both Mercs so close to the pack.
    Verstappen on pole despite Albon being closer to him than he has been for a very long time.
    Virtually no advantage in pace for the soft tyres.
    All teammates relatively close together except for Ferrari, where the gap was even bigger than usual.
    Laptimes quite a bit slower than last year.
    Great lap from Norris in Q3 though.

  24. Hey @keithcollantine I love these reports (I don’t often get to watch qualifying so I really enjoy the detail) – free typos though!

    I am actually quite impressed by albon being this close, but judging by results (as we surely should be) it doesn’t look great to be 5th when max is on pole. It’s interesting this final quali session is a capsule summary of the whole year, with some utterly dominated team mates looking a bit foolish (cough, vettel, cough). Race is another matter of course, but 2020 has certainly burst a few reputational bubbles.

  25. Get in the there Maxy.

    Can’t help but thinking Russell would have got pole.

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