Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2021

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix grid

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen leads the provisional grid for the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Row 11. Max Verstappen 1’22.109
Red Bull
2. Lewis Hamilton 1’22.480
Row 23. Lando Norris 1’22.931
4. Sergio Perez 1’22.947
Red Bull
Row 35. Carlos Sainz Jnr 1’22.992
6. Valtteri Bottas 1’23.036
Row 47. Charles Leclerc 1’23.122
8. Yuki Tsunoda 1’23.220
Row 59. Esteban Ocon 1’23.389
10. Daniel Ricciardo 1’23.409
Row 611. Fernando Alonso 1’23.460
12. Pierre Gasly 1’24.043
Row 713. Lance Stroll 1’24.066
Aston Martin
14. Antonio Giovinazzi 1’24.251
Alfa Romeo
Row 815. Sebastian Vettel 1’24.305
Aston Martin
16. Nicholas Latifi 1’24.338
Row 917. George Russell 1’24.423
18. Kimi Raikkonen 1’24.779
Alfa Romeo
Row 1019. Mick Schumacher 1’24.906
20. Nikita Mazepin 1’25.685

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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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65 comments on “2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix grid”

  1. Didn’t Lewis blew it ? Thought they had the faster car

    1. That’s a myth people say. It’s been clear all weekend RedBull had the pace to dominate. People get tricked by history and RedBull constantly calling themselves underdogs.

    2. RB have the best package, VER fans just too afraid to admit it. Tomorrow we race, the soft looks terrible.

    3. Bottas blew it! No help from the best ever team mate this time!

    4. For the record am neither a max or Lewis fan… However quite enjoying the desperation of Lewis brigade … It looked until q2 that merc had the pace advantage …

      1. And we are so sad you think this. Pleeeeeeeaase praise us.

  2. Max’s tyre situation is disadvantageous, so how this will play out is interesting.

    1. I disagree, they’ve locked in early to the speed of a 2 stop. He’ll pull 20 seconds in the first stint alone and Mercedes will be left in no man’s land deciding between a 1 or 2 stop.

      1. Not a chance, FP sessions show that RB lose literally tenths every lap on the soft. Even VER’s second effort was extremely poor (without a tow).

        1. Lol.
          Losing hurts.

          1. Nothing lost, they were the facts – his second lap was well down on the quickest, he was sliding around. He has to keep Lewis, on the medium, behind tomorrow. FACTS.

          2. Swifty… have you not learned about Erik yet? DONT engage! Leave him to ramble to himself. He doesn’t need correcting on anything he says… just let his comments hang there like the bad smell they are.

      2. If it’s only 20s and they are back to mediums then it’s a wash, right? They may need at least 1s per lap on stint one to get the benefit of two stops. Horner said they were 50/50 on the soft before the lock up so I think he sees about 20s in it over the race.

        1. A person somewhere
          11th December 2021, 14:32

          It’d be a used set of mediums that they didn’t want to run on in Q2 though – after the flat spot Verstappen didn’t have any unused mediums remaining according to the commentators (does anyone know if the tyre sets used / available / number of laps each used for is published anywhere online?). So that might not be ideal strategically.

      3. wow what are you guys smoking? 20s gap on the soft to lewis? at that kind of pace, tyres will blow up after 6-7 laps. also he has to get away amazingly well like a rocket ship, and stay well ahead in tow zones… not lock up, slide, run wide etc to keep his tyres in the windows while on full fuel load… being realistic is better, lets hope for a good clean race. max is incredible talent but keeps doing all the questionable drivings to get people hate him easily…

    2. They are on the wrong tire ostensibly but the race pace on that tire looked good yesterday. This is going to be very competitive.

      1. It is, you are right. This will very tight. I cant call it.

  3. Fantastic lap. Surprised Mercedes didn’t try a slipstream though

    1. i wondered why, but maybe thinking of tow? because soft and max gets the tow, he will always dive the inside… as lewis pointed (dig at max) saying at least i can see him in front of me and navigate around safely

      two tow sections, it will be max’s race to loose as he ll need to keep way ahead of ham otherwise he will be in trouble with the tyres

      1. I read his “dig” more a not having an excuse for pushing max off track again.

        1. @erikje
          you never stop amazing people with your comments

          1. He is very entertaining actually. Wish people would just not engage with his silly comments (which make up 100% this comments)

  4. Provisional until half the grid gets penalised for blocking Vettel’s Q2 flying lap, Perez gets penalised for delaying Norris and Ricciardo gets penalised for delaying Alonso…

  5. Mercedes got lazy and forgot about organizing a tow. With those two straights that had to be at least .3s.

    1. I think they elected not to do a tow – I’m sure they have a plan. If they get past VER tomorrow on the straight, VER will be cursing his soft tires and strategy!

      1. I suspect Verstappen will be first unless he completely bottles the start.
        I think it will be Vertappen first, then Hamilton, Verstappen drives to preserve the tyres, Hamilton right behind him, Max pits and puts the hards, Hamilton goes a bit longer, 7-8 laps, puts the hards and find himself with fresher tyres and a much faster car towards the end of the race and be able to pass for the win. At that point I am sure, Verstappen will be ready to crash rather than being overtaken, he will likely ruin the best F1 season we’ve seen and it will all end in a court of law, weeks later.

        1. Well… let’s wait for that to happen before stringing VER up.
          Nobody, except Max’s most ardent fans, likes the way he has driven for the majority of the season. However, let’s not judge him on events yet to take place.

        2. Unless…Verstappen goes two stops and comes back at Hamilton late on softs, on light fuel against Hamilton on fading hards. I kind of feel like you don’t give up track position when it’s winner take all. But it could be the idea they have now.

          Hamilton could counter by stopping first for the second time for softs. But that would be a big gamble. This is going to be a tense one to the end.

        3. @liongalahad

          I think your prediction might be true if we only consider max and Lewis racing each other. I think Perez might be a trump card here. If Perez can stay close to Lewis, they’ll pit Perez before Max, to try and undercut Lewis. If Lewis doesn’t respond, he risks losing a position to Perez when he does pit, if he responds then there won’t be much of a difference between Max and Lewis’ tyre life at the end.

    2. @dmw
      Which was enough to challenge for pole position. BTW Villeneuve and Montagny on Canal+ were saying the same thing

    3. @dmw Alternatively, as soon as they saw Max set his fastest Q2 time on soft tyres, Mercedes decided P2 was a better option than P1. Otherwise Max would be all over Hamilton on the mediums anyway, increasing the risk of a collision ‘none of us want.’ May as well let him take the lead and see whether the two stop strategy will work. Perhaps with some timely (virtual) safety cars to swap those tyres. I can’t see how a soft-hard tyre strategy works for Red Bull at all.

  6. Very interesting session and set up nicely for the race I think. Shame about the booing

  7. Looks like red bull finally got their rear wing working working when they needed it, track position and faster than Hamilton on a straight.

  8. Max Verstappen starting ahead, but Lewis Hamilton on the superior race tyre. Set up perfectly for one of the greatest title finales of all time. Just please keep it clean.

    1. With max out front on the faster tyres hell easily pull a gap on hamilton and then 2 stop his way, passing lewis on track at the end with 5 laps to go.

      1. we also saw what pressure does to max?

        1. Obviously, performing even better.

          1. You mean locking up and losing HIS tire choice? Great lap, but tomorrow isn’t ideal.

          2. locking up intentionally to stop others from overtaking him when it is obvious in a lost battle, even when unnecessary, his ego takes over for all the wrong reasons… we can hope for a good fair title fight tomorrow, and not dirty race or sc/rf to dictate an advantage to someone

  9. Good efforts from Mick and Yuki.

  10. Quite a blow to Mercedes. Tomorrow, Bottas will likely get separated quickly from the first two (or three?) leading drivers and be of little assistance to Hamilton.

    Lets see what pace have the cars tomorrow and what difference will the two tyres make in the first stint.

  11. Fantastic.

  12. One thing is certain, Max will absolutely slam the door shut on the first corner.

    1. what if he doesnt get off the line well and what if he hesitates due to all the warnings and tarnished image due to his past races.

      also what rosberg saying: max admited he didnt wanna be on soft tyre, also ham behind him hunting him down (as rosberg knows all too well what it feels like)

      lets wait and see a great battle but not a dirty battle…

      1. I would slam the door shut anyway, and knowing Max he will do it also, no matter who is behind him, no matter warnings.

  13. Not sure it was a huge surprise to see Red Bull have incredible pace, that was their 10th pole position of the year! It sets up a great race tomorrow, where you’d expect Mercedes to have great race pace. The tow down the straight could well result in a T6 crash but lets wait and see. Lando being 3rd keeps the 2nd drivers out of play at the start. It’s going to be fun tomorrow!

    1. +1

      They clearly have the fastest package, but the race is tomorrow.

  14. Great lap from Max but I think that’s a good place for Lewis to be anyway. Even if he were to start first and have a good first 100 meters it would still be too risky to go into t1. We’ve seen countless times Max going in too hot hoping to either get ahead or crash into Lewis. At least this way Lewis can hopefully overtake by running longer or with DRS. Mercedes lately have great race pace.

  15. Oh man, with the difference in tyre strategies it’s all to play for tomorrow.

    Now that RBR is clearly faster I wonder what does poor Horner now has to whine about. And we don’t have to bear the Merc’s rocket ship engine crap anymore.

    1. @rockgod
      The RBR struggled all weekend to match Mercedes pace and Hamilton didn’t have a clean lap either, he made a mistake in his first Q3 lap which compromised his second attempt.

      1. @tifoso1989 He actually improved by about 2 tenths in his second attempt with a clean lap and in the interview he said that he couldn’t go any faster.

  16. All set up for another classic Hamilton DRS overtake tomorrow.

    1. And Verstappen’s dive bomb the next corner.

      1. Yeah I feel like there will be no passes for the lead with both cars on track or in one piece. Norris wins race and verstappen wins title seems like a likely headline.

      2. As the FIA stated that will come with a points penalty unlike say Silverstone where Lucky Lewis got just a10 second stop go penalty. Can’t be upsetting the cash cow and jingoistic fans can we?

        1. The irony of the continuous moaning about silverstone is that Hamilton has spared verstappens blushes several times by jumping out of the way of his reckless moves. (Also recall that verstappen was not found blameless in Britain.) Except the time verstappen landed on his roll hoop. Where verstappen got a penalty that was, based on the outcome, “just” a grid drop.

          1. @dmw the continuous moaning comes from the fact Verstappen was cheated out of anywhere between 36-50 points this season by Mercedes. How Hamilton fans continue to justify this and even try to take the moral high ground shows what a deluded and hypocritical fan base they are.

  17. Just a question, is there a potential advantage that Ham is second and can survive the begin of the race? Later on if got the speed can fight back? I am naive just asking and being brainwashed thar Ver is looking for a crash.

  18. Interesting and very surprising qualifying. I think the second drivers will play a huge role tomorrow. With Perez on 4th place and with softer tires means he has a real chance to get ahead of Hamilton and keep him there for a long time (we all know how good he is on managing tires), while Max pulls a lead. And also lets not forget that Perez has nothing to lose so he might be extra aggressive on that first corner. P6 for Bottas is a huge surprise. I am almost thinking its his version of FU to Merc and saying “ok I helped enough for the constructor title” you are on your own now.

  19. Finally Bottas will leave a team he doesn’t deserve. Can’t wait to see an actually fast driver alongside Lewis. Imagine if Mercedes had Russel in the car in these final races rather than this cooked finn

  20. Yesterday’s longruns.

    Max Verstappen 1:28.463 Soft
    Lewis Hamilton 1:29.102 Medium
    Sergio Perez 1:29.122 Medium
    Valtteri Bottas 1:29.286 Medium

    I think RB is in a two stopper. Could be wrong though

    1. I think so too. My guess is that Red Bull already planned for an aggressive race on softer tyres since they were running them on high fuel on Friday. They want as many Verstappen-Hamilton ‘moments’ as possible since Verstappen has much less to lose, as we know.

  21. Impressive strategy by RB, well played.
    I still feel that Mercedes as the upper hand in race pace, and will eventually pass.

  22. I wonder if Mercedes were just behaving cause of wonder of engine’s reliability.
    In order to be able to put it to the max tomorow
    (It means, they throw the enging on Max. Splurf. Like a red turtle, and then, Max out)

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