Verstappen beats Perez to Abu Dhabi pole ahead of Ferraris

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying

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Max Verstappen beat Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez to take pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, ahead of the two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr.

Verstappen secured the final pole of the season by just over two tenths of a second, while Perez secured an all-Red Bull front row. Both Ferraris locked out the second row of the grid, ahead of the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.


With the sun having already disappeared below the horizon, conditions were starting to cool when the opening phase of the final qualifying session of the season began. Teams took their time in sending their drivers out onto the track, with only the Aston Martins, AlphaTauris, Williams and Haas cars taking to the track.

Yuki Tsunoda set the early benchmark of a 1’26.135, before the front-running teams headed out for their first runs of the session. Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes all took to the track on soft tyres, and the world champions held a comfortable early advantage, Verstappen going quickest on a 1’24.754, just over half-a-tenth quicker than team mate Sergio Perez.

The two Ferraris of Carlos Sainz Jnr and Charles Leclerc were third and fourth, while the two Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton well down in in fifth and seventh, split by Lando Norris’s McLaren.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Yas Marina, 2022
Brazil sprint race pole winner Magnussen went out in Q1 this time
All 20 cars returned to the pits with five minutes remaining in the first phase of qualifying. In his final qualifying session of his career, Sebastian Vettel was at risk of being eliminated in 16th position, as was Mick Schumacher, Valtteri Bottas and the two Wiliams of Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi.

Vettel was the first driver over the line to start his final lap and despite coming across a several slow-moving cars at the end of the lap set a time quick enough to go safe in fifth. The Williams pair failed to improve and were eliminated at the back of the grid, while Bottas could not get his tyres into the right temperature window in the queue and was knocked out in 18th.

Schumacher did put in a better lap at the end of the session and moved safe in 11th, which left Haas team mate Kevin Magnussen eliminated in 16th. In his final qualifying session for AlphaTauri, Pierre Gasly was knocked out in Q1 down in 17th place.

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Q1 result

11Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’24.7545
211Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’24.8200.0666
355Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’25.0900.3364
416Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’25.2110.4575
54Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’25.3870.6336
65Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’25.5230.7699
763George RussellMercedesW131’25.5450.7916
844Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’25.5940.8406
924Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’25.5940.8406
1022Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’25.6300.8769
1147Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’25.7110.9579
1231Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’25.7350.9815
1318Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’25.7410.9879
143Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’25.7661.0126
1514Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’25.7821.0286
1620Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’25.8341.0809
1710Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’25.8591.1059
1877Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’25.8921.1386
1923Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’26.0281.2749
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams-MercedesFW441’26.0541.3009

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Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Yas Marina, 2022
Alonso was eliminated in Q2
Mercedes wasted no time in sending both Hamilton and Russell out onto the circuit the moment that the second phase of qualifying began. Both drivers enjoyed an entirely clear track in which to set their first flying laps, which they did with used soft tyres. Hamilton posted a 1’25.772, but was comfortably beaten by team mate Russell by four tenths of a second.

While Ferrari headed out on used soft tyres, Red Bull sent both Verstappen and Perez out on new rubber. Leclerc briefly went fastest on his first effort, but was immediately bested by team mate Sainz by three tenths. With their fresh tyres, the Red Bull pair then went quicker than everyone, Perez almost half a second up on his team mate as he took the top spot, despite admitting to a mistake through the long left-hander of turn nine. Verstappen said he felt a lack of grip at the rear of his car.

As the field returned to the pits, Mercedes sent their cars back out on a clear track, this time on new soft tyres. Hamilton improved to go second with his final effort, while Russell move up to fifth place with his second run.

Entering the final four minutes, the drop zone consisted of Tsunoda, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll, Schumacher and Zhou Guanyu down in 15th place. Zhou could not improve on his position and was the first car eliminated in 15th, while Stroll failed to match team mate Vettel’s time and was knocked out in 14th.

Vettel reached Q3 in his final session despite repeatedly encountering Perez’s Red Bull in the final sector. “How is that possible?” the four-times champion fumed on his radio the last time it happened. “Three times in a row I get these people? And they don’t back off. It’s a tenth in the last corner.”

Schumacher could do no better than 13th in his final qualifying session with the Haas team, while Tsunoda missed out on Q3 by two tenths of a second and was out in 12th. With Ricciardo improving to go tenth and earn a berth into Q3, Alonso was the unexpectedly eliminated in 11th place.

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Q2 result

111Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’24.41912
216Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’24.5170.09811
355Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’24.5210.10210
41Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’24.6220.20311
544Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’24.7740.35515
64Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’24.9030.48412
763George RussellMercedesW131’24.9400.52114
85Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’24.9740.55515
931Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’25.0070.58811
103Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’25.0680.64912
1114Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’25.0960.67712
1222Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’25.2190.80015
1347Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’25.2250.80615
1418Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’25.3590.94015
1524Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’25.4080.98912

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Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Yas Marina, 2022
Vettel reached Q3 in his final qualifying session
After being quicker than Verstappen in both the final practice session and in Q2, Perez appeared to have a genuine shot at fighting his world champion team mate for pole position as the final phase of qualifying began. But with Verstappen looking to secure a hat trick of poles at the Yas Marina circuit, it would be a tall order for Perez to deny his Red Bull team mate.

When the session began, Mercedes once again took to the track first, with Perez heading out expecting his team mate to join him. However, Verstappen remained in the garage, Perez being informed his team mate had been delayed with a problem.

“What happened?” Perez asked. “Yeah, Max’s car had a little problem,” race engineer Hugo Bird replied. “Still in the garage. Just getting going now. We’ll do our thing. You know your targets.”

Hamilton set the initial lap time and was only hundredths of a second quicker than his team mate. But both Mercedes were easily beaten by Leclerc, who was three tenths of a second ahead of Hamilton, before Sainz set a new provisional pole time with his first lap, beating his team mate by half a tenth.

Next it was the turn of the Red Bulls to complete their first flying laps, but Perez was not able to beat Sainz’s time and moved into second place. Verstappen was last across the line and was easily quicker than all of his rivals, taking provisional pole by almost three tenths with a 1’23.988. He skirted close to the track limits at the final corner, but the stewards were content he had remained within the confines of the circuit.

Ferrari were the first out for their second and final flying lap of the session, with the Red Bulls behind them and the two Mercedes last across the line. Leclerc improved across all three sectors but could not beat Verstappen, moving up to second place. Sainz was unable to match his team mate’s time and remained in third position.

Verstappen was next across the line and improved his own provisional pole time to a 1’23.824, with Perez failing to beat his team mate but moving up into second place. Only the Mercedes could deny Verstappen pole, but neither Hamilton nor Russell even matched the Ferraris. That clinched pole position for Verstappen, with Perez securing an all-Red Bull front row.

Leclerc leads a Ferrari second-row ahead of Sainz and both Mercedes in fifth and sixth. Lando Norris secured seventh place for McLaren, ahead of Esteban Ocon in eighth. In what could very well turn out to be their final qualifying sessions of their career, Vettel and Ricciardo rounded out the top ten with ninth and tenth on the grid, respectively.

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Q3 result

11Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’23.82417
211Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’24.0520.22818
316Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’24.0920.26817
455Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’24.2420.41816
544Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’24.5080.68421
663George RussellMercedesW131’24.5110.68720
74Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’24.7690.94517
831Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’24.8301.00617
95Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’24.9611.13718
103Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’25.0961.27212

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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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24 comments on “Verstappen beats Perez to Abu Dhabi pole ahead of Ferraris”

  1. So Mercedes are losing 6 tenths on a sector of full straights? Don’t think they have lost that much compared to Ferrari in 2019 on the straights. Have they even addressed their straightline speed this year in their updates to the car?

    1. I think so but the main problem is the total concept of the car. To fix it they need to change a lot. And I think Mercedes focused on understanding what went wrong and will adjust the car for 2023. I hope we can see a 3 team battle in 2023.

    2. For Mercedes PR seems to be more important. With RUS and HAM they have the best drivers in that respect. The fastest car is less important, next year we will see some good extra pr from the team, for sure. So bring out the popcorn and be sure to sit on the front row. Red Bull or Ferrari will fight for the championship at the meantime and wolff’s marketing machine will target the winner at the end.. I will only watch the races next year and hope Ferrari will do a better job..

    3. Mercedes will do better in the race, but indeed those 6 tenths are a bit demoralising. Also, Hamilton made a mistake in the last sector in his final run. Still beat George by a couple thousandths, making it HAM 13 – 8 RUS in the qualifying battle. On the other hand, George will finish ahead on points, unless a miracle happens and he doesn’t score, and Hamilton wins the race with extra point from fastest lap. Very unlikely. Next year will be the real battle between these two.

      1. My guy lost so it wasn’t a real battle. Next time is the real battle….unless my guy loses again…

        1. Unless you have selective memory, you know that Mercedes spent a good first chunk of the season experimenting with the car to understand it, and Hamilton took it upon himself to do that work. It’s not as if all their energies were focused on beating each other, because that was not the case. And on top of that, there were a few instances where Hamilton was ahead but strategy or circumstances around safety cars didn’t go his way. Mercedes spent the year in recovery mode. If you can’t be fair and mature, you might as well stay quiet. It’s not the first time that Hamilton finished behind s teammate on points.

          1. Yes, hamilton comes out of 2022 looking like verstappen in 2017: less points but more speed than ricciardo.

          2. . It’s not the first time that Hamilton finished behind s teammate on points.

            Of course, and not surprisingly. But pretty please, enough with the canard about developing the car (never had a clue about that) and those sorry old excuses

      2. unless a miracle happens and he doesn’t score,

        I believe you are slightly wrong, as George Russell would be behind on countback (with a tie on 1 win, GR has less 2nd finishes). If the other Merc wins, GR needs 1 point to finish ahead (10th P) and if it’s a win + flap, then 2 points (9th). Of course things being “normal” GR should finish 6th or better, and a Merc win seems unlikely anyway, so his final dominance at Merc is almost assured. Who knows, GR might even win the race. Go, George!!

  2. Will max give perez to win or be again against his own team mate

    1. He doesn’t have to as long as Perez finish in front of Leclerc he wiill be second in the WDC. Maybe Max will help by slowing down the rest of the field to help checo extend a lead.

      1. That’s definitely a thing verstappen still has to show, that he can do a malaysia 1999, however I doubt it will be needed this race and I also doubt he would if it was needed.

      2. I mean, after his behaviour in brazil he lost my trust that he will help the team mate when the need arises, so now if I’m in doubt I assume the worst, until he shows otherwise.

      3. Exactly, if Verstappen is in a position to gift wins, it means Pérez is ahead of Leclerc anyway.

  3. You’re right, Yaboy! Let’s hope for a good race!

  4. Typo: Alonso is listed 10th in the Q3 table above. Text says Riccardo.

    1. I think Ricciardo has a 3 place grid penalty for crashing into Magnussen in the last race.

    2. Could be because of the grid penalty for RIC? Although is the table meant to show finishing order after qualifying but before penalties?

  5. Does anyone have speed trap figures to hand? I’m wondering if other Mercedes-powered cars are slow on the long straights too? How much is due to engine power, and how much to the Mercedes car’s aerodynaamics. If all the Merc-powered cars struggle a bit for top speed, this might point to Merc building a reliable engine at the expense of speed. It would make an interesting case as engines are allowed to be tweaked for “reliability improvements”. MErc might ask if they could make their engine less reliable in order to make it faster.

    1. U forgot to ask how much is due to hamilton’s mistake and lack of skills

  6. Hamilton :
    « We are back in busi …. Ah crap … Gp2 engine, GP2 Engine ! »

    1. Although loudmouthed and often crass, it was one of the best in the business who said that. So let’s not demean nor disrespect him.

  7. Max tows Checo and still ends up in pole. Another great lap by Charles.

Comments are closed.