Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton ended the 2018 Formula 1 qualifying run with a pole in Abu Dhabi GP from teammate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.


It ended up being a thrilling first part of qualifying with Vettel topping from Bottas and Hamilton in the Top 3 but Racing Point Force India’s Esteban Ocon did well to be fourth and Sauber’s Charles Leclerc in seventh – despite the Monegasque going quickest in S1 and S2.

The bottom half saw McLaren’s Fernando Alonso making it through into Q2 for his final race with both the Toro Rosso cars bowing out along with the two Williams drivers and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne.

Brendon Hartley (1m37.994s) slotted in 16th from Pierre Gasly (1m38.166s) as the latter faced troubles with his power unit (suspected) on his final lap. Vandoorne (1m38.577s) was 18th with Sergey Sirotkin (1m38.635s) ahead of Lance Stroll (1m38.682s).


The tyre gamble had Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull drivers opting to run on the ultrasoft compound so as to start the race that set of tyre. However, Max Verstappen couldn’t set a quick time on his ultrasoft compound which forced him to run again.

The Dutchman along with teammate Daniel Ricciardo – also on the bubble towards the end – went for a hypersoft run. Verstappen did improve to second in between Hamilton and Vettel while Ricciardo was asked to bail out as he was secured in 10th.

Racing Point Force India tried to set a time on the uptrasoft but did not enough pace in the end. Esteban Ocon did make it into Q3 but Sergio Perez didn’t on the hypersoft compound. Renault’s Carlos Sainz (1m36.982s) was the first one outside Top 10 in 11th.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson (1m37.132s) did well in 12th with a mistake from Haas’ Kevin Magnussen (1m37.309s) meant he was only 13th with Perez (1m37.541s) in 14th and Alonso’s (1m37.743s) final qualifying saw him 15th.


The final part of qualifying saw Hamilton on provisional pole with a 1m35.295s with Vettel (1m35.352s) chasing him – the two only 0.057s apart, while Bottas was third ahead of Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Verstappen.

It got a bit of tensed towards the end in the second run in the fight for pole. Hamilton improved to 1m34.794s but it looked like Vettel (1m35.125s) would topple him until the second sector. However, he lost in the final sector to drop to third.

He was beaten by Bottas (1m34.956s) as not only Hamilton sealed his 11th pole of 2018 but it was also a front-row lockout for Mercedes with the second row going to Ferrari drivers as Raikkonen (1m35.365s) slotted in fourth alongside his teammate.

Red Bull had a difficult time in the end but Ricciardo (1m35.401s) managed to out-qualify Verstappen (1m35.589s) in his final race for the team to be fifth and sixth respectively as Haas’ Romain Grosjean (1m36.192s) ended up as the best of the rest.

The rest of the Top 10 saw Leclerc (1m36.237s) in eighth, followed by Ocon (1m36.540s) and Hulkenberg (1m36.542s) with the German not having a clean lap on his final run.