Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen took F1 Abu Dhabi GP pole from Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.


The start of F1 Abu Dhabi GP qualifying at Yas Marina circuit had a bit of scare for both Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen. The Brit had his lap time deleted due to going over the Turn 20 sausage kerb.

He eventually set the eighth best time as Verstappen flat-spotted his tyres in the pitlane when Williams’ Nicholas Latifi was released on his way. The Dutchman had to do multiple laps to end up second eventually behind Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

The incident between Verstappen and Latifi would be investigated after the race as Racing Point’s Sergio Perez was third. But the order did not stay the same as Hamilton was out again and went fastest from Bottas and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

There was late dramas still with Latifi (1m38.443s) as he had a slow spin in the final corner but it didn’t affect as many drivers but he was knocked out along with George Russell (1m38.045s). The Canadian was 20th with the Brit in 18th.

While Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi made it through despite having his initial lap deleted, teammate Kimi Raikkonen (1m37.555s) ended only 16th from Haas’ Kevin Magnussen (1m37.863s) – with engine penalty – with Pietro Fittipaldi (1m38.173s) 19th.


The second part in F1 Abu Dhabi GP saw strategy game with majority on the medium tyres apart from McLaren’s Lando Norris, AlphaTauri duo and Alfa Romeo’s Giovinazzi. Racing Point’s Sergio Perez did not venture out until very late but he did on the soft tyre.

Among the medium runners, it wasn’t good news for Red Bull’s Alexander Albon and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo as both had their lap times deleted, with the former going wide at Turn 20 and the latter doing the same at Turn 21 – needing another go.

Both switched onto the soft tyres as the session was led by Hamilton, Bottas and Norris. Perez, meanwhile, did not set a lap with the grid penalty he has for new power unit parts. At the front, it was Hamilton leading Bottas and Verstappen.

Albon made it through but both Renault dropped out with Esteban Ocon (1m36.359s) 11th ahead of Ricciardo (1m36.406s), while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel (1m36.631s) was 13th from Alfa Romeo’s Giovinazzi (1m38.248s). The Italian’s lap time was deleted.


The final part of F1 Abu Dhabi GP qualifying had Bottas lead the way with a 1m35.415s after first run as he headed Verstappen, Hamilton and Albon – the Top 4 separated by just the 0.156s, while the McLaren duo were just behind in a good position.

It was Norris along with the AlphaTauri drivers to set their lap on the old set of soft compound on their first run. It didn’t look like that things would change but Verstappen had other ideas as he went fastest over Bottas and Hamilton.

Hamilton was first to cross the line to go fastest with a 1m35.332s but Bottas went quicker with a 1m35.271s but Verstappen went fastest with a 1m35.246s to take pole in Abu Dhabi GP – the first non-Mercedes pole of the 2020 F1 season.

It was looking all good for Albon (1m35.571s) until the final lap as he dropped to fifth after Norris (1m35.497s) surprised with a superb fourth, while teammate Sainz (1m35.815s) was sixth from AlphaTauri’s Daniil Kvyat (1m35.963s).

The Russian actually managed to get the better of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll (1m36.046s) as Ferrari’s Leclerc (1m36.065s) was ninth with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly (1m36.242s) only 10th.

UPDATE: The stewards determined that no action is to be taken for the unsafe release by Williams, where Latifi was said to have been released in front of Verstappen.

“The Stewards reviewed multiple angles of video evidence, telemetry of car 33 and
heard from the team representatives of Williams Racing and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. Whilst Car 33 had to brake when Car 6 entered the fast lane, we have determined that the release was not unsafe. In evidence, the team representative of Car 33 agreed,” said the FIA statement.