Abu Dhabi GP | Lewis Hamilton grabs the final pole of the 2018 season
Hamilton and Bottas completed the front row for Mercedes. The Ferraris and Red Bulls followed. Romain Grosjean pipped Charles Leclerc to best of the rest.
Charles Leclerc set the first time of qualifying with a 1:38.968. That lap was quickly usurped by both Toro Rossos, Gasly going 0.006s quicker than Hartley.
When the big guns came out, Vettel took top spot ahead of Bottas, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Verstappen. Only 0.053s covered the top three in the opening part of qualifying.
Before the final runs began, Magnussen, Ericsson, Vandoorne, Sirotkin and Stroll found themselves in the danger zone.
A flurry of late improvements seen big changes occur. Ocon jumped up to P4 after sitting in P13. Charles Leclerc posted two purple sectors and climbed to P7.
Fernando Alonso and Kevin Magnussen made crucial late improvements to get through in P14 and P15.
Pierre Gasly was set to make Q2 until a loss of power in the final couple of corners meant he slowed massively and couldn’t improve.
Hartley, Gasly, Vandoorne, Sirotkin and Stroll were the five drivers who got knocked out.
16) Brendon Hartley 1:37.994
17) Pierre Gasly 1:38.166
18) Stoffel Vandoorne 1:38.577
19) Sergey Sirotkin 1:38.635
20) Lance Stroll 1:38.682
With the hypersofts showing big degradation on Friday, the Mercedes’, Ferraris and the Red Bulls went on the ultrasofts for their opening runs.
Hamilton logged a 1:35.693 and blitzed the rest of the big guns with that time. Bottas went 2nd but was almost 0.7s behind his stablemate. Raikkonen, Vettel and Ricciardo ended up over a second adrift – and Verstappen found himself down in P10.
Sainz, Leclerc, Grosjean and Hulkenberg were the other drivers in the top 10 before the final fliers started.
Just like Q1, there was a raft of improvements in the final seconds. Verstappen was forced to switch to hypersofts and grabbed P2, while Vettel stayed on ultras and moved into P3.
Leclerc, Hulkenberg, Grosjean and Ocon did tremendous laps to join the front six and make Q3.
The five drivers who got knocked out were Sainz, Ericsson, Magnussen, Perez and Alonso.
11) Carlos Sainz 1:36.982
12) Marcus Ericsson 1:37.132
13) Kevin Magnussen 1:37.309
14) Sergio Perez 1:37.541
15) Fernando Alonso 1:37.743
On the first attempts, Hamilton banged in the fastest time despite some errors in Sectors 2 and 3. His 1:35.295 put him 0.057s in front of Vettel. Bottas, Ricciardo, Raikkonen and Verstappen followed. Only 0.294s covered the top 6 after the opening runs.
Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Leclerc and Ocon completed the top 10 with the Haas driver holding a 0.3s advantage over Hulkenberg ahead of the final fliers.
A stunning lap from Hamilton on his final attempt saw him lower the benchmark to a 1:34.794. Valtteri Bottas joined his stablemate on the front row after setting a purple middle sector. The Finn ended up 0.162s adrift.
The Ferraris locked out row two, with Vettel in front of Raikkonen. Ricciardo beat Verstappen to P5 on the grid.
Grosjean was best of the rest, a mere 0.045s ahead of Leclerc. Hulkenberg and Ocon rounded out the top 10.