Verstappen grabs pole for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Sports Desk, Nov 19 (EFE).- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) took pole position Saturday in qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, the 22nd and final race of the 2022 season.

The Dutchman, who clinched his second consecutive F1 championship last month, was the only driver to complete a lap around the Yas Marina Circuit in less than 1:24, coming in at 1:23.824, 0.2 quicker than teammate Sergio “Checo” Perez of Mexico.

With a victory on Sunday, Verstappen would extend his record for most wins in a season to 15.

Monaco’s Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), who is locked in a battle with Checo for second place in the driver standings, finished third and will be joined Sunday on the second row by Spanish teammate Carlos Sainz.

The all-British Mercedes duo of seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and Brazilian Grand Prix winner George Russell claimed P5 and P6 on the grid.

Another Briton, Lando Norris (McLaren) was seventh, followed by France’s Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and German four-time champion Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), who is retiring after Sunday’s race.

Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) qualified in 10th, but will drop down to P13 because of a grid penalty for causing a collision in the Brazil Grand Prix.

The Australian will not compete in F1 in 2023, though he is said to be close to signing with Red Bull as a reserve driver.

The penalty to Ricciardo means that Spanish two-time champion Fernando Alonso (Alpine) will move up to P10.

Leclerc and Perez each has 290 points heading into the final round, but the man from Monaco is currently second in the standings by virtue of having won three races this season compared with two for the Mexican.

The other big contest to be resolved on Sunday is the duel between Ferrari and Mercedes to determine which team finishes second in the constructor’s standings behind champions Red Bull.

The Scuderia lead Mercedes by 524 points to 505. EFE caf/dr

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