Max Verstappen took pole position in qualifying at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Saturday, with Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez second.
The world champion had been second in the third practice session earlier in the day, but turned the tables on Perez as part of a Red Bull lockout.
Attention will now turn to Verstappen’s relationship with Perez with just one race left in the season. Last weekend at Sao Paulo, the Dutchman refused to give up his place to his Mexican team-mate, leaving Perez tied with Charles Leclerc of Ferrari on 290 points in the race for second place.
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Last weekend’s row has lingered on, with Verstappen’s mother interjecting on social media, the driver complaining of online abuse, and harsh words in the post-race aftermath from Perez. Red Bull released a statement this week attempting to defuse the situation but it remains to be seen if Verstappen will come to the aid of his teammate.
Verstappen overcame an early problem in the first qualifying session when he complained his team would need to fix a headrest he believed to be broken.
At the end of the session, Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri), Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) and Williams drivers Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi failed to make the cut.
In the second round, there were exits for Fernando Alonso making his last appearance for Alpine, with another departing driver, Haas’ Mick Schumacher 13th. Yuki Tsunoda, Lance Stroll and Zhou Guanyu also exited ahead of the final runout for the cars ahead of Sunday’s race.
While Red Bull took the front row, Leclerc will attempt to put the pressure on in third, and he may be helped by his Spanish team-mate Carlos Sainz alongside him.
After their success last weekend, Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton (fifth) and George Russell (sixth) were back to their familiar position for 2022, behind the top two teams.
The rest of the top 10 was completed by McLaren’s Lando Norris in seventh, with his outgoing team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in 10th. Esteban Ocon was eighth for Alpine, while Sebastian Vettel starts the final Grand Prix of his career from ninth.
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