Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Max Verstappen blocked a Mercedes clean sweep of 2020 pole positions by snatching it at the last moment.
After going fastest in both the first and third free practice sessions, Verstappen was just over a tenth behind Bottas after the initial runs in Q3. The Dutchman was one of the last to complete his final run and managed to pull out 0.025 seconds over the Mercedes.
“I said before I went to qualifying it’s going to be the final send of the season and we did that,” said a delighted Verstappen. “So yeah, very happy with that. It was quite a tricky qualifying in the beginning to get your laps in especially at this track, the last sector there’s so many corners where you can make a mistake but luckily everything came together in that final lap.”
After qualifying third for the tenth time at last week’s Sakhir Grand Prix, Verstappen joked that he had spent so much time in the P3 seat at the press conference that he’d have to take it home. One week later and he has ended the Mercedes powered cars run of pole positions much to the delight of his team.
“It’s a long season for everyone and especially a lot of races in a row so I think this was a good final qualifying for everyone in the team and for sure we’re very happy with it. The whole year when you’re behind, getting closer, it’s getting sometimes a bit frustrating but very, very pleased with today.”
Looking to the final Grand Prix tomorrow, Verstappen said Red Bull hadn’t focused too much on race pace during the practice sessions but their speed was good so far and that would hopefully help them to stay ahead and take the victory.
“I don’t think we did a lot of [long run] laps,” Verstappen added. “So we still have to wait and see how that goes but anyway we’ll try to do our best, try to keep them behind. I mean they’re still very fast but it seems like we’ve quite a decent top speed this weekend so hopefully that will work out for tomorrow.”
— Aston Martin Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) December 12, 2020