ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates ( Associated Press) – Formula One champion Max Verstappen qualified first for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Saturday and his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez of Mexico qualified second.
Verstappen, who was looking to extend his own record by winning his 15th race of the season, posted a lap of 1 minute, 23.824 seconds, leading Perez by .228 seconds. The Mexican disputed second place in the drivers’ championship, with Charles Leclerc from Ferrari, who was third, 0.40 behind Pérez.
Verstappen said he had a scare at the start of the third and final qualifying session when “everything just went haywire” in his car in the garage, delaying his start.
“Very happy and very happy about that both cars are on the front row of the start because we want to win the race, but we also want Checo (Pérez) to finish second in the championship, so we definitely have Tomorrow will be a great start.” , said the Dutchman.
A week after disagreements in the Red Bull team came to light when the champion refused to comply with orders to give Pérez sixth place at the Brazilian GP – he has yet to explain his reasons – Verstappen beat Pérez in qualifying. Took the final stage with Slipstream in a show of team unity.
“It’s good to secure the front line for tomorrow,” Pérez said. “Max did a great job for me. We went into this last lap with great strength as a team.
Leclerc said he made a mistake in his final qualifying lap when he locked a wheel, “but honestly this is the place we deserved today. The Red Bulls are strong, but we are in a very good position.”
Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz was fourth ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
Quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel qualified his Aston Martin in ninth place for his final race before retirement. McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who will not have a car until 2023, qualified 10th.