By Robert Haile
It all comes down to this, one final race between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi.
In todays, December Saturday 11, qualifying Verstappen took first blood as he will start on pole position but Hamilton will be next to him on the grid.
Potential new World Champion Verstappen said: “”It’s always good to have a performance like this one today, but there are no guarantees for tomorrow – I still expect it to be a really hard battle.
“I originally planned to start on the mediums but I flat spotted my tyres so I had to go onto the softs, I actually felt okay on the softs during the long runs so hopefully it will work out tomorrow in the race.
“So far, the car has been good and throughout the practice sessions we made some good improvements to the car.
“I think everything worked out well, especially with Checo’s (Sergio Perez) help, it was nicely executed.
“He’s a great teammate and a real pleasure to work with so a big thank you to him.
“I hope we have a good start and from there on in we can have a great race.”
In the first qualifying session both Haas and Williams drivers failed to progress with Kimi Raikkonen in his last Grand Prix for Alfa Romeo splitting the two teams.
George Russell will be hoping to be at the other end of the grid as he completed his last qualifying for Williams before joining Mercedes.
Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi, also in his last Grand Prix, went out in the second session with former World Champions Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
Vettel’s teammate at Aston Martin Lance Stroll also failed to progress with Pierre Gasly being out qualified by his teammate, Yuki Tsunoda.
With Verstappen on pole and Hamilton in second McLaren’s Lando Norris returned to the front taking third place.
In the battle for the Constructors Championship Red Bull’s Perez took fourth while Mercedes Vallteri Bottas, splitting the Ferrari’s of Carlos Sainz in fifth and Charles Leclerc in seventh, could only take sixth in his last outing for the team.
Tsunoda claimed eighth while Alpine’s Esteban Ocon beat McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo to ninth.
With qualifying done with what do Verstappen and Hamilton need to do to win.
If Verstappen finishes ahead of Hamilton or they both fail to score any points Verstappen will win his first Championship due to having won nine races this season to Hamilton’s eight.
Hamilton has to finish in front of his rival and if, however unlikely, they are ninth and tenth Verstappen can not have the fastest lap as they would be equal on points and Hamilton would lose the title.
Q3 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Lando Norris (McLaren), Sergio Perez (Red Bull), Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
Q2 – Fernando Alonso (Alpine), Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
Q1 – Nicholas Latifi (Williams), George Russell (Williams), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), Mick Schumacher (Haas), Nikita Mazepin (Haas)