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Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix 2018 Qualifying: Lewis Hamilton Claims 83rd Career Pole

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2018

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton competes during the qualifying session at the Yas Marina circuit on November 24, 2018, in Abu Dhabi, ahead of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix. (Photo by Andrej ISAKOVIC / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)
ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/Getty Images

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton will start the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from pole position after earning the 83rd pole of his career on Saturday ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Mercedes once again reigned supreme at the Yas Marina Circuit, locking up the front row. The Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finished third and fourth, and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will start Sunday's race from fifth and sixth place, respectively.

Here is a look at the final times:

Formula 1 @F1

FULL QUALIFYING CLASSIFICATION: @LewisHamilton dashes to the 83rd pole of his career ๐Ÿ‘#AbuDhabiGP ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช #F1 https://t.co/QU72E42j6q

Ferrari and Mercedes predictably came out firing in Q1, while Kevin Magnussen struggled in his Haas, leaving it late to get out of the drop zone.

The Toro Rossos both struggled for pace and Williams brought up the rear, but Fernando Alonso managed to avoid an early exit late in his final qualifying session.

The difference between the two McLaren drivers has been staggering this season:

Philip Duncan @PhilDuncanF1

Fernando Alonso through to Q2 in the final qualifying session of his career. He out-qualifies team-mate Vandoorne 21-0 for the season. Ouch. #AbuDhabiGP

Esteban Ocon impressed in the Force India, clocking the fourth fastest time of Q1.

Plenty of drivers opted for the ultrasoft compound to start Q2, believing that would be the better race tyre. Hamilton was one of them, but he somehow put together one of the best laps of the season, setting a new track record and beating team-mate Bottas by seven-tenths of a second.

Channel 4 F1 couldn't believe it:

Channel 4 F1ยฎ @C4F1

Has someone bolted a rocket to the rear of Hamilton's car? ๐Ÿš€ The five-time champion has produced a 1:35.693 on the ultra-soft tyre compound! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ #C4F1 ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช #AbuDhabiGP https://t.co/ntsmwYwcT2

For comparison, Verstappen was only 10th after his first run on the ultrasofts. He would eventually take second place on the hypersofts, the only driver among the top three teams to opt for that strategy.

Ricciardo almost dropped out of Q2 but qualified in 10th, while Alonso's day came to an end before Q3.

Hamilton was the fastest man in the first runs of Q3, but there was plenty of room for improvement and his advantage over Vettel was minor. It would all come down to the second wave of runs, with less than three-tenths splitting the top six after one.

The Silver Arrows came out first while Ferrari had some clear air at the back, but it was Hamilton who came out on top, with Bottas securing another double for Mercedes. Ferrari took the second row, and Red Bull the third.

Mercedes were once again dominant, something fans have gotten used to:

Pablo Elizalde @EliGP

This is the 100th GP of the hybrid era. That was Mercedes' 84th pole. Fun.

Overtaking can prove tricky in Abu Dhabi, so there's a good chance the Silver Arrows will once again celebrate victory on Sunday. The team has won the last four races at the Yas Marina Circuit.ย ย 

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