Verstappen secured a vital pole, Bottas maintained his 100% Q3 appearance record with Mercedes and Tsunoda out-qualified his team-mate for the first time. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!
VERSTAPPEN ON POLE FOR TITLE SHOWDOWN
Max Verstappen secured pole position for the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, recording the thirteenth pole position of his career. He equals a list of six other drivers who took exactly thirteen poles in the their career. One of those drivers is Jacques Villeneuve, who secured his 13th and final pole on the weekend that he won his first title.
This was Verstappen’s first pole since the United States Grand Prix.
Verstappen is the tenth driver to record as many as ten poles in a season. Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Jacques Villeneuve, Mika Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are the other drivers to have done so.
Verstappen is the fourth driver, after Vettel, Rosberg and Hamilton to take consecutive poles at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
On the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last weekend in the sport, Verstappen recorded the 90th pole position for a Honda-badged engine. Honda are the fifth manufacturer to reach that milestone.
IN THE TOP 10
For the tenth time in the thirteen races held at Yas Marina Circuit, Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in Q1. This was the eleventh time Hamilton has qualified on the front row at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Lando Norris qualified in third place, recording his best Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying result. It was the third time in 2021 that he has qualified in the top three.
Sergio Perez reached Q3 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the first time since 2017. With fourth place, he equalled his best qualifying result at Yas Marina Circuit. He also qualified fourth here with Force India in 2015.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix that both Ferrari drivers and both McLaren drivers have reached the final part of qualifying.
Carlos Sainz qualified fifth, recording his best Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying result to date. It was the first time Sainz has out-qualified his team-mate at Yas Marina Circuit since his maiden season in 2015.
With sixth place, Valtteri Bottas ensured he never failed to reach Q3 in any of his 101 appearances with Mercedes. Sixth place is Bottas’ worst qualifying result in Abu Dhabi since he qualified eleventh with Williams here in 2016, which coincidentally is the last time he failed to reach Q3.
Bottas became the first Mercedes driver to fail to qualify in the top three at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since Lewis Hamilton qualified fourth in 2013.
For the first time in his F1 career, Yuki Tsunoda out-qualified his team-mate. This was the third race in a row at which Tsunoda has qualified in eighth place.
Tsunoda’s Q3 appearance made this the seventh consecutive race at which AlphaTauri have reached Q3 with at least one of their cars. It’s the first time the team have reached Q3 at seven races in a row since joining the sport as Toro Rosso in 2006.
Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris all maintained their 100% Q3 appearance record at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yuki Tsunoda also joined this club. Alex Albon, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg are the other drivers with a 100% Q3 appearance rate at the circuit.
Esteban Ocon equalled Q3 in Abu Dhabi for the first time since 2018.
OUT IN Q2
Pierre Gasly qualified twelfth, equalling his worst conventional qualifying result of the season. He missed out on Q3 for only the fourth time in 2021, the first time it has happened since the Russian Grand Prix.
Lance Stroll out-qualified Sebastian Vettel for the first time since the Turkish Grand Prix.
With Vettel qualifying fifteenth and Stroll thirteenth, this was the first time since 2010 that neither of the Silverstone-based team’s drivers have qualified in the top twelve at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
In his final F1 qualifying session, Antonio Giovinazzi reached Q2 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for a second consecutive season. He qualified fourteenth, just as he did in 2020.
OUT IN Q1
For the fourth year in succession, both Williams drivers were eliminated in Q1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In better news for the team, this is the first time since 2017 that neither of their drivers have qualified on the back row.
Nicholas Latifi out-qualified George Russell in conventional qualifying for only the second time. Despite being out-qualified in seventeenth place, Russell recorded his best Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying result to date.
This was Williams’ third double Q1 exit of the season.
On his final race weekend, Kimi Raikkonen qualified in eighteenth place. It was his third consecutive Q1 exit at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as well as his worst ever qualifying result at Yas Marina Circuit.
With both Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin out in Q1, Haas equalled Williams’ record for the most Q1 exits in a single season. Haas had 42 Q1 exits in 2021 from 22 races, while Williams were out in Q1 with both cars at all 21 races in 2019.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.