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Lewis Hamilton back on pole at the Yas Marina circuit ahead of Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Scorches Yas Marina circuit with record lap

Lewis Hamilton claimed his first pole position in four months with a scorching record lap at the Yas Marina circuit on Saturday as Mercedes dominated qualifying ahead of Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The recently-crowned champion delivered a late lap in one minute and 34.779 seconds to outpace teammate Valtteri Bottas, who is set to start from the back of the grid after collecting penalties for taking new engines.

It was a stunning way for Hamilton to finish the 'qualifying season' and improved his career record total to 88 poles, five of them in Abu Dhabi. It was his first pole since the German GP in July and his fifth of the year.

“It's been such a long slog to try and get this pole position,” admitted Hamilton. “Yesterday was quite wobbly, so I had to regroup overnight and come back focused.”

Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull ahead of the two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel with Alex Albon taking sixth in the second Red Bull. The Dutchman will start alongside Hamilton on the front row.

“As a team it's been a really strong day,” said Bottas. “We saw in qualifying that we had good pace and, as I'm going to start last, we'll take that fighting spirit forward tomorrow.”

Verstappen said: “I think today was the best we could do. We all know Mercedes are dominant here, but I think there are a lot of chances in this race.”

Lando Norris won his intra-team qualifying battle with McLaren partner Carlos Sainz to take seventh ahead of Renault's Daniel Ricciardo with Sainz ninth and Nico Hulkenberg, in his final weekend with Renault, 10th.

Starting grid: 1st row: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Max Verstappen (Red Bull); 2nd row: Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari); 3rd row: Alexander Albon (Red Bull), Lando Norris (McLaren); 4th row: Daniel Ricciardo (Renault), Carlos Sainz Jr. (McLaren); 5th row: Nico Hulkenberg (Renault), Sergio Perez (Racing Point); 6th row: Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso), Lance Stroll (Racing Point); 7th row: Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso), Kevin Magnussen (Haas); 8th row: Romain Grosjean (Haas), Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo); 9th row: Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), George Russell (Williams); 10th row: Robert Kubica (Williams), Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes).

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 7:27:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/motorsport/lewis-hamilton-back-on-pole-at-the-yas-marina-circuit-ahead-of-sundays-abu-dhabi-grand-prix/article30125930.ece

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