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Abu Dhabi GP: Bottas steals fourth pole of 2017 after Hamilton fight

Written by  Nov 25, 2017

Valtteri Bottas produced a remarkable lap at the beginning of Q3 to score an upset and beat Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Finn would post a new lap record of 1m36.231s on his first run in the important top 10 shootout and, despite being marginally ahead in the first two sectors, the world champion couldn’t maintain the pace at the technical end of the lap meaning he would take second, just over a tenth off the pace.

One of the most commanding performances this season from the Brackley outfit saw just their third front row lockout as Ferrari had no response. Sebastian Vettel was over half a second behind Bottas in third and a brilliant final lap from Daniel Ricciardo would see the Australian split the two Prancing Horses in fourth for Red Bull.

Kimi Raikkonen will be disappointed in fifth after showing the pace to beat his teammate in practice with Max Verstappen rounding out the top three teams in sixth as his difficult final weekend of the year continues.

Nico Hulkenberg offered Renault hope that they can score the five points needed to beat Toro Rosso to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship as the German produced a great lap to lead the midfield in seventh.

Unfortunately for the French manufacturer, lingering concerns over reliability throughout the week would be realised as Carlos Sainz had a minor engine issue and could only manage 12th in the second car.

The two Force India’s of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon will be a little frustrated not to be 'best of the rest' but will certainly challenge in the race from eighth and ninth respectively.

Completing the top 10, Felipe Massa's farewell weekend with Williams saw him continue a record of having made Q3 on every occasion he has raced at Yas Marina Circuit as he beat former Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso in the final moments of Q2 to claim 10th.

It would be a disappointing session overall for McLaren, after looking strong in final practice, with Alonso in 11th and Stoffel Vandoorne only 13th meaning a tough task of scoring points in the final race of their partnership with Honda.

Kevin Magnussen did all that Haas could do in 14th as the Dane was almost half a second down on the Belgian in front, he would out-pace the second Williams of Lance Stroll, however, after the Canadian just made Q2 by 0.013s at the expense of Romain Grosjean

Pierre Gasly would be 17th in the first of the Toro Rosso's as their problems continued, ahead of the two Saubers with Pascal Wehrlein just seven-hundredths clear of teammate Marcus Ericsson. Brendon Hartley would be slowest overall with the Kiwi already set for a 10-place penalty after taking a new MGU-H on Friday.

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