A sensational lap from Max secured a crucial pole position in Abu Dhabi after some brilliant teamwork from Red Bull Racing.
The qualifying session started strongly as Max was third quickest ahead of Sergio in fourth, Yuki in fifth and Pierre seventh, ensuring all four Honda-powered cars made it through to Q2 in comfortable fashion. The second part of qualifying is when the starting tyre compounds are decided for anyone in the top ten, and there was a real split as some teams opted for mediums and others for softs.
After a lock-up on his first lap on mediums, Max advanced on the softer compound and posted the fastest time, with Sergio joining him on softs and second quickest. There was another impressive run from Yuki as he ended up making it through to Q3 and on the medium tyre to open up more strategic opportunities, but sadly Pierre was unable to overcome some car difficulties and was eliminated in 12th place.
Q3 looked set to be a tight affair but Red Bull executed a strategic plan brilliantly as Sergio gave Max a tow on the first runs in the session and Max duly went on to complete a stunning final sector as he set the pace by over half a second. Nobody could come close to him on the final attempts and he took the 90th pole position for a Honda-powered car in Formula 1, giving him the best possible starting position for Sunday’s championship showdown.
Sergio secured a second-row start and crucially, is ahead of the second Mercedes to give Red Bull further hope in the constructors’ championship, while Yuki will start from row four on the mediums after qualifying eighth on what was his ninth Q3 appearance of the season.