Max Verstappen took pole position for Red Bull at Formula 1's 2023 season finale in Abu Dhabi, ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and McLaren driver Oscar Piastri.

In a final qualifying session where the soft tyres were good for just a single flying lap – unlike the multiple fliers seen last week in Las Vegas – Lewis Hamilton was also knocked out in Q2 for Mercedes and Sergio Perez rued a track limits mistake in the other RB19.

In Q3, Verstappen put in a 1m23.445s on his first of two runs, with the world champion well clear of the rest at this stage as he was the only one to use new tyres.

On the second runs, Verstappen ran at the rear of the group of leaders to this point, but was unable to improve his time.

The rest did, but not by enough, with Leclerc going from just over a second off after the first Q3 runs to shoot up to second on his final attempt – ending up 0.139s to Verstappen.

Piastri took third ahead of George Russell, who climbed the order with Q3's quickest time in the final sector to rise to fourth.

Lando Norris had looked like Verstappen's biggest threat but he blew his shot with the new tyres right at the end due to a massive sideways moment at Turn 13 which cost the Briton 0.4s in the lap's final third alone.

Then came Yuki Tsunoda, Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg, while Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10.

Perez's final lap was good enough for sixth but he lost it for running too wide out of Turn 1, where he had had a wild sideways moment on the first Q3 attempts.

Verstappen traversed Q2 with just a single run on new softs, while the rest took a sighter on used softs at the start of the middle segment.

Come the end with everybody bar Verstappen out on new softs, Russell's improvement eliminated his Mercedes team-mate Hamilton, who complained on his way back to the pits, "There's something wrong with this car".

Then came Esteban Ocon, Lance Stroll, Alex Albon and Daniel Ricciardo, with Albon having run off-set for his second run and completed his final flier well ahead of the rest – just as Williams had done at the end of the opening segment.

In Q1, where the entire field was covered by one-second, Perez's last-gasp improvement moved him through in second behind Verstappen, knocking out Carlos Sainz along with Kevin Magnussen, Valtteri Bottas, Zhou Guanyu and Logan Sargeant.

The first four completed personal best efforts on their second and final fliers, with Sainz complaining about traffic impacting his last run, but Sargeant lost both his Q1 times for running beyond track limits at Turn 1.

His best of those two laps was his first, but that still would not have been fast enough to progress.

Gasly and Piastri faced a post-qualifying stewards' investigation for a possible impeding incident late in Q3.

 
 
     
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Time km/h
1 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull

1'23.445

227.833
2 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari

+0.139

1'23.584

227.455
3 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes

+0.337

1'23.782

226.917
4 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes

+0.343

1'23.788

226.901
5 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes

+0.371

1'23.816

226.825
6 Japan Y. Tsunoda AlphaTauri 22 AlphaTauri Red Bull

+0.523

1'23.968

226.414
7 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes

+0.639

1'24.084

226.102
8 Germany N. Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari

+0.663

1'24.108

226.037
9 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull

+0.726

1'24.171

225.868
10 France P. Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault

+1.103

1'24.548

224.861
11 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes

+0.914

1'24.359

225.365
12 France E. Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault

+0.946

1'24.391

225.279
13 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes

+0.977

1'24.422

225.197
14 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes

+0.994

1'24.439

225.151
15 Australia D. Ricciardo AlphaTauri 3 AlphaTauri Red Bull

+0.997

1'24.442

225.143
16 Spain C. Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari

+1.293

1'24.738

224.357
17 Denmark K. Magnussen Haas F1 Team 20 Haas Ferrari

+1.319

1'24.764

224.288
18 Finland V. Bottas Alfa Romeo 77 Alfa Romeo Ferrari

+1.343

1'24.788

224.225
19 China G. Zhou Alfa Romeo 24 Alfa Romeo Ferrari

+1.714

1'25.159

223.248
20 United States L. Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes