RACE DEBRIEF

    The final qualifying of the year provided some blisteringly quick laps of this new-look Yas Marina Circuit, with Max Verstappen grabbing pole by a considerable margin for Red Bull, leaving Lewis Hamilton trailing in his wake.

    But it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Dutchman, with a costly lock up in Q2 wrecking any chances he had of starting on the medium compound tyre. He starts on the softs to Hamilton’s mediums, in what looks set to be a thrilling championship decider.

    READ MORE: Verstappen denies Perez tow only reason he took pole in Abu Dhabi as he looks ahead to crucial showdown

    There were also great performances from the youngsters, with Yuki Tsunoda for AlphaTauri impressing by making another Q3, as did Lando Norris in grabbing third. Here are the facts and stats from the last qualifying of the season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix...

    • Max Verstappen is on pole at Yas Marina for the second straight year, having won from P1 in 2020.

    • The polesitter has won the race here every year since 2015.

    • It is the first time Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton have started alongside each other on the front row since Austin.

    • Hamilton grabs Mercedes’ 250th front row start in Formula 1.

    READ MORE: Verstappen snatches pole from Hamilton in thrilling Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying

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    Verstappen knows how to win from pole here, having done so last year

    • The last six times Hamilton has started from P2 on the grid have yielded five P2 finishes, and one win – the win coming in Silverstone, when he also started alongside Verstappen.

    • Lando Norris grabbed P3 for his best start since pole in Sochi, which is also McLaren’s best start at Yas Marina since 2012 when Hamilton was on pole for the team.

    • Sergio Perez starts fourth, the first time Red Bull have had two cars in the top four here in the hybrid era.

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    • Carlos Sainz qualified fifth, his best ever starting slot in Abu Dhabi and the 10th time this season that he has started on the third row.

    • Valtteri Bottas is sixth, his worst Q3 finish since Russia.

    • Yuki Tsunoda out-qualifies Gasly over one lap for the first time this season, ending the season with six Q3 appearances in the last seven races.

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    Norris has his highest grid slot since he grabbed an unexpected pole back in Sochi

    • Esteban Ocon wound up ninth, to win the season head-to-head against Fernando Alonso by 12 races to 10.

    • Daniel Ricciardo was out-qualified by his team mate in the final four races of the season.

    • Pierre Gasly failed to reach Q3 for just the fourth time in the last 25 race weekends.

    • Lance Stroll out-qualified Sebastian Vettel for the first time in six races on the eve of his 100th Grand Prix.

    • Nicholas Latifi out-qualified George Russell over one lap for just the second time in his F1 career, and the first at a weekend not involving the Sprint format.

    READ MORE: Hamilton vs Verstappen - Who is in the best shape to win the 2021 world title?