FACTS AND STATS: Sainz’s sensational streak ends in Abu Dhabi as Alonso claims best start at Yas Marina in a decade

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Sean Kelly
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 25: 7th placed qualifier Fernando Alonso of Spain and

The last qualifying session of the 2023 season, and for the 12th time this year it was Max Verstappen on pole position. But with the final team mate tallies in and some important scores settled, there were a host of fascinating facts and stats up and down the grid. Here are the highlights…

  • Verstappen’s fourth consecutive pole position at Yas Marina saw him take his 32nd career pole – tying 1992 champion Nigel Mansell’s tally.

  • Verstappen will also by buoyed by the stat that the pole-sitter has won the last eight races at Yas Marina – the longest streak of any F1 venue.

READ MORE: Verstappen beats Leclerc to Abu Dhabi GP pole as Hamilton and Sainz endure early exits

  • Charles Leclerc’s P2 marks the Monegasque’s fifth consecutive front row start – the longest active streak of any driver on the grid.

  • P3 for Oscar Piastri marks the Australian’s third top-three start of his rookie season in the final qualifying session of the year.

  • Piastri also takes the accolade of being the first of Lando Norris’s team mates to ever out-qualify him in Abu Dhabi – with Norris set to start fifth on the grid.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 25: Second placed qualifier Charles Leclerc of Monaco

Leclerc made it five consecutive front row appearances

  • George Russell’s P4 on the grid is the Englishman’s best ever start at Yas Marina.

  • Yuki Tsunoda put his AlphaTauri P6 on the grid, for his best ever career qualifying for a Grand Prix.

  • P7 on the grid marks Fernando Alonso’s best start at Yas Marina since 2012 – the season that, earlier this weekend, the Spaniard marked as his joint-best season in F1… along with this one.

HIGHLIGHTS: Enjoy the best action from qualifying in Abu Dhabi as Verstappen clinches pole

  • Take a bow Nico Hulkenberg. The German driver made his sixth consecutive Q3 appearance at Yas Marina, taking him to eight Q3 appearances for the year for a Haas team currently last in the constructors’. It also meant Haas ended the season with consecutive Q3 appearances.

  • In contrast, team mate Kevin Magnussen suffered his 12th Q1 elimination of 2023.

  • With a lap deleted in Q3, Sergio Perez claimed P9 on the grid, giving him an average starting position of 10.4 in the final 17 Grands Prix of 2023.

  • P10 for Pierre Gasly marked just his second Q3 appearance in Abu Dhabi in seven qualifying appearances here.

  • Coming after Las Vegas, Lewis Hamilton has now failed to make Q3 in consecutive races for the first time since 2014, at the German and Hungarian Grands Prix that year. It also means the Mercedes drivers end the year tied on 11-11 in the qualifying head-to-head – the only team mates tied at the season close.

Mercedes-AMG's British driver Lewis Hamilton drives during the third practice session ahead of the

Hamilton suffered his first consecutive failures to reach Q3 since 2014

  • Esteban Ocon in P12 has failed to reach Q3 in the final four races of 2023.

  • Ocon’s good friend Lance Stroll, meanwhile, has made Q3 just once in the final 10 races of 2023.

  • Carlos Sainz was on the longest streak of races without a Q1 elimination at 83 until qualifying here. That’s 83 since the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, mind, where he started P20 but claimed his maiden podium finish.

AS IT HAPPENED: Follow all the action from qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

  • It’s been an up-and-down final four races for Valtteri Bottas, featuring two Q3 appearances – and two Q1 eliminations. Meanwhile, it was team mate Zhou Guanyu’s 15th Q1 elimination of 2023.

  • Logan Sargeant suffered his 17th Q1 elimination of the year – the most of any driver on the grid – one week after starting in the top six in Las Vegas. His final deleted lap time in Q1 of 1m 24.532s would have put him into Q2, as also happened to him in Jeddah.

  • The result also meant Sargeant was beaten 22-0 across the season – the first whitewash in F1 since it happened to the driver who whitewashed him: Alex Albon, who was beaten 17-0 by Max Verstappen in the 2020 season.

Qualifying Highlights: 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


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