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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix LIVE: Starting grid and breaking updates

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It comes down to this, Max Verstappen and title rival Lewis Hamilton start on the front row of the grid at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Verstappen and Hamilton head into the race level but should both of them fail to register world championship points the Dutchman will be named 2021 World Driver’s Champion.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix gets underway at 15:00 (SAST).

The season has contained more intrigue and drama than the previous five seasons put together and the climax to the season is likely to throw up even more.

On Sunday the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place over 55 laps of the 5.281-kilometre Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island.

The Hermann Tilke-designed track is dominated by its 1.2km straight between Turns 5 and 6 – which, with slow-speed corners marking its beginning and end, makes it a honeypot for overtaking moves. Other highlights include the tricky run through Turns 10 and 11 into 12, which forces the drivers to brake hard with bags of lateral load still on the car. 

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Track modifications ahead of the 2021 race, shortening the lap slightly to 5.28km, have only added to its excitement.

What they said after Qualifying

Verstappen: “It’s always good to have a performance like this one today, but there are no guarantees for tomorrow, I still expect it to be a really hard battle. I originally planned to start on the mediums but I flat spotted my tyres so I had to go onto the softs, I actually felt okay on the softs during the long runs so hopefully it will work out tomorrow in the race. So far, the car has been good and throughout the practice sessions we made some good improvements to the car. I think everything worked out well, especially with Checo’s help, it was nicely executed. He’s a great teammate and a real pleasure to work with so a big thank you to him. I hope we have a good start and from there on in we can have a great race.”

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Hamilton: “Well, firstly Max did a great lap today and we just couldn’t compete with that time at the end there. It was a fantastic lap from him but we’re in a good position, I’d like to think, with our tyres tomorrow and I hope that we can have a good race. On the first lap of Q3, I dropped a bit of time in the last corner and Turn 5, but my final lap was nice and clean, I just couldn’t go any quicker. I don’t know if it’s tyre prep or whatever it may be, in terms of the out lap, but nonetheless I couldn’t beat that time so he deserved the pole. I’m still on the front row for tomorrow, with the tyre difference and I’m grateful I can see where he is, so we can try and navigate from there.”

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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Starting Grid

Starting grid for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final round of the 2021 Formula One world championship, after qualifying on Saturday:

Front row

Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda)

Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes)

2nd row

Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes)

Sergio Pérez (MEX/Red Bull-Honda)

3rd row

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Ferrari)

Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes)

4th row

Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari)

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri-Honda)

5th row

Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault)

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes)

6th row

Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine-Renault)

Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Honda)

7th row

Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes)

Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA/Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari)

8th row

Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin-Mercedes)

Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes)

9th row

George Russell (GBR/Williams-Mercedes)

Kimi Räikkönen (FIN/Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari)

10th row

Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas-Ferrari)

Nikita Mazepin (RUS/Haas-Ferrari)

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix live

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