Abu Dhabi [UAE], December 12 (ANI): Red Bull's Max Verstappen delivered a magical lap in qualifying to clinch his maiden pole position for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Saturday.
The Red Bull driver got the better of Mercedes for the first time in 2020 with the top three separated by just 0.086 seconds.
Verstappen started badly as he flatspotted his first set of tyres and then struggled for performance in the first segment.
But he got better and better as the session went on under the lights at Yas Martina to take the first non-Mercedes pole in Abu Dhabi since 2013.
It ended Mercedes' run of being one-two in every Q3 session at Abu Dhabi in the turbo-hybrid era, Verstappen's stunning middle sector making the difference to put him on P1 at a track where he has never led a lap in his Formula 1 career.
Valtteri Bottas slotted into second, pipping his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was making his racing return after missing the last race having tested positive for the coronavirus in Bahrain.
McLaren's Lando Norris delivered one of the best laps of his career to go fourth quickest, just 0.25s off the pole, with Red Bull's Alex Albon having a smoother weekend to take fifth as he fights for his future at the team beyond the end of this season.
Carlos Sainz was sixth, running an older engine than his McLaren teammate which it is believed is costing him around two-tenths of a second per lap, ahead of AlphaTauri's Daniil Kvyat, who continues his very strong end to a campaign which might be his last in F1.
Lance Stroll was the best-placed Racing Point in eighth, with his teammate Sergio Perez starting from the back after a host of engine component changes - and that spices up the battle for P3 in the constructors' championship as their lead over McLaren is just 10 points. (ANI)