Lewis Hamilton will start the final race of the 2019 Formula 1 season from pole position after setting a new outright lap record in qualifying at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The champion’s time of 1:34.779 ensured he finished ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, who starts at the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.
The Finn’s grid demotion means it will be Max Verstappen alongside Hamilton on the front row, as the Dutch driver found more pace than both of the Ferrari drivers.
There was early drama for Sebastian Vettel as he spun on the start line while preparing for his first flying lap, leaving him facing the wrong way on the track.
Both Racing Point drivers were towards the bottom of the standings as the first session finished, but both improved their times late on to move them safely through to Q2 at the expense of the Alfa Romeos and Haas’s Romain Grosjean.
George Russell was quicker than his teammate, ensuring he outqualifies Robert Kubica at every race this season.
Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll both missed out on a spot in the top 10 though, with the McLaren and Renault cars both showing strong pace to progress to Q3.
The pack was backing up in the final part of qualifying, resulting in a queue for the line before the chequered flag. Most cars managed to find the gap they needed, but Charles Leclerc, who was at the back of the line, missed out, failing to start his lap in time.
Verstappen looked like he might challenge Hamilton for pole position with his final lap of the day, but the Red Bull man ran wide at the final corner.
The qualifying head to head between Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz at McLaren was level coming into this race, but it was a quick time from the rookie which handed him the better starting position and the season honours.
Provisional qualifying result:
1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)*
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
5. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
6. Alexander Albon (Red Bull)
7. Lando Norris (McLaren)
8. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
9. Carlos Sainz (McLaren)
10. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
11. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
12. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)
13. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
14. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso)
15. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
16. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
17. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)
18. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
19. George Russell (Williams)
20. Robert Kubica (Williams)
*Bottas will start at the back of the grid due to engine penalties.