After an exciting and gruesome season of intense racing and competition, the curtains would be closed on the 2017 Formula One season this weekend in Abu Dhabi, a province in the United Arab Emirates.
The world championships may have already been wrapped up, but Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull will be hungry for victory to take the final bragging rights of the season and the morale booster heading into the winter break.
Valtteri Bottas edged out Lewis Hamilton for pole position at the Abu Dhabi GP as Mercedes sealed a dominant one-two in the final qualifying session of 2017.
World champion Hamilton held an advantage over Bottas for much of the hour but a sensational Q3 lap from the Finn, a track record 1:36.231, saw him beat his team-mate by a tenth of a second to claim his fourth pole of the season.
It was the first time Bottas has ever sealed back-to-back poles in F1, and he added: “I was so gutted in Brazil getting pole and missing the win. I have a clear target for tomorrow.”
Sebastian Vettel, so often Hamilton’s main rival in an enthralling campaign, was closest to troubling Mercedes for Ferrari but still more than half a second adrift in third.
Daniel Ricciardo produced his best lap of the weekend to beat Kimi Raikkonen to fourth and will join Vettel on the second row for Sunday’s race. Encouragingly for the Australian, he out-qualified Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen by 0.3 seconds.
Massa arguably drove the lap of the day for Williams to knock McLaren’s Fernando Alonso out in Q2.
The Brazilian, taking part in his final F1 qualifying session, will certainly have enjoyed getting the better over his former Ferrari team-mate as McLaren’s last Saturday with a Honda engine ended with neither driver in Q3.
“I want to have fun tomorrow. I have nothing to lose, risk everything you can. Let’s have fun,” he added
Massa has never finished outside of the points in Abu Dhabi and his qualifying performance maintained his record of always starting in the top 10 at the circuit.
“It’s a good way to retire. You finish with good lap times, good races, taking the best out. I’m happy that I’m finished with my head up and competitive.”
Who will come out on top in the F1 2017 season finale and take the bragging rights into the winter? Don’t miss the Abu Dhabi GP live on Supersport 6 on Sunday afternoon – lights out for the race is at 2pm[tps_header][/tps_header]