B ahrain and Abu Dhabi have on the racing calendar Formula 1 has one thing in common. At both Grand Prix, the first and third practice sessions will be held in daylight. In the second practice session, in qualification and in the race, however, the drivers drive from day into night. The play of light with the setting sun and the many spotlights around the route is amazing. It's actually only beaten by Singapore, the only real night race.
Lewis Hamilton likes the atmosphere in Abu Dhabi. And the world champion likes the route profile. For the fifth time after 2009, 2012 (both McLaren), 2016 and 2018, the Briton achieved a pole position in the emirate. Actually, Hamilton has only one thing to complain about on the 5.554-kilometer course. “You should make small changes to make overtaking easier.” Max Verstappen also agreed.
Qualifying highlights in the gallery
Mercedes determined the qualifying Saturday. The Silver Arrows roared into the front row. But Valtteri Bottas is not allowed to start there. An engine penalty banished him to the last place on the grid. And so in the camp of the Silver Arrows only one of the pilots with the headlights was beaming.
Ferrari stumbled over its own feet, as so often this season. Sebastian Vettel turned in the first qualifying round. Still without consequences. Then a lot went wrong again. The drivers were sent to the race track too late, which is why the tire preparation for the last fast lap did not fit. It was like that with Sebastian Vettel. Charles Leclerc even had to turn prematurely. The Monegasse only made it over the finish line after the lights had switched to red.
McLaren and Renault dueled in midfield. We have collected the highlights from qualifying Saturday and put them in a gallery.