Max Verstappen closed the 2020 Formula 1 season with an effortless victory for Red Bull Racing over Mercedes at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Dutchman took his first pole in more than a year and deftly converted P1 on the grid into a comfortable three-second lead in the first 10 laps.

Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were powerless in pursuit, the Mercedes duo holding their starting positions off the line but unable to make inroads on the Red Bull Racing car as it gradually escaped into the distance.

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Max Verstappen sensationally snatched pole position from Valtteri Bottas for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, thwarting a sweep of 2020 qualifying sessions by Mercedes power units.

Verstappen pinched pole from the Finn by just 0.025s but without setting a purple sector at any split. It’s the first pole for the Red Bull Racing driver since last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, and it makes Honda the first engine manufacturer other than Mercedes to start from the head of the grid this season.

The Dutchman dedicated his third career pole to his team at the end of a grueling season during which the RB16 has at best inconsistently matched the Mercedes for pure pace.

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Max Verstappen will head into the final Formula 1 qualifying session of the year with the fastest time of third practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Red Bull Racing driver’s best time came on his second run on a set of soft tires in the final five minutes, lowering the benchmark to 1m36.251s, the fastest lap of the weekend so far.

It was enough to beat teammate Alex Albon by half a second, the Thai driver improving late despite complaining of extreme understeer through the session. Renault teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon followed 0.65s off the pace, both similarly finding time towards the conclusion of final practice.

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Valtteri Bottas resumed control of the time sheet for Mercedes in the crucial evening practice session at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which was briefly interrupted by a fire that struck Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo.

The Finn went fastest with a lap of 1m 36.276s ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was 0.203s adrift. Both drivers set their best laps on the medium tire. Bottas wrote off his soft lap with a twitchy moment through the first turn, while Hamilton had a time that would have been good enough to top the session by 0.2s deleted for exceeding track limits out of the final corners.

Max Verstappen was third quickest for Red Bull Racing, the Dutchman also on the medium tire. He too was on track to lead the session with the soft compound after setting a purple first sector and a personal best time at the second split, but he was held up by slower cars on long-run simulations in the final sector, ruining the lap.

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Max Verstappen put Red Bull Racing on top for first practice at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Dutchman used the soft tire in the second half of the session to set the benchmark at 1m37.378s, usurping Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas by 0.034s.

Renault’s Esteban Ocon and Alex Albon in the second Red Bull Racing car were more than 1.1s off the pace in third and fourth.

Lewis Hamilton, returning to the paddock after missing last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix with COVID-19, was fifth fastest and 1.3s adrift after missing much of the first half of the session with a brake master cylinder problem.

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Sergio Perez has sensationally won his first Formula 1 grand prix from last on the first lap after a Mercedes pit stop blunder and late puncture cost George Russell a chance to regain the lead of the Sakhir GP.

The Racing Point driver was hit by Charles Leclerc at the start of the race in a crash that took out the Monegasque and Max Verstappen, forcing Perez into a costly first-lap pit stop for fresh tires, but the Mexican made rapid progress in the first half of the race before making just one extra stop to rise to third late in the race.

A podium behind a comfortable Russell-led Mercedes one-two was on the cards, but a late-race safety car conspired to lose Mercedes its double podium and promote Perez into a race-winning position.

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Valtteri Bottas led a Mercedes front-row lockout at the Sakhir Grand Prix after narrowly beating stand-in teammate George Russell to pole position.

Bottas held provisional pole ahead of the final flying laps but failed to improve with his final effort, leaving himself vulnerable to the improving Russell, who is substituting for Lewis Hamilton this weekend after the world champion contracted COVID-19.

The young Briton started with a 0.142s deficit and set two personal best times in the second to splits, but it wasn’t enough to overturn the disadvantage, falling an agonizing 0.026s short.

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Max Verstappen usurped Mercedes’s Friday practice control to take a slender advantage into qualifying for the Sakhir Grand Prix.

The Dutchman set his best time of 54.064s on his first flying lap on soft tires for the evening, having run on the hard compound until late in the session. It put the Red Bull Racing driver 0.206s ahead of Mercedes’s Valtteri Bottas, though the Finn surrendered at least a tenth of a second running wide past the curbs at the final corner of his best lap.

The two most likely rivals for victory this weekend were streets ahead of their teammates. Alex Albon in the second Red Bull Racing car was sixth and 0.565s off the pace, while George Russell — having topped both Friday practice sessions — slipped to seventh and 0.6s adrift in his Mercedes.

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George Russell swept Friday practice for his new Mercedes team after teammate Valtteri Bottas had several of his fastest laps deleted at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Russell — substituting for Lewis Hamilton this weekend after the world champion’s positive COVID test — was unable to improve on his FP1 time, but his lap of 54.713s was enough to keep him 0.128s clear at the head of the time sheet.

Bottas was on track to claim top spot with his first lap on the soft tire, but the Finn fell afoul of freshly instituted track limits at Turn 8, set at the outer edge of the curbs at the exit of the right-hander. His quickest time would have beaten Russell’s best by 0.2s before it and two subsequent laps were deleted for driving off the track, leaving him 11th.

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George Russell ended his debut timed session as a Mercedes driver at the top of the charts at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Russell, seconded from Williams to deputize for Lewis Hamilton while the world champion recovers from COVID-19, lapped the 2.202-mile ‘outer loop’ configuration of the Bahrain International Circuit in just 52.564s.

The 22-year-old Briton looked immediately at home in the black car. His feedback via team radio was focused mostly on adjusting to the functions and steering wheel controls of his new machine, and his only major problem appeared to be some shoulder discomfort as he squeezed into a cockpit designed for Hamilton, who stands approximately 4.3 inches shorter than his substitute.

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Lewis Hamilton won the Bahrain Grand Prix after a fiery first-lap crash for Romain Grosjean saw the race suspended for more than an hour.

Grosjean’s Haas split in half and exploded into a fireball after smashing through the steel barrier at the outside of Turn 3 at approximately 85mph. The Frenchman had clipped the front of Daniil Kvyat’s AlphaTauri while traveling at around 150mph, sending him spearing off the track.

His car pierced the barrier, the halo cleaving its way through metal struts, and the momentum snapped the rear of the chassis from the survival cell. Spilt fuel from the broken car then ignited the cockpit, engulfing Grosjean in flames.

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Lewis Hamilton has taken his 98th career pole with an assured performance at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 2020 champion-elect’s time of 1m27.264s was a new track record for this layout of the Bahrain International Circuit and more than 0.289s quicker than teammate Valtteri Bottas could muster to deliver a Mercedes front-row lockout.

Hamilton, who already guaranteed himself the championship with victory at the Turkish Grand Prix two weeks ago, said he felt liberated in the car with title already secured.

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Max Verstappen led the FP3 time sheet after a quiet final hour of practice ahead of qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Dutchman broke Lewis Hamilton’s Friday practice streak with a time of 1m28.355s, the fastest lap of the weekend so far. He did so despite his Red Bull RB16 appearing to suffer from rear wing instability while using DRS, a problem his mechanics will seek to rectify in the two-hour break before qualifying.

Notwithstanding the problem, Verstappen’s time was enough to beat Hamilton to top spot by 0.263s.

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Lewis Hamilton ended Friday practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix as the fastest man in a night session interrupted by red flags for an Alex Albon crash.

Hamilton lowered his pre-sunset benchmark by less than a tenth to 1m28.971s with lap on fresh softs in the final 15 minutes. It was enough to beat Max Verstappen to top spot by 0.347s, although the Dutchman’s best lap was logged on medium tires after he had been unable make gains on the softs.

Valtteri Bottas was third, 0.018s behind Verstappen on his own soft tire run early in the evening.

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Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of opening practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. The champion-elect’s best time of 1m29.033s was 0.449s quicker than Bottas and almost a full second ahead of the next-best car, Sergio Perez’s Racing Point.

The Mexican is leading the way in the battle for fourth in the drivers standings and forging a path for Racing Point, which heads the midfield in the battle for third.

Midfield rival Carlos Sainz was just 0.18s further back for McLaren, the two teams split by only six points.

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Lewis Hamilton claimed a record-equaling seventh world championship with a perfectly judged victory at a rainy Turkish Grand Prix.

The Briton started from sixth on the grid and struggled to improve his lot early in the race as he grappled with the full wet tire and a Mercedes car befuddled by the cool conditions and slick track. But after a switch to the intermediate tire and as a dry line began to form around Istanbul Park, Hamilton rediscovered the sublime mixed-conditions touch for which he’s so renowned.

The Briton’s win was sealed by a superbly managed 50-lap second stint to avoid the second stop required by so many of his rivals, guaranteeing him an unassailable lead of 31s over the field when he took the checkered flag.

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Lance Stroll will be the first non-Mercedes driver to start from pole this season after a perfectly judged performance in an extraordinary two-hour qualifying marathon for the Turkish Grand Prix.

In treacherously wet and slippery conditions the Canadian was flawless under pressure to beat Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen by 0.29s.

Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas qualified sixth and ninth respectively.

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Max Verstappen completed a practice clean sweep at the Turkish Grand Prix in a soaking wet FP3 in Istanbul.

The Red Bull Racing driver’s best effort was a 1m48.48s, enough to be 0.945s quicker than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and 1.5s ahead of teammate Alex Albon, but times meant little at the end of the barely representative hour of running that featured precious few flying laps.

Drizzle had set in at Istanbul Park 40 minutes before the start of final practice and intensified as the session progressed, turning conditions treacherous.

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