After 21 epic races, the Formula 1 world championship is still on the line heading into the final race of the season this afternoon.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are tied at 369.5 points, the Briton is seeking a record eighth world title and his rival is chasing a maiden crown.
Verstappen currently has the lead, ahead of Hamilton by virtue of having won nine races to the Mercedes driver’s eight, and if they both finished out of the points, or didn’t finish at all, it would be the Red Bull man who claimed. the championship.
That has led to both drivers being warned about aggressive tactics ahead of this afternoon’s race, as the pair have met numerous times throughout the season, including in Saudi Arabia last week.
Verstappen is in pole position having qualified 0.371 seconds faster than Hamilton on Saturday.
Follow all the action LIVE with the Standard Sport blog below …
Qualifying summary: Verstappen on pole
It’s an advantage for Max Verstappen after the Red Bull man put his car on pole for the decider this afternoon.
Helped by a tow from his teammate Sergio Pérez, Verstappen set a lap early in Q3 that no one could come close to, not even the Dutchman himself with his last effort, as he clinched his tenth pole of the season.
Lewis Hamilton was forced to settle for second place, and the title can now be decided by strategy. The British driver will start the race on medium tires, with Verstappen ahead of him on the softs.
Verstappen punctured his tires in Q2 and that seemed to give Hamilton the lead, who had the pace during practice sessions as Mercedes looked ready to seal the pole.
But the Dutchman rescued his mistake with a lap of 1 minute and 22.109 seconds at the Yas Marina circuit to put his Red Bull on top.
Hamilton tried to hit him from pole as the clock ticked in the final qualifying session of the season. But he was 0.371 seconds slower and will start second in his Mercedes alongside his rival.
Lando Norris for McLaren was a surprise third, beating both Verstappen and Hamilton’s teammates. Sergio Pérez was fourth for Red Bull, followed by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and finally Hamilton’s outgoing Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in a disappointing sixth.
The layout of the land
I’m sure you’re more than familiar with how things are as of this afternoon, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock …
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are tied for the top of the championship with 369.5 points, but it is the Dutchman who leads by having won one more race than his rival.
The upshot is that whoever crosses the line first will be the world champion, unless they both lose points entirely, in which case Verstappen will take the crown, as he will if they both fail to finish.
How to watch
Television channel: The race will be broadcast LIVE on Sky Sports F1, Main Event and Showcase. Sunday’s Grand Prix coverage begins at 11.30am. M. Channel 4 will also broadcast the race for free after agreeing to a deal with Sky and its coverage begins at 12.30pm.
Live broadcast: Sky Sports subscribers can also stream the action live online through the SkyGo app. The race will also be streamed live on the Channel 4 website.
Hello and welcome to Standard Sport’s LIVE coverage of this afternoon’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Nicknamed the ‘Decider in the Desert’, title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen reach the final tied for points at the top of the championship standings.
We will have all the preparation before what promises to be a thriller.