Event: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Track: Yas Marina Circuit

Warm-up lap starts at: 17:00 Local | 14:00 CET | 13:00 UK | 05:00 LA | 22:00 Tokio

Max Verstappen got revance after last weeks quali in Saudi Arabia and now will start the race from pole. The Dutchman will start from pole for the 10th time this 2021 season. HIs title rival Hamilton will start next to him on P2. The big difference between both title contenders is the rubber they will start the race on. Hamilton will start on the medium, while Verstappen will start on softs. Which strategy is better is hard to tell. The difference between both tyres isn't that big. It will all come down to the start and tyre management tomorrow.

Verstappen will have the advantage on the soft tyres. But as we saw last week in Jeddah, Hamilton's starts were a lot better than Verstappen's.

F1 Starting Grid 2021 Abu Dhabi GP

PosNoDriverTeamLap TimePole gapTyres
133Max VerstappenRed Bull1:22,109🔴S
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:22,480+0,371s🟡M
34Lando NorrisMcLaren1:22,931+0,822s🔴S
411Sergio PérezRed Bull1:22,947+0,838s🔴S
555Carlos SainzFerrari1:22,992+0,883s🔴S
677Valtteri BottasMercedes1:23,036+0,927s🟡M
716Charles LeclercFerrari1:23,122+1,013s🔴S
822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri1:23,220+1,111s🟡M
931Esteban OconAlpine1:23,389+1,280s🔴S
103Daniel RicciardoMcLaren1:23,409+1,300s🔴S
1114Fernando AlonsoAlpine1:23,460+1,351sfree
1210Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri1:24,043+1,934sfree
1318Lance StrollAston Martin1:24,066+1,957sfree
1499Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo1:24,251+2,142sfree
155Sebastian VettelAston Martin1:24,305+2,196sfree
166Nicholas LatifiWilliams1:24,338+2,229sfree
1763George RussellWilliams1:24,423+2,314sfree
187Kimi RäikkönenAlfa Romeo1:24,779+2,670sfree
1947Mick SchumacherHaas1:24,906+2,797sfree

Nikita Mazepin, Haas (no.9) - Withdrawn due to positive COVID-19 PCR test.

Possible 2021 Abu Dhabi F1 GP Race Strategies

Although the Yas Marina circuit now has a faster and more flowing layout that puts more lateral energy through the tyres than before, a one-stopper is still the fastest way to approach the 58-lap race (the total distance has been increased by three laps compared to previous seasons, on account of the shorter lap).

Both medium to hard, as well as soft to hard, are about as quick as each other over the full race distance. Starting on the soft helps to enable a quick getaway – which could be an advantage on a circuit where track position is still important – but starting on the medium gives a bit more flexibility around the pit stop window.

A two-stopper is slower but might play a role if there is a safety car. In this case using all three compounds could be an option or (for the drivers with two medium sets available) an opening and closing stint on medium with a middle stint on hard.

F1 Starting Grid 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

5 Topics to focus on during the 2021 Abu Dhabi F1 GP

  1. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen took pole position on the P Zero Red soft C5, setting the track record for the remodelled Abu Dhabi circuit on his first Q3 run. Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez will start the race on the same compound, as both used the soft to set their fastest times in Q2. Meanwhile, Verstappen's title rival Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas will start on the medium C4.
  2. The two teams fighting for the world title have consequently opted for two different race strategies, with Red Bull aiming to take advantage of the speed of the soft at the start. If Verstappen manages to keep the lead, he will be advantaged by running in free air and not having to follow anyone: meaning that he can maintain a consistent load through the tyres and reduce overheating.
  3. In total, three drivers in the top 10 of the grid will be starting the race on the medium: both Mercedes plus the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda.
  4. Qualifying got underway with 27 degrees centigrade ambient and 29 degrees on track. Temperatures fell slightly over the course of the hour-long session as sunset turned into evening.
  5. All the drivers ran the soft tyres in Q1 and Q3 apart from Ferrari, which also used the medium for the first runs in Q1.
Isola still driving coronavirus ambulance

Mario Isola

Mario Isola – Pirelli's Head of F1 & Car Racing said: "This was an interesting qualifying session where tyre choice played a key role. We've seen a mixture of tactics, with the two title protagonists starting on different compounds and set to follow different strategies at the championship decider tomorrow. On paper, a one-stopper using the hard for the second stint is the fastest way. In theory, the soft should give a slight advantage off the line but the medium-hard combination should be a slightly faster option overall.

If Max Verstappen manages to keep the lead off the grid, he can run in free air and reduce overheating by maintaining a consistent load through the tyres. We're expecting a tactically intriguing race, where tyre management will definitely be a factor. Last but not least, I'd like to congratulate Prema and Oscar Piastri for winning the F2 title in such spectacular fashion earlier today, and Max Verstappen for being the poleman of the year, with 10 Pirelli Pole Position awards."

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18 F1 Fan comments on “F1 Starting Grid 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

  1. shroppyfly

    Really it should Et tu Bottas, not (Et tu Brutus), for refusing at the last minute to tow the Knights butt around the track, thats teamwork I suppose......

  2. Nobodysperfect

    I don't really understand why Hamilton isn't on pole. He topped the timesheets almost the whole weekend. Is it that he made a huge error or did Verstappen push out a flawless lap?

    • ReallyOldRacer

      Great team strategy and a cooperative PER giving the kid a perfect tow. Would have been nice for Checo to get a bit of a thx in the post race interview. Not sure why BOT and the knight didn't do the same. BOT reluctance or HAM insolence?

  3. f1award

    Hopefully it'll be a clean race. I think both drivers will be happy with their starting positions and to be honest I'd rather start on mediums from p2.
    Both brilliant drivers and if MV wins so be it, but he's just a bit to dirty for me.

  4. Jax

    I finally caught Peter Windsor in a bias. Now this guy is raving about Max's lap as if it was all driver skill. Totally ignoring the tow he got from Perez. I mean not even the slightest mention Lol. Max's first sector was not even green, it was yellow. Showing the power of the tow he got. For reference, his fastest time on softs before they put on the smaller rear wing was 1:22.8. So that wing alone wouldn't have shaved 7 tenths given his poor first sector time during the pole lap. Let's see how long his tyres last with lower rear downforce.
    I suspected Windsor's bias from the way he titled his posts, but finally got proof. He's entitled to his bias, but don't pass off his analysis as Objective.

    • Jinkstsa187

      Im really not sure the tow was worth that much was it? Maybe 2/10ths a second at best. Looking at the onboards he was quite far behind Perez. His second run in Q3 was also pretty quick as well. Think it was just a pretty amazing lap from Max.

      Regardless, Lewis is on the better strategy and if they both one stop, would say its Lewis's race to loose.

  5. ReallyOldRacer

    This is NOR's best chance for a win. Stick it in there...sir lewis and the kid are only interested in beating one another and will not mess with you. Go papaya!

  6. smokey

    Let's hope for a fair and clean race and that the red mist does not descend on Max until after the race! Or am I hoping for too much? It's time for Max to show he is capable of a clean race!

    • shroppyfly

      I understand what your saying Smokey , however, without analysing it to tenth degree, i'm pretty sure Max has already shown he can win in a clean race this yr

      But yes clean race important with no tricks ala Hammy slowing down while in front during Rosberg's yr


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