Hamilton Sets Track Record In Abu Dhabi

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Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottes and Lewis Hamilton swept the front row for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. (Wolfgang Wilhelm photo)

YAS ISLAND, Abu Dhabi — Lewis Hamilton set a track record as he and Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, swept the front row during qualifying for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Hamilton, who has already secured his fifth world championship, guided his Mercedes to a best lap of 1:34.794 to claim his 11thpole of the season.

“I am just so grateful for the team and everyone that put it together,” Hamilton said. “To my guys, my mechanics for what they’ve done for me for the last three years or whatever it might be. Their diligence, the guys back at the factory, I am really so grateful to everyone.

“Today was so much fun to be able to go out there and express myself and push the car the way you want,” he added. “There is no better feeling. To come back and see the reception from the fans – I really do appreciate it.”

Bottas was just a tick behind with a lap of 1:34.956. It marked the fifth consecutive year the Mercedes team swept the front row at the Yas Marinas Circuit — the first time any team has ever accomplished that.

The Ferrari tandem of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen claimed the second row on the grid for Sunday’s season finale, while the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen will start from row three.

Romain Grosjean drove his Haas F1 entry to seventh qualifying position.