Max Verstappen fastest in Abu Dhabi qualifying for Australian’s last race

• Verstappen’s Red Bull will start his final race at Yas Marina from pole • Canadian GP winner Daniel Ricciardo third Daniel Ricciardo has continued Red Bull’s three-year domination of qualifying with a second-place…

Max Verstappen fastest in Abu Dhabi qualifying for Australian’s last race

• Verstappen’s Red Bull will start his final race at Yas Marina from pole • Canadian GP winner Daniel Ricciardo third

Daniel Ricciardo has continued Red Bull’s three-year domination of qualifying with a second-place finish behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi.

Of the 20 drivers who raced, the 30-year-old Ricciardo – who won the Canadian Grand Prix – was third. It will be the Australian’s last race in the desert before he jumps ship to Renault. He is expected to join Verstappen at Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso next season as they replace the current Honda engine with the Renault power unit.

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Ricciardo last season qualified third at his home race behind two Red Bulls and, much to his relief, the 29-year-old Verstappen topped the grid for a fourth consecutive race in his final outing at the track. Verstappen said: “We’ve been on the podium three years now so it’s a proud feat and I’m happy to put that badge on the front of the car. It means a lot, especially for a young driver and it’s so close. We’ve made a lot of progress in the past two years and we’re on the upward curve. I’m very proud of that.”

Nico Hülkenberg finished sixth and Esteban Ocon seventh, as all of the Force India drivers went to the back row of the grid.

Fernando Alonso, on his final run in a McLaren before retirement, was 12th for a fifth-place finish. The Spaniard is expected to race for McLaren’s sister team, Honda, next season as he bids to help them win one of the world championships and they try to close the gap on the Mercedes engines they now share with Renault.

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