Lewis Hamilton reacts after Verstappen crucially pips him to Abu Dhabi GP pole

Lewis Hamilton remained upbeat despite seeing fierce rival Max Verstappen clinch pole position for this weekend's title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Mercedes superstar Hamilton and Red Bull's Verstappen go head to head on Sunday with the 2021 Formula One world championship on the line.

The Yas Marina Circuit is notoriously tricky to overtake and crucially, Verstappen romped to his 10th pole position of the season to ensure he will start the showdown at the front of the grid.

Frustratingly for Hamilton, the seven-time world champion missed out on top spot but he takes confidence from the fact he is just behind his rival in second on the grid.

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Hamilton, speaking immediately after the session, said: "Max did a great lap today, we just couldn't compete with that time at the end there.

"We couldn't answer to that lap, but we're in a good position with our tyres tomorrow. The last lap was nice and clean, I just couldn't go any quicker."

Verstappen, on the other hand, was understandably delighted to have clinched top spot.

He said: "It's of course an amazing feeling. I'm incredibly happy with this, this is what we wanted, but it's never easy, especially with their form in the last few races.

Meanwhile Nico Rosberg, the last driver to take Lewis Hamilton all the way and win a Formula One title battle, knows what the Briton and Red Bull rival Max Verstappen are going through in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

Even if they manage to keep a lid on emotions, the retired 2016 world champion was sure both would be feeling huge pressure.

"I was in such a title battle in 2016 and it's a lot, just the intensity. The nerves," Rosberg, then Hamilton's team mate at dominant Mercedes, told Sky Sports.

"Someone like Max, from outside sometimes you think `This guy doesn't even get nervous' but that's not true. Inside we're still all humans… and both of them will be on the edge of their seats this weekend."

Rosberg, who retired days after taking the title in Abu Dhabi, said sleeping in the days before the showdown was "an absolute disaster.

"It was like two, maximum three, hours per night. I couldn't even eat properly. The food wouldn't go down. So I had to revert back to my childhood food which was Frosties and milk," he recalled.

"That was the only thing that would go down.

"And it's all these troubles that you are then fighting throughout the weekend, you just have to try and spare the energy to when it matters."

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