Valtteri Bottas set the pace in the second practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Red Bull remained in the hunt on Friday.
Max Verstappen had led a Red Bull one-two in FP1 and was just 0.044s adrift of 2017 Abu Dhabi winner Bottas as all the teams carried out qualifying simulations during the second session. With FP2 taking place at the same time (5 p.m.) as qualifying on Saturday, the hypersoft runs were representative and Daniel Ricciardo backed Verstappen up with the third quickest time, 0.192s off the 1m37.236s set by Bottas.
Lewis Hamilton was just 0.015s slower than Ricciardo in fourth place, with the Ferrari pair of Kimi Raikkonen in fifth and sixth respectively. It was an encouraging session for those hoping for a three-team battle on Sunday, with the top six separated by just 0.333s over one lap.
Haas enjoyed a strong second session as Romain Grosjean was seventh — 0.8s slower than Bottas — and Kevin Magnussen ninth, with Nico Hulkenberg splitting the pair. Esteban Ocon rounded out the top 10 for Force India, although his team remains under protest from Haas.
Having featured heavily in the first session, the exit curb at the penultimate corner caught out Verstappen at one stage as he ran too wide and his car bottomed out, leaving him unable to steer until the curb ended, and costing him some running while Red Bull checked the floor. Charles Leclerc — who was 15th overall — ran wide at the same corner but managed to bounce over the curb and rejoin with fewer concerns.
There were few other errors during the session, with Hamilton cutting the left-right-left section of Turns 11, 12 and 13 after outbraking himself, while Grosjean also went straight on at the end of the long straight ahead of Turn 9.
Fernando Alonso enjoyed a more competitive session after McLaren was low on the timing screens in FP1, ending up 13th ahead of the final race of his F1 career. However, it was a less productive evening for Stoffel Vandoorne in the other McLaren, with the Belgian — who will also leave F1 at the end of the season and race in Formula E — completing just 18 laps, around half the session average.