Verstappen fastest in Abu Dhabi FP2

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Verstappen fastest in Abu Dhabi FP2

Formula 1

Verstappen fastest in Abu Dhabi FP2


Max Verstappen has ended Friday practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with he fastest time after rocketing to top spot in FP2 in Yas Marina.

Verstappen took control of the time sheet a quarter of the way through the session on his first soft tire run but improved that time twice more, including with another fresh set of tires, to secure top spot with a time of 1m 25.146s.

It gave him a 0.341s buffer over George Russell’s Mercedes, which was suffering significant cuts in engine power down the straights before switching to race runs in the second half of the session.

Charles Leclerc was 0.453s adrift in his Ferrari to take third. The Monegasque was struggling for race pace, noting over team radio that his car felt slow, a sentiment echoed by his engineer.

Lewis Hamilton was fourth in the sister Mercedes at 0.615s adrift, while Sergio Perez was 0.7s slower than his teammate to take fifth ahead of Carlos Sainz, the Spaniard losing most of his time in the final sector.

FP2 is the only practice session of the weekend run in the same twilight conditions as the qualifying and the race, with the other two practice hours held during the daylight of the afternoon.

Race runs were therefore a key priority for the hour, with most drivers focusing on the medium compound. Five driers sampled the hards in the sessions’ second half.

The Alpine cars rebounded from a tricky first practice session to end the day seventh and eighth, with Esteban Ocon ahead of Fernando Alonso at around 0.9s off the pace.

They were closely shadowed by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in ninth, who was less than 0.1s further back despite completing just 13 laps in his problemed car.

The Australian’s MCL36 first required a suspension change after a lairy moment at turn 3, but shortly after rejoining the session he had to retire with a suspected oil leak, smoke spewing from the back of his car. It mean he was unable to undertake a race simulation in the second half of the hour.

Valtteri Bottas slotted into 10th, splitting Ricciardo from his McLaren teammate, Lando Norris, in 11th.

Sebastian Vettel was 12th for Aston Martin ahead of Zhou Guanyu and Lance Stroll.

Yuki Tsunoda was the fastest AlphaTauri driver, securing 15th ahead of Williams driver Alex Albon and Haas teammates Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen.

Pierre Gasly was 19th after failing to string together a soft-tire run during the hour. He was ahead of only Nicholas Latifi, who propped up the time sheet.