Formula 1

FP2: Hamilton leads Ocon and Bottas in second Abu Dhabi practice session, as Verstappen takes P4

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in the second practice session of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix while his championship rival Max Verstappen was fourth for Red Bull.

After Verstappen topped FP1, Hamilton set the FP2 benchmark of 1m23.691s under the floodlights on soft tyres, with 25 minutes remaining, then switched to mediums for his race simulation.

That put Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who had shot up with a lap of 1m24.034s just before Hamilton, in second place by 0.343s – and Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas third overall by a gap of 0.392s having previously drifted into the Turn 12 barriers on his medium-tyred laps. That slide saw him switch to soft tyres after just 15 minutes of the session.

Red Bull therefore rounded out the top five, Verstappen (six-tenths down on Hamilton) P4 ahead of Sergio Perez in fifth. The championship contender had a competitive time of 1m24.989s chalked off early in the session during his medium-tyred runs, switched to softs for his qualifying simulations, before keeping softs on for his long runs.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso underlined the team’s solid pace by finishing sixth, eight-tenths off the top spot.


Practice 2 results

1  Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes 1:23.691
2  Esteban OCON Alpine +0.343s
3  Valtteri BOTTAS Mercedes +0.392s
4  Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing +0.641s
5  Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +0.709s

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda was next on the board, just off Alonso, in P7, while team mate Pierre Gasly was 10th overall. Between them were the Ferraris: Charles Leclerc eighth but three-tenths ahead of team mate Carlos Sainz in P9.

Contrary to the other drivers, who started on mediums, McLaren’s pair of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo began this session on soft tyres. Norris soon had to pit for a new front wing having picked up damage but continued on to finish 13th, his team mate Ricciardo 11th and two-tenths ahead.

Outgoing Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi took 12th, splitting the McLarens, while team mate Kimi Raikkonen, 16th, tainted his final F1 Friday practice of the year by spinning and crashing at Turn 14. He incurred heavy damage and a red flag was shown just after the chequered flag had flown.

Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel took 14th ahead of team mate Lance Stroll in P15, the Canadian two-tenths off the German.

Categories: Formula 1, Practice Results

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