FP2: Verstappen leads Russell in second practice in Abu Dhabi

By Balazs Szabo on

After sitting out the first one-hour session earlier in the day, newly-crowned double world champion Max Verstappen set the benchmark in the second practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Mercedes leaving another eye-catching impression during the twilight second practice.

Although he missed the opening session, reigning world champion Max Verstappen returned to action in full force in the twilight second practice to set the benchmark by producing a time of 1m 25.146s on the soft compound tire. The Dutchman also seemed to be in a league of his own in the closing stage of the session when drivers focused on heavy fuel runs.

His teammate Sergio Perez also appeared to be quick on his race simulation, but he did not manage to go better than seventh on his qualifying simulation. On the back of his first grand prix victory, Mercedes driver George Russell finished the session as the nearest rival of Verstappen, going three tenths of a second slower than the Dutchman.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was almost half a second adrift of the day’s benchmark on a day when his SF-75 appeared to struggle for pace both in low and high fuel trim.

His teammate Carlos Sainz got his Ferrari back for the second one-hour session after handing it over to the Scuderia’s junior Robert Shwartzman as part of Formula One’s new rule that obliges teams to run drivers in at least two FP1s, who have not completed more than two races over the course of the last two years.

Lewis Hamilton completed the second lowest mileage in Free Practice 2, but looked quick, although his own benchmark was only enough for P4.

Alongside Verstappen and Sainz, there were returns to the cockpit for Lando Norris (McLaren), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Nicholas Latifi (Williams), Fernando Alonso (Alpine), Mick Schumacher (Haas) and Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) in the second session.

Alpine completed a successful second practice with Esteban Ocon and Alonso taking seventh and eighth in the final standings.

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo endured a tricky session. The Australian, who is set to leave Formula One after the current season, took ninth, but only notched up a total of 13 laps due to an oil leak. His teammate Lando Norris was three tenths of a second slower, but his day was more productive thanks to his tally of 28 laps.

Sebastian Vettel’s farewell weekend continued with the German finishing the second practice in P12, two places in front of his teammate Lance Stroll.

Results

Pos. GP Abu Dhabiprevious

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