Formula One: Verstappen Tops Opening Abu Dhabi GP Practice, Lewis Hamilton Finishes Fifth

Max Verstappen topped the instances forward of Valtteri Bottas in Friday’s opening free observe on the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Dutchman clocked a finest lap in 1min 37.378sec in his Red Bull to outpace the Finn, in his Mercedes, by 0.034 seconds, whereas seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton was fifth on his return from his Covid-19-inflicted absence.

Esteban Ocon was third for Renault, 1.1 seconds off the tempo, forward of Alex Albon within the second Red Bull, Hamilton and the 2 Racing Points of Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez, contemporary from his maiden win in final weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

Daniil Kvyat was eighth forward of Alpha Tauri team-mate Pierre Gasly and Kimi Raikkonen of Alfa Romeo.

The session ran in excellent climate situations with a blue sky, heat sunshine and an air temperature of 25 levels. The monitor was 39 levels and the groups had been set to make use of the softest vary of tyres accessible from Pirelli on the graceful Yas Marina circuit.

Hamilton’s return for Mercedes, preceded by his arrival on the paddock in an attention grabbing ‘zebra’ go well with, meant George Russell returned to Williams, but it surely was Mick Schumacher’s look in FP1 for Haas that attracted consideration too together with Robert Kubica’s attainable swansong run for Alfa Romeo.

ALSO READ | Kevin Magnussen Treating Abu Dhabi GP as His Last Formula One Race

On a weekend of farewells, Vettel’s departure from Ferrari topped the listing after his self-declared ‘failure’ with the Italians, having aimed to assert one other title with them in his six-year keep.

His buddy and rival Hamilton was fast to hitch the early fray for some ‘welcome back’ laps, however brake issues quickly had him referred to as again to the pits as Bottas went took the early initiative.

Ricciardo was additionally halted, after solely 23 minutes, when he got here to a halt on the again straight. His stranded Renault was rescued below Virtual Safety Car (VSC) situations earlier than Verstappen went quickest just for Bottas to reply with a decided lap.

After repairs, Hamilton returned to motion and shared a waved greeting with team-mate Bottas on the straight as he labored with the ‘hard’ compound tyres.

Verstappen rose once more to high the instances forward of Bottas, however in a session run in daylight sunshine, it was of little use as an indicator of what lies forward within the twilight zone, when qualifying and the race happen.

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