Lewis Hamilton has lapped quickest in Friday evening’s second practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Once again, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing had a driver apiece represented in the top-three positions on the timesheets.
Following Sebastian Vettel’s session-topping time of 1:39.006 in the afternoon’s FP1 session, the cooler twilight conditions propelled Hamilton to a lap record breaking 1:37.877 effort on the Ultra Soft tyres. The Briton edged Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by just over one tenth of a second, with Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo a similar margin further behind in third.
Despite breaking the Yas Marina Circuit’s lap record, Hamilton was unhappy with the balance of his Mercedes on longer runs.
Adrift of their respective teammates once more were Kimi Räikkönen and Valtteri Bottas, with the pair finishing fourth- and fifth-fastest ahead of the second Red Bull of Max Verstappen who failed to put together a representative Ultra Soft lap time.
With Esteban Ocon back behind the wheel for Force India after Mercedes protégé George Russell piloted the VJM10 in FP1, he and Sergio Pérez led the ‘best of the rest’ charge.
The pair finished ahead of ninth-placed Nico Hülkenberg, who put his Renault ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso.
Williams’ Felipe Massa ended his Friday evening eleventh-fastest in his last Formula 1 outing.
An early spin at Turn 20 didn’t disrupt Stoffel Vandoorne too much, with the Belgian lapping twelfth-fastest in his McLaren ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr. (Renault) and Lance Stroll (Williams).
Toro Rosso rookie Pierre Gasly was 15th-fastest, posting his quickest time of the session on the Super Soft Pirelli rubber.
The former GP2 Series champion was comfortably clear of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, who was having his first outing of the weekend after sitting out of the car in FP1 for Ferrari protégé Antonio Giovinazzi. The Dane finished the session ahead of Sauber duo Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson.
Bringing up the rear were two more drivers to hae a spin in the session. Brendon Hartley spun the second Toro Rosso at Turn 1, finishing 19th-fastest.
Slowest of all was Haas’ Romain Grosjean, whose earlier practice session featured a spin and a brush with the wall. The Frenchman’s second session lasted all of 12 laps; he had a spin at Turn 20 and stopped shortly after with a suspected electrical problem.
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