Abu Dhabi GP: Verstappen tops FP2 from Russell, Leclerc

Max Verstappen beat George Russell and Charles Leclerc as Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes split the top times in practice for Formula 1's 2022 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Abu Dhabi GP: Verstappen tops FP2 from Russell, Leclerc
Listen to this article

Lewis Hamilton took fourth in FP2, where all the regular 2022 drivers were at the wheels of their machines after eight even made way for eight young or reserve drivers in FP1.

For the one-hour only practice session that runs in comparable temperatures to qualifying and the race, Zhou Guanyu and Sebastian Vettel led the pack out of the pits, with the early running completed on the medium and hard tyres, the majority of the drivers using the yellow-walled mediums.

Vettel passed Zhou on their out laps and duly established the first place benchmark at 1m28.120s using the mediums, which Valtteri Bottas then beat with his first lap on the hards, a 1m27.717s.

Leclerc then forged ahead on a 1m26.645s, which stood as the quickest time until just over a quarter of the session had been completed, at which point Verstappen moved ahead on a 1m25.449s using the softs.

Nearly 10 minutes later, the world champion went for a second run on the softs and improved the top time to a 1m25.335s, at which point his rivals began to trickle out using the same compound that will be critical for setting the grid on Saturday.

Sergio Perez slotted in behind his Red Bull teammate in second but was just over half-a-second down having lost 0.3s of that in the final sector.

Carlos Sainz had to abandon his first lap on the softs after coming across a Haas car running slowly on the racing line ahead of the Turn 9 long left-hand hairpin at the top end of the Yas Marina track.

Although he was able to get another run in on the softs, Sainz ended up as the slowest of the top runners in sixth, 0.786s off the top spot.

Running behind his teammate but without a traffic problem, Leclerc used his first go on the softs to shade Perez and run 0.264s adrift of Verstappen, before the two Mercedes took to the track on the softs just past the halfway point.

Russell, despite an oversteer snap out of the long, downhill Turn 5 left-hand hairpin at the bottom end of the circuit and having to jink through traffic in the final turns, moved ahead of Leclerc with a 1m25.487s.

Next came Hamilton, who had had to abandon his first lap on the mediums early in the session after remaining in his garage for the opening 10 minutes as Kevin Magnussen was running slowly on the racing.

Hamilton set the session's quickest time in the opening sector on his qualifying simulation run on the softs and matched Verstappen to the end of the second sector, but lost a big chunk in the final sector and wound up behind Leclerc.

After this, Verstappen, who had been in the pits for the previous 15 minutes, re-emerged on another set of softs to go for another flier with just over a third of the session remaining.

Verstappen could not topple Hamilton in the opening sector, but did go quicker than his own established quicker time in the middle sector.

He lost time in the final third compared to his personal best, but nevertheless set the session's fastest time on a 1m15.146s.

This meant his final advantages over Russell, Leclerc and Hamilton were 0.341s, 0.453s and 0.615s.

Perez ended up 0.706s slower than Verstappen, as he was not able to improve his personal best despite getting a final qualifying sim at the same time as his teammate.

The rest of the session was dedicated to the typical FP2 race-data long-running, which included a notable practice pitstop for Sainz as he got the green light to exit his pitbox while a Ferrari mechanic still had his hands on the newly fitted right front.

Sainz stopped just past his pitbox and radioed his team to ask if the mechanic was OK, which Ferrari confirmed he was.

The long runs also contained worrying data for Ferrari, as it suggested the red team is so far significantly off the pace in terms of race pace compared to Red Bull, which led the way on the medium tyres with Verstappen.

Leclerc at one point even asked his team "why are we slow?", which was given a reply of: "Our pace is not great compared to the others".

Behind the drivers from the top three squads on ultimate pace came Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso from Alpine, which is aiming to secure fourth in the constructors' championship ahead of McLaren.

But the orange team did have Daniel Ricciardo slot in just under a tenth slower than Alonso's best – in what was an eventful session for the Australian.

He had to save a big snap through the rapid Turn 3 right on his opening lap on the mediums, before noting that his team's pitbox includes a slippery patch of new concrete that meant he slid long past his marks at one point in the early running.

Valtteri Bottas closed out the top 10 ahead of Lando Norris and Vettel, whose final F1 FP2 session included a big lock-up and slide into the Turn 6 runoff between the track's main straights during his qualifying simulation running in the session's middle phase.

Cla Driver Chassis Engine Laps Time Gap
1 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull Red Bull 25 1'25.146  
2 United Kingdom George Russell Mercedes Mercedes 27 1'25.487 0.341
3 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari Ferrari 30 1'25.599 0.453
4 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 22 1'25.761 0.615
5 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull Red Bull 26 1'25.852 0.706
6 Spain Carlos Sainz Ferrari Ferrari 31 1'25.932 0.786
7 France Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 28 1'26.038 0.892
8 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault 29 1'26.043 0.897
9 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes 14 1'26.124 0.978
10 Finland Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari 29 1'26.300 1.154
11 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 28 1'26.377 1.231
12 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes 28 1'26.395 1.249
13 China Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo Ferrari 30 1'26.479 1.333
14 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes 27 1'26.547 1.401
15 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Red Bull 30 1'26.680 1.534
16 Thailand Alex Albon Williams Mercedes 29 1'26.750 1.604
17 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari 26 1'26.839 1.693
18 Denmark Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 25 1'26.915 1.769
19 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Red Bull 29 1'27.036 1.890
20 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 30 1'27.262 2.116
shares
comments

Abu Dhabi GP practice as it happened

F1 results: Max Verstappen fastest in Abu Dhabi GP practice

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
Alex Kalinuackas

Assessing Hamilton's Mercedes stint Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Why new-look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

Why new-look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
Jonathan Noble

Why new-look Haas is a litmus test Why new-look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
Alex Kalinauckas

Assessing Wolff's Mercedes influence The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
GP Racing

The line-up Ocon, Gasly may emulate The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
GP Racing

Who were the fastest F1 drivers? Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
Adam Cooper

Why Hulkenberg is ready for return Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
Jonathan Noble

Why Vasseur relishes the pressure Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
Jake Boxall-Legge

F1 2023's crucial tech changes The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023