Abu Dhabi, FP1: Hamilton tops Mercedes 1-2 in opening practice for F1 season finale
Leclerc 3rd, Perez 4th
Lewis Hamilton led Mercedes to a 1-2 finish in the first Formula 1 practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with the seven-time champion beating team-mate George Russell by just over two tenths of a second. Charles Leclerc was third for Ferrari, just under a tenth ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez.
Leclerc and Pérez, who are locked on 290 points each in the battle for P2 in the Drivers’ Championship, set the pace in the early part of the session, with both on soft tyres, but in the final quarter hour the Mercedes drivers bolted on the red-banded tyres and jumped to the top of the order. Hamilton’s best lap 1:26.633 was good enough to put him 0.220s clear of Russell who took his maiden F1 at last weekend’s São Paulo Grand Prix.
Leclerc’s best of the session was 0.035s off Russell and Pérez’s soft tyre run netted him a best time of 1:26.967, seven hundredths of a second off his Ferrari rival.
In an impressive P5 at the end of the session was Red Bull reserve Liam Lawson. Sitting in for Max Verstappen, Lawson put in a lap of 1:27.201 to find himself just 0.568s off Hamilton’s pace.
The New Zealander, one of seven young drivers taking part in the session, was followed by Sebastian Vettel who is making is set to make 299th and final grand prix start before retiring at the end of the weekend, but the German was followed by another youngster, Robert Shwartzman who ended the session just under eight hundredths of a second off Vettel and six tenths off P1.
The Ferrari driver, who was deputising for Carlos Sainz, was followed by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ Alexander.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, who finished 11th and 13th respectively were split by Alpine’s Esteban Oco, while Robert Kubica, who deputised for Zhou Guanyu, took 14th spot.
Logan Sargeant took another step towards gaining his FIA Superlicence with an appearance for the Williams team he hopes to join next year and the US driver finished 15th, ahead of São Paulo polesitter Kevin Magnussen of Haas. The Dane was followed by Haas reserve Pietro Fittipaldi, while McLaren IndyCar driver Pato O’Ward made his F1 race weekend debut, in place of Lando Norris and finished 18th.
Alpine junior programme driver Jack Doohan and F2 champion and Aston Martin hopeful Felipe Drugovich took the final two spots on the timesheet.
|01||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W13||1:26.633||21|
|02||George Russell||Mercedes W13||1:26.853||30|
|03||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari F1-75||1:26.888||22|
|04||Sergio Perez||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:26.967||23|
|05||Liam Lawson||Red Bull RBPT RB18||1:27.201||22|
|06||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:27.268||20|
|07||Robert Shwartzman||Ferrari F1-75||1:27.429||24|
|08||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||1:27.619||21|
|09||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:27.655||23|
|10||Alex Albon||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:27.840||26|
|11||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||1:27.845||28|
|12||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault A522||1:27.891||27|
|13||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri RBPT AT03||1:27.991||28|
|14||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C42||1:28.064||22|
|15||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes FW44||1:28.098||23|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:28.142||20|
|17||Pietro Fittipaldi||Haas Ferrari VF-22||1:28.204||26|
|18||Pato O’Ward||McLaren Mercedes MCL36||1:28.350||22|
|19||Jack Doohan||Alpine Renault A522||1:28.484||25|
|20||Felipe Drugovich||Aston Martin Mercedes AMR22||1:28.672||23|