Abu Dhabi, FP2: Bottas tops second practice, red flags for Räikkönen fire
Hamilton 2nd, Verstappen 3rd
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas set the pace in the second free practice session for this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a session that was red-flagged when Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo caught fire.
The opening phase of the 90-minute session was devoted to running on a prototype Pirelli C4 compound tyres with drivers completing a mandatory eight laps on the development rubber.
But all three leading drivers failed to set their best times on the soft compound tyre as a Turn 1 off, track limits and encountering slower traffic cost the trio respectively.
When teams moved back to the compounds on offer this weekend, Lewis Hamilton quickly moved to the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:36.479s set on medium tyres.
Bottas usurped his returning team-mate, however, with a lap of a 1:36.276s on the same compound and it wasz a lap that remained the benchmark until the chequered flag.
Hamilton moved to the soft compound for a qualifying simulation but his best time on the red-banded tyres was deleted for a track limits infringement in the final corner.
Bottas then went out for his run but his flying lap was also compromised when made a small mistake in the first corner and ran wide.
The mistakes presented the first session’s fastest man, Max Verstappen, with an opportunity to score a day one double but during his flying lap he came across the slower Racing Point car of Sergio Perez who was on a longer run.
Verstappen did manage another run on softs but this time he too had the time deleted for running wide at the final turn.
The teams then switched to long runs but those were interrupted with 20 minutes left on the clock when Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo caught fire midway through a lap. The Finn pulled over but the rear of his car was swiftly engulfed in flames and the red flags were shown.
The session was halted for more than 10 minutes and when it was restarted there were less than five minutes on the clock. Hamilton exited his garage for another short run but he stopped in front of the Haas garage with a clutch problem. With the aid of his mechanics he was able to get going again but there was little to gain from the remaining minutes.
With the top three of Bottas, Hamilton and Verstappen all having set their best times on medium tyres, the best of the soft tyres runners was Alex Albon. The Red Bull driver also had a number of laps deleted for track limits violations but he eventually posted a best time of 1:37.263 to take fourth place ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris.
Renault’s Esteban Ocon took sixth ahead of Pérez, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll rounding out the top 10.
There was trouble in the session, too, for George Russell. The Williams had had to bring his Williams back to the pitlane with a suspected MGU-K problem.
|01||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes W11||1:36.276||28|
|02||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes W11||1:36.479||30|
|03||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Honda RB16||1:37.046||30|
|04||Alex Albon||Red Bull Honda RB16||1:37.263||33|
|05||Lando Norris||McLaren Renault MCL35||1:37.438||29|
|06||Esteban Ocon||Renault RS20||1:37.505||30|
|07||Sergio Perez||Racing Point Mercedes RP20||1:37.506||35|
|08||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari SF1000||1:37.508||31|
|09||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault RS20||1:37.508||29|
|10||Lance Stroll||Racing Point Mercedes RP20||1:37.560||29|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||AlphaTauri Honda AT01||1:37.596||32|
|12||Carlos Sainz||McLaren Renault MCL35||1:37.616||31|
|13||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri Honda AT01||1:37.900||32|
|14||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39||1:38.068||28|
|15||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari SF1000||1:38.198||32|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari VF-20||1:38.504||34|
|17||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Ferrari C39||1:38.564||31|
|18||George Russell||Williams Mercedes FW43||1:38.817||24|
|19||Pietro Fittipaldi||Haas Ferrari VF-20||1:39.027||25|
|20||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes FW43||1:39.132||31|