ABU DHABI GP – Valtteri Bottas fastest by two tenths in second practice as Mercedes have healthy margin over Red Bull

Testing & Race Reports

Valtteri Bottas was fastest in second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix going two tenths faster than teammate Lewis Hamilton. The Finn set his fastest time on the medium tyre which put him ahead of the seven times after they both were unable to improve on the soft tyre.

The duo both ran wide during the soft tyre run leading to them being deleted while they were slower as they encountered traffic. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen encountered the same issue, he finished the session third seven-tenths off the pace.

Mercedes are likely to remain the team to beat this weekend, they have excelled around Yas Marina since 2014 winning every race. The gap is large and one which you need to believe will narrow when they give it everything in qualifying tomorrow evening.

Hamilton on his return appearing quick, he tends not to show his full hand on Friday, he should be still considered the favourite winning the last five races before his positive coronavirus test forced him to miss last weekends race in Bahrain.

Verstappen’s time was eight tenths off, but he also had his fastest time deleted for track limits. It is also difficult to compare the times as the session was interrupted by red flags, like Hamilton the dutchman had his time deleted for exceeding track limits.

Alex Albon was fourth fastest almost two tenths behind his teammate Verstappen. Albon goes into this weekend needing to match the Dutchman to guarantee his place at Red Bull for next season. The session was interrupted with twenty minutes when Kimi Raikkonen’s car caught fire during the long runs at the entry to Turn Five.

Raikkonen was forced to stop at the side of the track, as his Alfa Romeo caught fire, under his direction the marshals soon put out the flames as he pointed out the areas that needed extinguishing.

McLaren’s Lando Norris was fifth fastest, going six hundredths faster than the Renault of Esteban Ocon, a slightly larger gap than the rest of the midfield group. Ocon was just a thousandth ahead of the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, two thousandths ahead of Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo who set identical lap times.

Lance Stroll was tenth fastest, but under two tenths behind Norris, this could create another tight qualifying session in the midfield behind Mercedes and Red Bull. This is a battle very important for the midfield as they fight for third in the constructor’s championship.

Daniil Kvyat was eleventh fastest going three tenths faster than his Alpha Tauri teammate Pierre Gasly, in-between them was the McLaren of Carlos Sainz who was a hundredth behind Kvyat. Despite stopping at the side of the track, Raikkonen managed fourteenth ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

The Ferrari powered cars were expected to struggle around Yas Marina, apart from Leclerc’s eighth, the occupied fourteenth to seventeenth. Vettel was over half a second behind his teammate in fifteenth, he was three tenths ahead of Kevin Magnussen.

George Russell once again had the better of Nicolas Latifi in eighteenth three tenths faster, they were spilt by the Haas of Pietro Fittipaldi. The Brazilian two tenths behind Russell.

Russell also experiencing engine gremlins with his Friday PU, it appeared to be an electrical issue on the hybrid system.

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