Williams driver George Russell was fastest in the Mercedes on the final day of the Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi. The Englishman set a 37.2 and completed well over two race distances to put himself nearly two tenths ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Russell’s time was a tenth off Valtteri Bottas’s time on Tuesday, however, Mercedes insisted during the grand prix weekend that Russell’s latest test was not a direct comparison with Bottas, who is out of contract after 2020. But it put him three seconds ahead of his own time set on Tuesday
Leclerc’s day wasn’t trouble-free, he went backwards into the wall following the second chicane on the back straight. It proved to be costly as he did not make it back out on to track. He told reporters, “This was our last day of track activity and I believe it was a very useful one for us, in spite of the incident that forced us to stop earlier than planned.”
“We did a lot of tests to evaluate the 2020 tyres in comparison with this year’s tyres and we have collected a lot of data that now needs to be analysed. Now we can relax a bit and even if I’ll never forget my first season with Ferrari I know that soon I’ll be raring to get back on track again.”
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll recovered from a pit lane incident going third. The Canadian recovered from a pit lane incident early in the day that was reportedly triggered by Carlos Sainz misjudging the width of his McLaren with aero rakes fitting.
Pierre Gasly was fourth for Toro Rosso and the last driver to lap within a second of Russell, with Sainz fifth. Esteban Ocon had a better second day as a Renault driver, completing a hundred and twenty-eight laps. The Frenchman going a second faster than his Tuesday time. Ocon finished sixth fastest.
Speaking about Ocon’s debut for Renault, sporting director Alan Permane said, “We worked through a lot of things, which was very useful. I was getting used to everything again and growing more comfortable on each run. There were some important details cleared on my side and we also identified some areas we need to work on over the winter.”
Red Bull’s Alex Albon was seventh fastest, he managed a hundred and thirty-nine laps finishing a second and nine-tenths off the pace. A number of reserve drivers were in action to, Pietro Fittipaldi was eighth managing a hundred and thirty-five laps.
Antonio Giovinazzi was the slowest of the regular drivers going two and a half seconds off the pace on the 2020 C5 compound. That put him four and a half tenths ahead of Nicholas Latifi and Roy Nissany. The Israeli was six tenths off the pace.