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ABU DHABI GP: FREE PRACTICE

An update from free practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the Bulls get up and running at the Yas Marina Circuit.

The Yas Marina Circuit remains the gold standard for flyaway facilities. The pit garages are roomy and (beloved by the crews) air conditioned. The paddock buildings all back onto the marina, and most teams make use of them to host rooftop parties and gatherings – but the paddock itself is tight, which makes it a good place for end-of-season intrigue, or simply wishing a fond farewell to people from other teams you may not see again before February.

For the final Friday of the season the Teams were greeted with typical Abu Dhabi heat, with the first session of the day starting at one o'clock in the afternoon sun, before moving into the twilight hours for the second session.

Free Practice One saw a promising start to the weekend, with the Bulls topping the timesheet. Max finished the session in P1, with a 1:38.491 after putting in 27 laps. Daniel was P2, setting a 1:38.945 from his 19 laps.

As darkness fell and the floodlights came on, the Bulls took to the track for Free Practice Two. Max was P2 after setting a time of 1:37.280, from 31 laps. Daniel wasn't far behind in P3, with a time of 1:37.428 after 31 laps.

Saturday's final practice session saw Max complete 15 laps with a best time of 1:37.747 which saw the Dutchman finish in P4. Meanwhile Daniel completed 11 laps with a fastest time of 1:38.090 for P6 before a suspected water pressure issue struck. The Team have recovered the car and are investigating further. 

Following on from Friday's sessions, Max said:

“The car seems to be working really well again, better than expected just like we experienced in Brazil. I felt positive right from the start which usually results in a good Friday performance. It was mostly smooth apart from a little moment I had and bottomed out on the long kerb. Luckily there wasn’t too much damage so we carried on as usual. I don’t expect these kerbs to be an issue during the race as we should not be going that wide with our line. As we have seen already this season we are good at managing the tyres. I would expect this to be another circuit where tyre management is key to a good result, hopefully it plays into our hands again. Both long runs and short runs look good for the tyres so I’m pleased with how it has gone so far. A good final Friday of 2018, now time to focus on qualifying."

Summarising his day, Daniel added:

"It was a pretty good Friday and it went well for both cars. Hopefully it will stay the same tomorrow as it’s all very close at the moment. The tyres are certainly degrading in the heat which I think will help us. The hypersoft shows a bit more wear on the fronts and the ultra and super has more on the rears. We’re normally in as good a shape as anyone, if not better, with the tyres so it will be important to stay on top of that and take advantage during the race. We looked strong on the long runs today and although there is still a bit to find on the short runs, the exciting thing is that there’s more to come from the car. Since Monaco I’ve been hoping for a strong weekend and now this is my last chance with the Team, I want it even more. It’s only Friday so I don’t know what’s possible in the race yet, but hopefully we can be somewhere on the podium if we perform well in qualifying."