ABU DHABI GP: FREE PRACTICE

An update from the final free practice sessions of the season at the Yas Marina Circuit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Built on a low-lying man-made island, the Yas Marina Circuit features several very long straights but, just to complicate that, a final sector completely at odds with the two that go before it. It takes the concept of racing around a harbour to extremes, with the final third of the lap weaving in and out of the yacht basins, and under the magnificent Yas Hotel. 

It's also a race weekend where two of the practice sessions are carried out during early afternoon and the rest of the weekend at twilight, which means Free Practice One and Free Practice Three conditions are not very representive to Qualifying and the Race.

However, Friday afternoon saw the final practice sessions of the season get underway with shining blue skies and track temperatures at 34.9c for FP1. 

The first session, FP1, saw Max put in a total of 22 laps and a best time of 1:37.492, which saw him finish in P2. Alex was in P4 after posting a 1:38.084 from his 23 laps.

Free Practice Two was the first twilight track action of the weekend as the Bulls put in a session of long runs. Max finished in P5 with a time of 1:36.807 from 30 laps. Alex came back in P6 after his best time of 1:37.288 from 30 laps.

Free Practice Three, the final practice session of the year, saw Max come out on top. The Dutchman posted a best time of 1:36.566 completing 15 laps in total. Meanwhile Alex completed 17 laps with a best time of 1:36.927 putting him P4.

MAX VERSTAPPEN

First Practice Session: 1:37.492, Position: 2, Laps: 22

Second Practice Session: 1:36.807, Position: 5, Laps: 30

“Overall, it was a pretty decent Friday. I’m not entirely happy with the balance yet and there are of course still some things we need to look at and do better but overall I’m pretty pleased. Mercedes look very strong here again and will be hard to beat but I still think it will be close tomorrow. We will analyse the tyre data later today but overall there are no real surprises. The soft is quick over one lap and on race runs it drops off as expected.” 

ALEX ALBON

First Practice Session: 1:38.084, Position: 4, Laps: 23

Second Practice Session: 1:37.288, Position: 6, Laps: 30

“It was tricky out there but overall today was good and we’re getting there. It’s difficult to get the tyres working and there’s quite a lot of dust down so that’s why we saw a lot of cars spinning. The balance was ok and we know we need to improve a little bit here and there but Max looked quick so let’s see how things go tomorrow. I think I’ve got a little bit of fine tuning to do on my side, especially in sector three, but we’re chipping away. The Ferraris will of course be quick in qualifying but let’s see where we are come qualifying.”