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ABU DHABI TEST: THAT'S A WRAP

Two hundred and 82 days after it was first fired up at February shakedown, the RB14 turned its final laps in Abu Dhabi today, with Pierre Gasly making his first appearance as our driver at the Yas Marina Circuit.

After Abu Dhabi Grand Prix podium-finisher Max Verstappen had undertaken driving duties on day one of the two-day post-season tyre test at the Gulf state circuit, Pierre got his first taste of the RB14 today, completing 129 laps of the 5.554km circuit and finishing with the day’s second quickest time, a 1:37.916 set on the 2019 equivalent of this year’s Hypersoft tyre.

The test in Abu Dhabi was organised to give teams a chance to compare this year’s compounds with those set to be used next year, though fans will have to get used to a whole new set of descriptors for those compounds. But we'll save that for another time...

Ferrari new boy Charles Leclerc took top spot in the session on the same compound, setting a time of 1:36.450 on his first day as a race driver with the Maranello outfit. Pierre’s best time came late in the session, as he made a couple of late improvement on a lap of 1:37.976 set earlier in the day. 

Over at Toro Rosso, Daniil Kvyat made his return to F1 action, 13 months after his last appearance, at the 2017 United States Grand Prix. Kvyat finished in P8 with a time of 1:38.862 and posted day’s largest lap total of 155.

Ferrari new boy Charles Leclerc took top spot in the session on the same compound, setting a time of 1:36.450 on his first day as a race driver with the Maranello outfit. Pierre’s best time came late in the session, as he made a couple of late improvement on a lap of 1:37.976 set earlier in the day. 

Over at Toro Rosso, Daniil Kvyat made his return to F1 action, 13 months after his last appearance, at the 2017 United States Grand Prix. Kvyat finished in P8 with a time of 1:38.862 and posted day’s largest lap total of 155.

Yesterday, Max kicked off the Team’s test activity finishing with the day’s fourth fastest time – a lap of 1:37.947. Over the course of the two days Max was the only driver to set a best time on anything other than a 2018 Hypersoft or a 2019 Compound 5 tyre. The Dutchman’s P4 time on Day 1 was set on a 2018 Ultrasoft and ended up as the sixth fastest time overall from the two days, just 0.031s off Pierre’s Compound 5 time.

Day 1’s quickest lap was posted by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. His time of 1:36.812 was set on a 2018 Hypersoft and ended up as the test’s second quickest time, 0.362s off Day 2 table-topper by 2019 team-mate Leclerc.

As the sun set on Yas, the packdown could finally begin, and after an epic year of racing, travel and hard work, the crew can finally call time on the 2018 F1 season.