Red Bull driver Max Verstappen eclipsed the Mercedes of George Russell and Ferrari of Charles Leclerc during FP2 for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which took place in more representative evening conditions.

One of eight drivers to sit out first practice for various ‘rookie’ runs, Verstappen quickly got up to speed at the Yas Marina Circuit to produce a benchmark time of 1m 25.146s on the soft compound tyre.

Russell finished three-tenths back after encountering traffic in the final sector of his push lap on the red-marked rubber, prompting an apology from his engineer, to which he replied: “No problemo. As long as it’s not there tomorrow!”

Leclerc was another tenth adrift in third, followed closely by FP1 pace-setter Hamilton, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz – the latter another taking to the track for the first time this weekend and also left to rue traffic.

Practice 2 results

1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:25.146
2 George Russell Mercedes +0.341s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.453s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.615s
5 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing +0.706s

Alongside Verstappen and Sainz, there were returns to the cockpit for Lando Norris (McLaren), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), Nicholas Latifi (Williams), Fernando Alonso (Alpine), Mick Schumacher (Haas) and Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo).

Alonso and his Sebastian Vettel tribute helmet took eighth, just behind team mate Esteban Ocon, as McLaren pair Daniel Ricciardo and Norris placed ninth and 11th respectively, sandwiching Valtteri Bottas, who kept his Alfa Romeo in the top 10.

Ricciardo endured a tricky session, starting with a wild moment through the high-speed Turn 3, which prompted him to pit for set-up changes, before reporting trouble stopping on his marks in the pit lane due to a “slippery patch” and then being delayed by an oil leak.

Vettel survived a huge lock-up en route to 12th as his farewell weekend continued, edging out the other Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu, team mate Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri.

Williams’s charge was led by Alex Albon in 16th, with Haas pair Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen taking respective P17 and P18 spots – Schumacher pitting for floor checks after replays showed his car bouncing over the tarmac.

Pierre Gasly and Latifi brought up the rear in their AlphaTauri and Williams machines, a chunk away from team mates Tsunoda and Albon, with the field covered by just over two seconds around the 5.281km circuit.

Write A Comment