World champion Max Verstappen clocked the fastest time in the second free practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, ahead of George Russell and Charles Leclerc.
After a first free practice session marked by the presence of many young drivers, most of them racing in Formula 2, it’s time for serious things this Friday afternoon at nightfall in Abu Dhabi. Under a temperature of 29°c, it was world champion Max Verstappen who set the fastest time, thus succeeding Lewis Hamilton, winner in the morning. The Red Bull driver signed one of his 24 laps in 1’25″146, a second and a half better than the Briton. A time that he managed after forty minutes, while Valtteri Bottas then Charles Leclerc had placed themselves at the top of the time sheet at the start of the session. But Verstappen ejected the Monegasque after a quarter of an hour and improved his time several times, with soft tyres.
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Gasly at the bottom of the classification
In the end, the Dutchman was 341 thousandths ahead of George Russell, second as in the first session, and Charles Leclerc. Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez complete the Top 5. Remember that the major challenge of this last Grand Prix of the season, the drivers’ and constructors’ titles having already been acquired, will be to know who will finish vice-world champion behind Max Verstappen. Leclerc and Perez are level on points, and the Monegasque seems to have a slight advantage over the Mexican in view of these first two free practice sessions. And the French in all this? Esteban Ocon took seventh place in these EL2s which took place without major incident, and Pierre Gasly 19th, he who will compete in his last race with AlphaTauri on Sunday. The future Alpine driver was the only one to use medium tires on Friday afternoon, which may explain his disappointing ranking. On Saturday, the third free practice session will be held at 11.30 a.m. French time, before qualifying at 3 p.m.