FP2: Hamilton picks up the pace after dark in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
© XPB 

Lewis Hamilton took charge of second free practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, setting a new track record under the floodlights. The Mercedes was 0.149s faster than Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.


Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Free Practice 2 results

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.877s 38
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:38.026s + 0.149s 36
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:38.180s + 0.303s 33
4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:38.352s + 0.475s 34
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:38.537s + 0.660s 33
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:38.894s + 1.017s 33
7 Sergio Pérez Force India 1:39.323s + 1.446s 32
8 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:39.333s + 1.456s 35
9 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:39.529s + 1.652s 40
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:39.559s + 1.682s 27
11 Felipe Massa Williams 1:39.635s + 1.758s 35
12 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:39.671s + 1.794s 30
13 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:40.201s + 2.324s 37
14 Lance Stroll Williams 1:40.329s + 2.452s 29
15 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:40.694s + 2.817s 38
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:41.128s + 3.251s 30
17 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1:41.270s + 3.393s 42
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:41.302s + 3.425s 39
19 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:41.496s + 3.619s 38
20 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:41.560s + 3.683s 12

The last rays of sunshine were casting the Yas Marina Circuit with a golden glow as the second 90-minute free practice session got underway. It meant that conditions were much closer now to those the drivers will face in qualifying and the race than they had been in FP1.

As twilight took hold, first into action was McLaren's Fernando Alonso followed by the two Haas cars of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean. Kimi Raikkonen was also quick to join the fray, and the Ferrari duly went top with an early flying lap clocking in at 1:39.908s on supersofts.

Moments later Lewis Hamilton was in action, quickly driving the top time down to 1:38.912s. That was almost eight tenths faster than his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas in the early running. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo split the two Silver Arrows, with Sebastian Vettel slipping into fourth just ahead of Raikkonen and Max Verstappen.

Stoffel Vandoorne was one of the few drivers to start the session on ultrasofts. However he lost the back end of the McLaren in the final corner and spun into the run-off area. Local yellows briefly prevailed while Vandoorne found a way to reboot the MCL32 and return to the pits with no great harm done.

Bottas changed over to the ultras and went top with a lap of 1:38.609s just before the half hour mark. Vettel soon bettered it, but almost immediately the top spot was back in Mercedes' hands as Hamilton responded with 1:37.877s, a new Yas Marina lap record.

Ricciardo's attempt to keep in touch was initially thwarted by Grosjean. The French driver subsequently spun under braking in the final corner while on his own flying lap. He also reported something smelling "super hot" in the cockpit. The car was ordered back to the pits, where it remained while the team commenced a lengthy check of the electronics.

Ricciardo did eventually get his fast lap in to go third. Attention then turned to distance runs, leaving Hamilton, Vettel and Ricciardo top of the times ahead of Raikkonen, Bottas and Verstappen. Next fastest were the two Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, followed by Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso rounding out the top ten.

Ricciardo continued to be unlucky with traffic, and was subsequently held up by Williams' Felipe Massa in the final quarter of an hour. His team mate Max Verstappen had a solo scare a few minutes later when he oversteered wide at the penultimate corner.

Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley looked to be struggling to get to grips with the circuit during FP2. He finished the session 19th fastest, having flat-spotted his tyres as he tried to catch a spin in the entry to turn 1.

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