Mercedes lead the way in FP1 of F1 Abu Dhabi GP as Valtteri Bottas headed Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen with Lewis Hamilton in third.
It was a steady start to the F1 Abu Dhabi GP weekend at Yas Marina circuit with Mercedes’ Bottas leading the way in FP1 despite having few off moments with a 1m36.957s lap on the medium tyres as Red Bull’s Verstappen (1m37.492s) ended up second.
The Dutchman set his time on the soft compound which was same as Hamilton, who was third with a 1m37.591s lap. The 2019 F1 champion ran the #1 on his car to start the session but reverted to his usual #44 for the remainder of the weekend.
Red Bull’s Alexander Albon (1m38.084s) slotted in fourth with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel (1m38.906s) in fifth but he his quickest time on the medium tyres. The German suffered a late crash in the final sector as spun on the left-hander to end FP1 under red flag.
Haas’ Romain Grosjean (1m39.146s) slotted as best of rest in sixth with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (1m39.249s) only seventh while the other Haas of Kevin Magnussen (1m39.350s) was eighth from Alfa Romeo Racing’s Antonio Giovinazzi (1m39.423s).
The Italian had his quick time on the medum tyres as did Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg (1m39.505s), who rounded out the Top 10. His teammate Daniel Ricciardo caused a red flag after a Friday engine failure which left oil on track in the final sector.
In fact, there was fire blowing out from the rear and it not only caught out Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly but also Bottas. The red flag hampered quick runs for multiple drivers as McLaren’s Lando Norris (1m39.628s) was 11th.
Racing Point’s Lance Stroll (1m39.864s) was 12th with Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen (1m39.808s) in 13th on the medium tyres while the other Racing Point of Sergio Perez (1m39.901as) was 14th from three medium runners.
It was Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat (1m39.969s) ahead in 15th from teammate Gasly (1m40.401s) with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz (1m40.687s) in 17th ahead of Williams’ Robert Kubica (1m40.792s) and Renault’s Ricciardo (1m40.850s).
The Australian set his time on the medium as the other Williams of George Russell (1m41.362s) rounded out the runners, with the British driver feeling unwell and if needed could be substituted by Renault/McLaren reserve Sergey Sirotkin.