Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen ended F1 Abu Dhabi GP FP1 on top ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Renault’s Esteban Ocon.
The final race of the 2020 F1 season started with Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen (1m37.378s) on top in FP1 of Abu Dhabi GP from Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas (1m37.412s) by just 0.034s, with Renault’s Esteban Ocon (1m38.515s) in third.
The other Red Bull of Alexander Albon (1m38.547s) slotted in fourth on his second lap after spinning at Turn 12-13 on his first quick lap due to oversteery moment. Behind him was the returning Lewis Hamilton (1m38.744s) in his Mercedes.
The Brit had some issues with his paddle early on but the team managed to fix it as he set his best time on the hard compound. The Racing Point duo followed with Lance Stroll (1m38.831s) and Sergio Perez (1m38.956s) following.
Stroll was the first to have his lap times cancelled for Track 21 track limits as many others followed, including AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly (1m39.160s), who was ninth behind Daniil Kvyat (1m39.150s), as Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen (1m39.199s) was 10th.
Both the AlphaTauri drivers were on the medium compound as McLaren’s Carlos Sainz (1m39.330s) slotted in 11th from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (1m39.344s), who had his best on the hard tyre. Teammate Sebastian Vettel (1m39.670s) was 14th behind Lando Norris (1m39.352s).
The German set his best time on the medium as Alfa Romeo’s Robert Kubica (1m39.905s) was 15th, sitting in for Antonio Giovinazzi, as Williams’ George Russell (1m40.446s) was 16th ahead of Nicholas Latifi (1m41.063s), with the Brit using the medium compound.
The Haas duo were next with Mick Schumacher (1m41.235s) in 18th – making his FP1 debut in Abu Dhabi GP in place of Kevin Magnussen – and Pietro Fittipaldi (1m44.069s) 19th, where the Brazilian spent the session working on 2021 programme.
The lone driver to not set a time was Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, who could only manage three laps due to fuel pressure problem. The Australian stopped on track, resulting in a Virtual Safety Car period for a brief moment.
The last F1 grand prix had multiple drivers with special helmets but one of them couldn’t get to wear it as Haas’ Romain Grosjean took to social media to reveal it, designed by his kids – much like how Lando Norris used a kid’s design earlier in the year.
This is the most beautiful helmet I could ever imagine.
It was created by Sacha, Simon & Camille for my last @f1 race in Abu Dhabi.
I will try to give it a ride in the future as it's far too beautiful to stay at home unused! pic.twitter.com/zTEy9QITP1
— Romain Grosjean (@RGrosjean) December 11, 2020
Aside Grosjean, the ones who could use it during the Abu Dhabi GP, are Williams’ Russell along with Ferrari’s Vettel, Red Bull’s Albon and AlphaTauri’s Kvyat. Ferrari’s Leclerc had a special helmet to honour his teammate.
For the last time on Sebastian's helmet, the "Cavallino Rampante". pic.twitter.com/8TxgKP4icc
— Jens Munser Designs (@JMD_helmets) December 11, 2020
— Jens Munser Designs (@JMD_helmets) December 10, 2020
Also, Mercedes confirmed its Formula E duo Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries for the Young Drivers’ test in Abu Dhabi on December 15 – a first time in a F1 car for the Dutchman, who has spent time on the simulator.