It was a very calm Friday in F1 Abu Dhabi GP as the Top 3 teams took their place at the front, while the mid-pack remains close.

The Friday in F1 Abu Dhabi GP at Yas Marina circuit was more or less a calm one even though there were lots of sliding moments for multiple drivers. The top half was covered by Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari with the six drivers within each other’s range.

After the win in Brazil, there is no counting out Mercedes who seem to be in good space in Abu Dhabi too along with Red Bull, while Ferrari seems a bit down. Both the latter teams had to give up one car in FP1 to rookies which further limited their preparation.

Verstappen: “It was alright to be honest. I think the car was in a good window. Liam did a very good job in FP1, just calm and steady, so that’s all what we want, right? Then FP2, no real problems, the car was in a good window, we tried a few things and in the long run also the car was working quite well, so I’m pretty happy with that.”

Leclerc: “It was a clean Friday, at least, which [for] a long time we didn’t have – this is good. On the other hand, we seemed to lack a little bit of pace, especially on the race runs. [Our] quali runs seem to be okay, but this is no surprise, as it’s been the case for the last few races. We just need to try and find a little bit of performance for the race. That’s definitely where our focus will be. Whether it will be the case or not, I don’t know yet. The last lap of Max was really quick, but he put one more [soft] tyre set [on], so it’s difficult to compare. The track is improving a lot in those conditions, especially when the night starts to come. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see, but I believe it will be closer in the quali than the race.”

Russell: “I think we had a very strong day in terms of what we learnt. We did a lot of test items, especially on my side, in FP1, looking ahead to 2023, and this is one of our last opportunities to test. FP2, obviously, [it was a] cooler track temperature – the track changed completely. It felt fast out there, but I think Red Bull just have the legs on us in a single lap. [They’re] probably two-tenths ahead, [and on the] long run maybe even further, so we’ve got a little bit of work to do overnight, but compared to Ferrari it looks pretty decent. I think we will be fighting for it. I’d like to think we can fight for the top three in qualifying, and who knows where that can take you on Sunday.”

The pack behind saw Alpine take charge of the midfield with Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas also finding place along with McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo. Both their teammates have had to give up their cars in FP1 but recovered well in FP2 with good number of laps.

Williams and Haas were a bit behind in the pack along with AlphaTauri, who struggled a bit with pace. As has been the case, the midfield remains close with Aston Martin around the Top 10 with decent pace to make it in with some luck.

Ocon: “It’s always a pleasure to drive under the lights in Abu Dhabi, and the last Friday of the season was a solid one for us. There were some good overall improvements from FP1 to FP2, and we gained a good understanding of the Soft and Medium tyres in both sessions. It was a positive day overall but it’s only Practice and we’ll need to be at our best tomorrow to have a good result in Qualifying. It’s not the easiest track on the calendar for overtaking so we’ll need to work hard tonight to ensure we’re in a good position ahead of the last Qualifying session of the year.”

Bottas: “We had a good start of the weekend: a smooth day without issues, in which we could do all the laps and all the tests we had planned. The car balance felt good from the start, so we didn’t have to do big changes: we just focused on fine-tuning the car, especially in the second session as conditions were a lot closer to what we’ll have in qualifying tomorrow. I finished both sessions in the top ten, which is definitely a promising start: on the back of the last couple of races, where we were quite strong, it’s a good sign and hopefully we can keep this momentum going.”

Vettel: “Yeah, obviously it’s a long time ago, but yeah, I still saw the suit, obviously, there’s some memories that took me back straight to 1995 [Vettel’s debut karting season], so it’s been a while – but it’s been very nice. Well, it’s been like many other Fridays to be honest, once you drive out the garage, you get into the rhythm and you just do what you know best, which is to get a lot of information, try and get into the groove with the car – which didn’t take long this afternoon. This evening, the track changed, but that’s as we know it, so yes, a lot of things are very familiar, but it does feel a bit funny that it’s… the last Friday.”

Gasly: “It was tough out there today, but we will make the necessary changes to be able to give our best tomorrow in Quali. The top 10 are quite impressive in terms of speed here and I’d say we were still quite far off this pace. However, anything can happen, and we will push until the very end.”

As noted above, the FP1 session saw so many youngsters in the car with Liam Lawson at Red Bull, Robert Shwartzman at Ferrari, Felipe Drugovich at Aston Martin, Logan Sargeant at Williams, Jack Doohan at Alpine, Pietro Fittipaldi at Haas ans Pato O’Ward at McLaren, while Alfa Romeo fielded Robert Kubica as per contractual agreement.

Lawson:  “Really, really cool. Obviously, a cool experience for me. First time officially in the Red Bull, so I was a little bit nervous, honestly, before the session, but the car was really, really good. I would love to have another go after what I found is a big jump from hards to softs in terms of lap time, so getting ready for that was a bit tough, but overall, I think it was a good session.”

O’Ward: “It was really good. Our run plan got cut a little bit short with the issues we had in the beginning but no, it was a lot of fun. [I was] quite surprised with, I guess, how little of a change I felt from last year’s car; I know the changes are significant, but I was expecting to feel a little bit more of a difference. The car still feels so quick compared to, honestly, anything else in the world. I would love a bit more of a smoother FP1, you know. I feel like once you get the first one out of the way, you know what to expect a little bit more, and I think just in the beginning it was a lot of things going on because a lot of unexpected kind of curveballs got thrown at us a little bit. But it was good. I experimented with different lines and I’m sure you guys saw on the broadcast a few moments there, and it was just some good fun trying to exploit everything I could from the car.”

Shwartzman: “Today’s practice was good and I’m happy with the progress that I made. Ending the session in P7 felt good, I felt comfortable in the car and we ran through the planned programme without any issues. We started the practice with some development testing and the team was satisfied with the data we collected. I look forward to being back in the car on Tuesday for a full day of testing, where my target is to make further improvements and gain more valuable experience in this generation of car. Thank you to Scuderia Ferrari for this great opportunity.”

Kubica: “It’s always nice to drive this car and I’m very pleased about my performance, especially as the last time I was in the C42 was back in Hungary. I was driving LMP2 cars last week and there’s always some getting used to with a different car, but it all went surprisingly well, especially with the hard tyres. In the end, in an FP1 you only have a single lap to nail it, that’s the challenge of this session. I had a good feeling with the car, and we figured out quickly where to improve. It was a productive day and it gives us confidence for the rest of the weekend.”

Drugovich: “It was a really good FP1 session today. We kept to the run plan: we wanted to try a few things with the car early on and it felt pretty good out there. After that, I also had a Soft tyre run which was nice. It was my first laps with the AMR22 and my first proper dry laps in a Formula One car and I really enjoyed it. Now, I look forward to working with the team again in the post-season test on Tuesday.”

Fittipaldi: “I always adapt super quick with this Formula 1 car. I think the style of driving with this Formula 1 car is kind of my strong point because I always brake late, I’m very confident and really aggressive. We had a great run where we completed all the laps and were quick as well. The most important thing is to execute all the things I need to with the team, learn as much as I can, but then as well show performance and that’s what I want to do – show the team what I can do.”

Sargeant: “I’m really happy to complete my fourth and final Free Practice session with Williams this season. I feel a lot more comfortable and confident in the car since my very first lap in Austin. A massive thanks to everyone in the team for the support they’ve given me. I look forward to being back behind the wheel of the FW44 for the Young Driver Test in a few days. My full focus is on finishing the final Sprint and Feature races of my F2 season on a high note.”

Here’s how FP1 panned out in F1 Abu Dhabi GP

Here’s how FP2 panned out in F1 Abu Dhabi GP