Posted in: 10/12/2021 – 16:00
Abu Dhabi (AFP) - Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton gave a glimpse of what things will look like on Saturday in qualifying and on Sunday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which brings the curtain down on the Formula One season, with the former leading the first free practice before the latter responded in the second round.
The two drivers enter the last twenty-second round of this season with the same number of points, after Hamilton returned from afar and lit up the title race by winning the last three races, making Sunday's race at Yas Marina Circuit a peak of excitement and suspense.
The two rivals set the pace since Friday practice, when Verstappen topped the first round after beating the Finnish Mercedes duo Valtteri Bottas, who is running his last race with the German manufacturer before leaving to move to Alfa Romeo next season, and Hamilton aspiring to win the title for the eighth time and the record he shares with the German Michael Schumacher.
Traditionally, the first free practice session in Abu Dhabi does not give a clear idea of the performance of the car at the modified Yas Marina Circuit this season, because it is held at a different time than the timing of qualifying and racing, and therefore the second test round is more indicative of the situation of the driver and his car.
Hamilton took the lead, this time ahead of French Alpine driver Esteban Ocon, who lost third place in Sunday’s race in Saudi Arabia with a few meters to cross the finish line to Bottas, third in the second practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Verstappen was satisfied with fourth place in front of his Mexican Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, while the other Albin driver, former world champion Fernando Alonso, came sixth, in an indication that the French manufacturer will be a significant contender in Yas Marina.
Ranking of the top ten in the first free practice:
Max Verstappen (Netherlands/Red Bull) 1:25.009 (23 laps)
Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:25.205 (27)
Lewis Hamilton (GB/Mercedes) 1:25.355 (25)
Sergio Perez (Mexico/Red Bull) 1:25.363 (24)
Yuki Tsunoda (Japan/Alfatatori) 1:25.378 (23)
Fernando Alonso (Spain/Alpine) 1:25.625 (26)
Pierre Gasly (France / Alvatore) 1:25.822 (28)
Charles Leclerc (Monaco/Ferrari) 1:25.846 (20)
Carlos Sainz (Spain/Ferrari) 1:25.886 (26)
Sebastian Vettel (Germany/Aston Martin) 1:26.007 (26)
Ranking of the top ten in the second free round:
Lewis Hamilton (GB/Mercedes) 1:23.691 (26 laps)
Esteban Ocon (France/Alpine) 1:24.034 (29)
Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Mercedes) 1:24.083 (29)
Max Verstappen (Netherlands/Red Bull) 1:24.332 (25)
Sergio Perez (Mexico/Red Bull) 1:24.400 (26)
Fernando Alonso (Spain/Alpine) 1:24.495 (27)
Yuki Tsunoda (Japan/Alfatatori) 1:24.532 (26)
Charles Leclerc (Monaco/Ferrari) 1:24.557 (29)
Carlos Sainz (Spain/Ferrari) 1:24.844 (29)
Pierre Gasly (France / Alvatore) 1:24.940 (27)
© 2021 AFP
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