Bottas leads disrupted first practice session in Abu Dhabi

by Vince Pettit

The final practice session of the decade saw Valtteri Bottas top the times at the Yas Marina Circuit with a lap of 1:36.957 ahead of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who faced technical issues.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat lead the way as the lights turned green, heading out on to the circuit on the soft compound Pirelli tyres, followed closely by Williams Racing’s Robert Kubica.

The teams and drivers carried out their usual Friday morning test duties throughout the session as Bottas led the way with his brand new Mercedes M10 EQ Power+ engine fitted for this weekend, signalling an increase in power for the Finn.

There were issues for the 2019 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who for this session was running the #1 on his car for the start of the session. Half hour into the free practice session he was forced to return to the pits on low power, reporting over the radio that the Mercedes-AMG Motorsport F1 W10 EQ Power+ had gone into limp-home mode.

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Hamilton would return to track later in the session after some time in the pits, minus the #1, reverting to his usual #44, maybe in a bid to bring him some luck in the final race weekend of the season.

With half hour of the session remaining, Daniel Ricciardo’s R.S. 19 came to a halt with flames pouring out of the back of the car. Thankfully for the Australian, the team confirmed that he was running a ‘Friday’ engine and not the engine that they plan to use on race day.

Sebastian Vettel’s weekend also got off to bad start too as he ended the session in the barriers after spinning out of Turn 19, damaging the left-rear wheel of the Ferrari, bringing the session to a close.

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.
Pos.No.DriverNat.TeamTime
177Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport1:36.957
233Max VerstappenNEDAston Martin Red Bull Racing+0.535s
344Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport+0.634s
423Alexander AlbonTHAAston Martin Red Bull Racing+1.127s
55Sebastian VettelGERScuderia Ferrari+1.949s
68Romain GrosjeanFRAHaas F1 Team+2.189s
716Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari+2.292s
820Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team+2.393s
999Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing+2.466s
1027Nico HülkenbergGERRenault F1 Team+2.548s
114Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team+2.671s
1218Lance StrollCANSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team+2.907s
137Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing+2.931s
1411Sergio PérezMEXSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team+2.944s
1526Daniil KvyatRUSRed Bull Toro Rosso Honda+3.012s
1610Pierre GaslyFRARed Bull Toro Rosso Honda+3.444s
1755Carlos Sainz Jr.ESPMcLaren F1 Team+3.730s
1888Robert KubicaPOLROKiT Williams Racing+3.835s
193Daniel RicciardoAUSRenault F1 Team+3.893s
2063George RussellGBRROKiT Williams Racing+4.405s

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