The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team headed the second practice session at the Yas Marina Circuit on Friday, with Valtteri Bottas edging out his returning team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
However, there was a fiery exit from the session for Kimi Räikkönen, with the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN driver stopping on track with flames lighting up the rear of his car, with the session halted for ten minutes while the fire was extinguished, and the car removed from the track.
Bottas’ best time of 1:36.276 was just over two-tenths of a second clear of Hamilton, with the Briton getting back into the swing of things after missing last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix following a positive test for coronavirus.
Max Verstappen was third fastest for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, with the Dutchman falling behind the two Mercedes drivers after topping the first session. Verstappen was 0.770 seconds down on Bottas’ best time, while he was 0.217 seconds clear of team-mate Alexander Albon, who was an encouraging fourth.
What may not be as encouraging for Albon, however, is that the leading three drivers all failed for various reasons to get a representative lap time on the board on the soft compound tyre.
Lando Norris was fifth for the McLaren F1 Team, a couple of tenths further back from Albon, while Renault DP World F1 Team’s Esteban Ocon continued his recent strong form to end sixth, just 0.001 seconds ahead of last weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix winner Sergio Pérez.
Such was the tightness of the field, Ocon in sixth and his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in ninth were separated by just 0.003 seconds, with BWT Racing Point Formula One Team’s Pérez and Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc between them. Leclerc comes into the weekend knowing he has a three-place grid penalty for the first lap tangle with Pérez last weekend, with the Mexican will also drop places on the grid following an engine change.
Lance Stroll completed the top ten in the second Racing Point, with Daniil Kvyat the best placed Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda driver in eleventh. The Russian looks set to depart Formula 1 at the end of this weekend, with FIA Formula 2 frontrunner Yuki Tsunoda expected to replace him for 2021.
Carlos Sainz Jr., racing in his final race for McLaren before he joins Leclerc at Ferrari next season, ended up twelfth, although he was just a couple of tenths down on team-mate Norris up in fifth. The second AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly ended up thirteenth ahead of Räikkönen, who ended his session spectacularly with his engine fire.
Sebastian Vettel, who will leave Ferrari at the end of the season, was again off the pace of team-mate Leclerc and placed fifteenth, with Kevin Magnussen the best placed Haas F1 Team driver in sixteenth. Magnussen, like Pérez, will start at the back of the field due to a penalty caused by exceeding his quota of engine components.
Antonio Giovinazzi, who sat out the morning session to allow Robert Kubica a chance to run, was only seventeenth in the second Alfa Romeo ahead of the leading of the two Williams Racing drivers, George Russell. Russell’s session ended prematurely with a technical issue after touring back to the pits with smoke emitting from the back of his car. The red warning light on top of his car was also illuminated, so Williams will have work to do overnight to prepare the car for Saturday’s running.
Bringing up the field was the second Haas of Pietro Fittipaldi, with the Brazilian once again racing in place of Romain Grosjean as the Frenchman recovers from his horror crash in Bahrain, and the second Williams of Nicholas Latifi.
All drivers experienced the 2021 prototype C4 tyre from Pirelli Motorsport during the session, with each driver having to run at least eight laps on them, most of which happened in the opening twenty minutes.
|1||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:36.276||28|
|2||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team||1:36.479||+0.230||30|
|3||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:37.046||+0.770||30|
|4||23||Alexander Albon||THA||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:37.263||+0.987||33|
|5||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:37.438||+1.162||29|
|6||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||Renault DP World F1 Team||1:37.505||+1.229||30|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||1:37.506||+1.230||35|
|8||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||1:37.508||+1.232||31|
|9||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Renault DP World F1 Team||1:37.508||+1.232||29|
|10||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||BWT Racing Point Formula One Team||1:37.560||+1.284||29|
|11||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:37.596||+1.320||32|
|12||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||McLaren F1 Team||1:37.616||+1.340||31|
|13||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda||1:37.900||+1.624||32|
|14||7||Kimi Raikkonen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:38.068||+1.792||28|
|15||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari||1:38.198||+1.922||32|
|16||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||1:38.504||+2.228||34|
|17||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN||1:38.564||+2.288||31|
|18||63||George Russell||GBR||Williams Racing||1:38.817||+2.541||24|
|19||51||Pietro Fittipaldi||BRZ||Haas F1 Team||1:39.027||+2.751||25|
|20||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||1:39.132||+2.856||31|