Formula 1

Verstappen tops first free practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2 Mins read
Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen finished on top of the time charts at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the first free practice session. Valtteri Bottas finished in second position ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the end of the first practice session.

The first free practice session started at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi with air temperatures at 26 degrees C and track temperatures at 38 degrees C.

The Pirelli tyre choice at this race is the white-striped hard compound tyres (C3), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C4), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C5), the softest compounds in the Pirelli tyre range.

The title-rivals, Hamilton and Verstappen, have arrived at the final race of the season exactly level on points at 369.5 points in the drivers’ championship.

The Yas Marina circuit has been a track where it is hard to overtake. The circuit layout has been changed with tweaks to the hairpin, the corners around the hotel complex and a banked corner at Turn 9.

The sixty-minute long first free practice session started with the drivers going out on different compounds of tyres. Charles Leclerc went out with an array of sensors at the back of the car to gather data.

Bottas and Lando Norris had their lap times deleted for exceeding track limits. Hamilton went to the top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m27.148s.

Verstappen and Hamilton took turns at the top of the time charts before the Dutchman was firmly entrenched at the top with a lap time of 1m25.099s. Hamilton was just 0.033 seconds and Bottas was a further 0.163 seconds behind.

But Hamilton’s lap time was deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 16 and he dropped to third position behind Bottas.

Kimi Räikkönen in his final race of his illustrious career has a close shave as Verstappen exited the pits. The Finn has a ‘Dear Kimi, we will leave you alone now,’ message on the side of his car from the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team.

The session ended with Verstappen ahead of Bottas and Hamilton. Sergio Pérez was in fourth position ahead of Yuki Tsunoda. Fernando Alonso was in sixth position ahead of Pierre Gasly.

The two Scuderia Ferrari drivers, Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, were in eighth and ninth positions respectively. Sebastian Vettel finished in tenth position after the poor race in Saudi Arabia.

The second practice session will take place at more representative conditions similar to the qualification session and race.

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix FP1 Results:

133Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing1:25.00923
277Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:25.205+0.196s26
344Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:25.355+0.346s25
411Sergio PerezMEXRed Bull Racing1:25.363+0.354s24
522Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:25.378+0.369s22
614Fernando AlonsoESPAlpine F1 Team1:25.625+0.616s26
710Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:25.822+0.813s28
816Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:25.846+0.837s20
955Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1:25.886+0.877s25
105Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:26.007+0.998s26
1131Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team1:26.025+1.016s25
124Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:26.123+1.114s26
137Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1:26.189+1.180s25
1499Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1:26.409+1.400s25
1518Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:26.608+1.599s26
163Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1:26.676+1.667s29
1789Jack Aitken#N/A#N/A1:27.481+2.472s27
186Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:27.487+2.478s26
1947Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1:27.698+2.689s23
209Nikita MazepinRAFUralkali Haas F1 Team1:28.305+3.296s22
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