Bottas fastest in FP2 at Yas Marina

Bottas fastest in FP2 at Yas Marina

Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas, Photo: Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas led the way during a closely-contested second practice session for Formula 1’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver, searching for his first win since last year’s corresponding event, headed the usual sextuplet at the top of the timing screens, covered by a third of a second.

Bottas’ best of 1:37.236 left him 0.044s clear of FP1 pacesetter Max Verstappen, while Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo placed third.

Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton was fourth, as Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel took fifth and sixth respectively.

All six of the front-runners used Pirelli’s Hypersoft tyres to set their best times in a session. It took place in twilight, mirroring the conditions expected for qualifying and the race.

Romain Grosjean led the midfield scrap for Haas, eight-tenths behind Bottas. While Nico Hulkenberg split the Frenchman from team-mate Kevin Magnussen.

Esteban Ocon, whose 2019 test and reserve role with Mercedes was confirmed earlier in the day, rounded the top 10.

Pierre Gasly took 11th, in front of Spaniards Carlos Sainz Jr. and Fernando Alonso. The latter preparing to contest his final Grand Prix for McLaren.

Sergio Perez was 14th, ahead of Sauber pair Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson, who sandwiched Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley, albeit their lap times seven-tenths apart.

Outgoing McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne improved late on to go 18th, albeit almost half a second behind Ericsson, while Lance Stroll was 19th for Williams.