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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen went fastest in Abu Dhabi GP P1, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton back in third; tables turned in second practice as Briton topped timesheets with title rival way back in fourth, sixth-tenths off Hamilton; session ends with crash for Kimi Raikkonen

Last Updated: 10/12/21 2:11pm

Lewis Hamilton landed the first significant blow of F1’s Decider in the Desert by comfortably topping the timesheets in Abu Dhabi GP Practice Two, with championship rival Max Verstappen well adrift back in fourth.

Hamilton, who was behind the pace-setting Verstappen in first practice, found form in Friday’s more representative evening session, finishing his soft-tyre qualifying simulations with a 0.3s advantage over the field.

Surprisingly Esteban Ocon led the chasing pack in the Alpine, with Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas third.

But more significant was the fact Verstappen ended the opening day of F1’s deciding round with a big six-tenths deficit to Hamilton, the man he is tied on points with heading into a winner-takes-all finale this Sunday.

Ride onboard with Fernando Alonso’s helmet cam, as the Alpine driver speeds through the Yas Marina circuit during the second practice session.

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Ride onboard with Fernando Alonso’s helmet cam, as the Alpine driver speeds through the Yas Marina circuit during the second practice session.

Ride onboard with Fernando Alonso’s helmet cam, as the Alpine driver speeds through the Yas Marina circuit during the second practice session.

Hamilton led with a 1:23.691 at Yas Marina’s much faster newly-configured track, with Verstappen only posting a 1:24.332.

The session ended with a crash for Kimi Raikkonen in the Alfa Romeo, with the Finnish world champion – retiring after Abu Dhabi – losing the rear of his car on his very last lap and smashing into the barriers. Raikkonen was unhurt, though his team face a big repair job for his final weekend.

More to follow.



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