FP1: Red Bull surprise to start Abu Dhabi in front

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuitae

Red Bull Racing kicked off the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend in surprising fashion by going fastest in the first practice session on Friday. Verstappen was flanked by Ricciardo to put their team in front, leading both Mercedes in a hot session.

The first practice session at Abu Dhabi is however considered largely useless for the teams, especially as tyre data gathered during the 90 minutes is irrelevant for the rest of the weekend, given that qualifying and the race will be run in cooler conditions at dusk.

The field was also fairly stretched, with the 5th fastest man, Esteban Ocon ending up 1.6s down on the pace setter. Kevin Magnussen was 6th fastest and topped for Ferrari drivers. The scarlet cars were slower than expected, much to the surprise of their drivers.

Carlos Sainz and Romain Grosjean completed the top 10, despite a late spin from the Spaniard. Sainz wasn't the only one who found grip was at a premium as Hamilton was seen sliding all over the track, reporting an "unhappy car". Marcus Ericsson slid his car into the barriers at Turn 1 to break his front wing while most drivers were finding out how far was actually too far over the sausage kerbs at Turn 20.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:38.491-27
23Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:38.945+0.454s19
377Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:39.452+0.961s29
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:39.543+1.052s26
531Esteban OconForce India Mercedes1:40.102+1.611s26
620Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:40.235+1.744s21
77Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:40.417+1.926s24
85Sebastian VettelFerrari1:40.453+1.962s21
955Carlos SainzRenault1:40.588+2.097s21
108Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:40.663+2.172s24
1110Pierre GaslyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:40.671+2.180s17
1227Nico HulkenbergRenault1:41.023+2.532s24
1311Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:41.075+2.584s23
1428Brendon HartleyScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:41.137+2.646s26
1518Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes1:41.493+3.002s22
1636Antonio GiovinazziSauber Ferrari1:41.662+3.171s24
179Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:41.928+3.437s22
182Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Renault1:42.114+3.623s22
1914Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Renault1:42.313+3.822s16
2040Robert KubicaWilliams Mercedes1:42.992+4.501s26