FP1: Russell tops opening practice in Abu Dhabi

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuitae

Mercedes driver George Russell set the benchmark in the opening practice session at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, clocking a 1m26.072s on Pirelli's soft tyres. F1Technical's senior writer reports on Free Practice 1.

The opening practice session at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix saw ten regular drivers sit out the one-hour running as they handed their cars over to rookie drivers.

The first session took place in conditions that are irrelevant to the remainder of the weekend as qualifying and the race itself run later in significantly cooler conditions. It was Mercedes driver George Russell to master the warmer conditions in the best way, clocking the benchmark with a time of 1m26.072s.

His team-mate Lewis Hamilton sat out the session as Frederick Vesti took over his car. The Formula 2 driver took 12th, seven tenths of a second off Russell’s benchmark.

Reserve driver Felipe Druovich drove Fernando Alonso’s car, and took second behind Russell, only two tenths of a second adrift of the Briton’s benchmark. Aston Martin’s regular driver Lance Stroll ended up fifth with a late push lap.

Having already AlphaTauri’s requirement to run a rookie in each of their cars during the season, the Faenza-based outfit ran with Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda. The Australian and the Japanese driver finished the session in P3 and P10 respectively.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz took 7th while his team-mate Charles Leclerc sat out the one-hour practice, with Scuderia’s reserve driver Robert Shwartzman taking over the Monégasque’s car. The former F2 driver took 8th, only 27 thousands of a second slower than the Spaniard.


163George RussellMercedes1:26.07226
234Felipe DrugovichAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:26.360+0.288s26
33Daniel RicciardoAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:26.433+0.361s26
477Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:26.453+0.381s21
518Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:26.631+0.559s21
681Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:26.665+0.593s25
755Carlos SainzFerrari1:26.676+0.604s24
839Robert ShwartzmanFerrari1:26.703+0.631s25
910Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:26.720+0.648s26
1022Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:26.725+0.653s27
112Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:26.742+0.670s27
1242Frederik VestiMercedes1:26.815+0.743s27
1361Jack DoohanAlpine Renault1:26.865+0.793s23
1498Theo PourchaireAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:27.093+1.021s20
1529Patricio O'WardMclaren Mercedes1:27.114+1.042s23
1636Jake DennisRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:27.208+1.136s24
1737Isack HadjarRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:27.244+1.172s20
1845Zak O'SullivanWilliams Mercedes1:27.460+1.388s28
1920Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:27.462+1.390s26
2050Oliver BearmanHaas Ferrari1:27.569+1.497s24