FP2: Leclerc sets benchmark in second practice as Sainz and Hulkenberg crash out

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuitae

Having handed over his car to reserve driver in the opening practice, Ferrari regular driver Charles Leclerc set the benchmark time in the second practice session at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The opening practice took place in unusual circumstances. The known factor was the weather conditions as the first and third practice session usually take place in Abu Dhabi in conditions that are not totally representative to what drivers experience in qualifying and the grand prix itself.

Secondly, with teams required to run rookie drivers - a racer who has completed no more than two grands prix - during the season, ten regular race drivers were forced to sit out the opening one-hour session at the Yas Marina circuit.

Charles Leclerc was one of the drivers who missed the first outing this weekend, as he handed over his SF23 to reserve driver Robert Shwartzman. The Monégasque quickly got up to speed as he set the benchmark of the session, clocking a 1m24.809s.

His team-mate Carlos Sainz, however, endured a difficult session after crashing his Ferrari into the barriers at Turn 3. The Madrid-born driver lost control of his car, and caused damage not only to his car, but also to the barriers, which required a lengthy repair job.

Following a difficult weekend at the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, McLaren appeared to have regained their speed. Lando Norris finished only a fraction behind Leclerc in P2 while his Australian team-mate Oscar Piastri took tenth for the Woking-based outfit.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez both sat out the opening 60-minute practice, but they were in good shape when they climbed into the RB19 for the first time this weekend. The freshly-crown three-time world champion ended up third fastest, just under two tenths of a second behind Leclerc. His team-mate Sergio Perez, who secured second place in the Drivers' Championship in Las Vegas a week ago, was fifth.

Mercedes had a better opening day than at Las Vegas. George Russell topped the opening session and ended the second one-hour practice in P6, only three tenths of a second off Leclerc's benchmark. His team-mate Lewis Hamilton sat out the first session, and took 8th in the second outing, two tenths of a second behind his team-mate.

Following Sainz' accident, drivers were earger to hit the track to gather data on the track in cooler temperatures. However, the session was red-flagged again as Haas racer Nico Hulkenberg span into the barrier at the exit of Turn 1 as he set off on his flying lap.


116Charles LeclercFerrari1:24.80916
24Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:24.852+0.043s18
31Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:24.982+0.173s17
477Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:25.024+0.215s16
511Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:25.112+0.303s17
663George RussellMercedes1:25.122+0.313s17
724Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:25.223+0.414s18
844Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:25.315+0.506s16
910Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:25.321+0.512s15
1081Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:25.361+0.552s18
1114Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:25.397+0.588s17
123Daniel RicciardoAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:25.467+0.658s16
1318Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:25.492+0.683s17
1431Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:25.566+0.757s17
1522Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda Rbpt1:25.669+0.860s17
1623Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:26.081+1.272s20
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:26.413+1.604s18
182Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:26.659+1.850s17
1955Carlos SainzFerrari1:26.707+1.898s4
2027Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:27.147+2.338s7