Bottas leads Friday running at Abu Dhabi F1 finale

Valtteri Bottas headed a comfortable Mercedes 1-2 ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton during second practice for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Bottas – who faces a back-of-the-grid start for the 2019 season finale at Yas Marina following an engine change – turned in a 1m36.256s to top FP2, the most representative of the three practice sessions due to being held in conditions closest to those that will be seen in qualifying and the race.

The Finn led six-time world champion Hamilton by 0.310s as Charles Leclerc recovered from early contact with the Turn 19 barriers to set the third-fastest time, less than a tenth behind Hamilton.

There was a brief scare for Bottas late on as he collided with Romain Grosjean under braking at the end of the back straight.

Bottas suffered front-wing damage in the clash as both drivers were sent into a spin, while Grosjean lost large chunks from his floor. The incident signalled a brief red flag period with debris being scattered across the track.

Leclerc outpaced Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel by 0.049s as the Scuderia looks to bounce back from a nightmare intra-team collision at the Brazilian Grand Prix last time out.

The Red Bulls were line-a-stern in fifth and sixth place, with Interlagos victor Max Verstappen once again faster than teammate Alexander Albon, this time by half a second.

Running with a pre-season-spec floor on his Haas, Grosjean was an encouraging seventh and just 1.3s off the pace, with Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and the Toro Rosso pair of Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly rounding out the top 10.

Carlos Sainz led McLaren’s charge in 11th place, a tenth clear of teammate Lando Norris. Lance Stroll was unable to match the pace of his Racing Point teammate Perez as he finished 1.7s down in 13th, ahead of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.

It was a disappointing session for Renault with Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo a lowly 15th and 16th respectively, while the Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi also struggled as they ended the session over two seconds down.

George Russell once again got the better of Robert Kubica, with the Williams duo anchored to the bottom of the timesheets in 19th and 20th to complete the FP2 order. Kubica, who is contesting his final race with Williams, was nearly a full second slower than his rookie teammate.

Bottas leads Friday running at Abu Dhabi F1 finale

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