Red Bulls run 1-2 in Practice 1 at Abu Dhabi

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen led Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo to take a surprise one-two in the first practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – but let's be clear, it was a track cleaning session so the times are largely meaningless.

Abu Dhabi hasn’t tended to be good for Red Bull in the turbo hybrid era, but a strong showing for the team in Free Practice 1 saw Verstappen go fastest with a 1m 38.491s, with Ricciardo 0.454s behind the Dutchman.

Third quickest Valtteri Bottas was nearly a second slower than Verstappen.

Bottas himself pipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, the British driver using the session to proudly display a metallic number one on the front of his car as a one-off for this weekend.

Both Silver Arrows will have been surprised to have a two-car buffer between them and the Ferraris, with the Force India of Esteban Ocon – the man who incurred Verstappen’s wrath in Brazil – impressing to go P5, ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen in sixth.

The Ferraris – who, tend to sandbag a little on Fridays – ended up seventh and eighth, with Kimi Raikkonen, in his final outing for the team, just ahead of Sebastian Vettel. The Renault of Carlos Sainz was P9 – despite the Spaniard suffering a late-session spin in his final FP1 for the team before joining McLaren – while Magnussen’s team mate Romain Grosjean rounded out the top 10.

With Verstappen sitting on top of the timing sheet as it stands, three tenths ahead of Hamilton. Are Red Bull going to continue their strong form of late and really take the fight to Mercedes this weekend?

Practice 1 Results

1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Renault 1:38.491 +0.000s 27
2 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault 1:38.945 +0.454s 19
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:39.452 +0.961s 29
4 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:39.543 +1.052s 26
5 31 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:40.102 +1.611s 26
6 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:40.235 +1.744s 21
7 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:40.417 +1.926s 24
8 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:40.453 +1.962s 21
9 55 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:40.588 +2.097s 21
10 8 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:40.663 +2.172s 24
11 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda 1:40.671 +2.180s 17
12 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:41.023 +2.532s 24
13 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:41.075 +2.584s 23
14 28 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda 1:41.137 +2.646s 26
15 18 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:41.493 +3.002s 22
16 36 Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber Ferrari 1:41.662 +3.171s 24
17 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:41.928 +3.437s 22
18 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1:42.114 +3.623s 22
19 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:42.313 +3.822s 16
20 40 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes 1:42.992 +4.501s 26