F1: Verstappen leads opening practice in Abu Dhabi

Red Bull Honda driver Max Verstappen turned a lap of 1m25.009s to nip the sandbagging Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton by 0.196s and 0.345s respectively in opening practice for the Abu Dhabi GP.

Red Bull will be pleased with that, and even more so with the fact that Sergio Perez is right up there in fourth too. Will Perez be able to help Verstappen this weekend, or will he again be too far behind and out of touch with the leaders.

Mercedes have not yet turned up the power on their superior ‘trick rocket’ engine that will allow Hamilton to beat Verstappen in the race.

The power is not yet turned up in Hamilton’s ‘trick rocket’ engine.

Sergio Perez finished 4th in the 2nd Red Bull, 0.354s back, while an improving Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top-5 for Alpha Tauri, made more incredible by the fact that he was nearly half a second up on his teammate in seventh.

The pair of AlphaTauri drivers were separated by the Alpine of Fernando Alonso.

The Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. were eighth and ninth respectively as Sebastian Vettel, who spun late, closed out the top 10.

Sebastian Vettel – out to lunch 1-second off the pace

The sun will be setting by the time FP2 comes along, which will give the drivers much more representative conditions later on for both qualifying and the race itself.

Practice 1 Results

1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 1m25.009s +0.000s 23
2 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m25.205s +0.196s 26
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.355s +0.346s 25
4 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda 1m25.363s +0.354s 24
5 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda 1m25.378s +0.369s 22
6 14 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault 1m25.625s +0.616s 26
7 10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda 1m25.822s +0.813s 28
8 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m25.846s +0.837s 20
9 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1m25.886s +0.877s 25
10 5 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes 1m26.007s +0.998s 26
11 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 1m26.025s +1.016s 25
12 4 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 1m26.123s +1.114s 26
13 7 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1m26.189s +1.180s 25
14 99 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari 1m26.409s +1.400s 25
15 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes 1m26.608s +1.599s 26
16 3 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes 1m26.676s +1.667s 29
17 89 Jack Aitken Williams Mercedes 1m27.481s +2.472s 27
18 6 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes 1m27.487s +2.478s 26
19 47 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari 1m27.698s +2.689s 23
20 9 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari 1m28.305s +3.296s 22