Championship contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton acquired their first style of the newly-configured Yas Marina Circuit in Friday follow, as they started fine-tuning their machines for one of the vital anticipated title deciders Method 1 has ever seen. Listed here are 5 issues we realized on a wonderful day in Abu Dhabi…
1. Mercedes main the way in which on brief run tempo
Hamilton described his opening two follow classes in Abu Dhabi as “first rate”, the Briton topping the instances within the second, extra consultant, night session.
It took him a while to discover a rhythm, however that improved into FP2, as he set the quickest lap by over three-tenths – and in line with our very best lap knowledge, which places a driver’s finest mini sectors collectively, he would have prolonged his benefit over the remainder of the sector to a staggering 0.75s if he’d attached the perfect lap.
FP2: Hamilton leads Ocon and Bottas in second Abu Dhabi follow session, as Verstappen takes P4
Their trackside chief Andrew Shovlin stated that their single lap tempo in FP1 wanted some work, however it got here “fairly simply” in FP2. The issue was, having had a very good long term through the day session, it “wasn’t nice” within the night.
Our knowledge reveals they’ve a 0.16s benefit over rivals Purple Bull on brief runs, however they’re behind after they throw gas within the automobile. So there stays time to be discovered in a single day, which is why they’ve an in depth programme of set-up work in a single day for his or her simulator staff again at base.
2. Purple Bull fractionally forward on larger gas
Verstappen admitted he nonetheless had “studying and understanding” to do about a number of issues to get the automobile within the candy spot, the championship chief admitting the brief run “didn’t go to plan” and they’re “missing a little bit of tempo” versus Mercedes.
However he stated the lengthy runs had been “fairly a bit extra aggressive” and that places them within the ballpark with Mercedes. In actual fact, our knowledge suggests they’re 0.04s per lap faster within the race sims.
READ MORE: Mercedes wanting ‘very aggressive’ warn Purple Bull as they appear to enhance forward of essential qualifying
The deficit isn’t huge wherever, with the slower corners and straights the place they’re dropping extra floor to Mercedes, in line with our automobile efficiency knowledge. From watching the motion, they do seem to have a stronger automobile within the center sector, relative to Mercedes, however are missing within the opening sector.
Sergio Perez admitted that they had “very totally different” set-ups throughout the 2 automobiles, which implies they’ve loads of knowledge to undergo in a single day, and loads of capability to make a giant step ahead on Saturday.
3. Alpine vying for prime of the midfield
Alpine have made a behavior of displaying strongly on Friday afternoons, however the French staff haven’t all the time managed to hold that type into the weekend.
On Friday, Esteban Ocon continued his wealthy vein of type with a surprising lap to take second in FP2, with staff mate Fernando Alonso sixth. As you’d anticipate, given expertise they don’t seem to be getting carried away. Second place “has a pleasant sound to it” stated Ocon, however he added “we’ll stay sensible”.
READ MORE: Alpine duo praying stellar Friday tempo doesn’t slip away after Ocon takes P2 in Yas Marina second follow
The Frenchman impressively held on to second spot in our very best lap rating, which reveals that Ocon had sturdy tempo relative to the others, and our brief run knowledge places Alpine third, simply forward of AlphaTauri.
They drop to fifth within the race simulation knowledge, however they’re inside a few tenths of Ferrari and McLaren, which ought to put them within the ballpark for an additional double factors end.
4. Ferrari vs McLaren too near name
Ferrari are the favourites to take P3 within the constructors’ championship, as they maintain a 38.5-point lead over McLaren with simply the one race to go. However there’s little or no to decide on between the 2 titans of F1 after Friday’s working.
McLaren had only a few take a look at components on the automobile, which meant they may concentrate on set-up and tyre work – and by the point they acquired to the tip of the day, they had been fairly pleased with the place the automobile was. Each Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo had been inspired, whereas technical chief James Key was eager to not learn an excessive amount of into the instances as a result of there was excessive monitor evolution by way of the day.
READ MORE: What the groups stated – Friday in Abu Dhabi
There have been blended emotions at Ferrari. Charles Leclerc was fairly completely satisfied however his staff mate Carlos Sainz was at a loss to elucidate why he couldn’t get comfy with the automobile, a sensation he hasn’t encountered for a number of races.
Total, the pink automobiles lack somewhat tempo relative to McLaren with none gas within the automobile, however they’re the strongest of the midfield with regards to race simulations, with round a tenth of a second over McLaren.
5. Optimistic vibes for Yas Marina Circuit tweaks
There have been a number of tweaks to Yas Marina Circuit forward of this 12 months’s race, with some groups saying it’s virtually like a brand new monitor so important are the adjustments.
The opening chicane has been eliminated to permit a quicker entry right into a wider hairpin, Turns 11-14 have been changed by a sweeping banked flip and 4 corners within the lodge part have been opened as much as make them quicker.
READ MORE: Drivers together with Alonso, Hamilton and Verstappen give their thumbs as much as new-look Yas Marina format
And so they have gone down nicely with the drivers. Verstappen stated it made the monitor “extra enjoyable to drive” whereas Hamilton stated “I just like the adjustments” and that it’s now “rather more pleasant, rather more flowing”.
Lap instances will likely be round 15 seconds faster, and the early indicators are that it will likely be somewhat simpler to comply with – and that ought to in flip enhance the possibilities of overtaking. We in the end received’t know till the race, however issues are wanting optimistic.
FP2 Highlights: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix