Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2018

Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two in first practice

2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix first practice

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Max Verstappen led the two Red Bull drivers in first practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but was frustrated again by a suspected engine braking problem on his car.

Engine braking has frustrated Verstappen repeatedly this season, notably in Mexico, where he blamed it after losing pole position to team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Verstappen reported he had “a lot of rear locking just from the engine braking” early in the session but was told “we’re not entirely sure that it’s the engine braking that’s causing the issue.” “I’m pretty sure it’s that,” he replied. “The engine is still doing that same thing so it makes me just drift into the corner,” he added later in the session.

Nevertheless Verstappen set a best time of 1’38.491 which put him almost a full second quicker than any non-Red Bull driver. Ricciardo was second, just under half a second slower. Both drivers used the hyper-soft tyres.

The Mercedes pair were next, Valtteri Bottas leading Lewis Hamilton. The latter, who is unusually running both his regular number 44 and the number one on his car this weekend, reported his car felt “unhappy” around the Yas Marina circuit.

Esteban Ocon was a surprising fifth as the Ferrari drivers concentrated on aerodynamic work and switched to the super-soft tyres for the second half of the session. Kevin Magnussen also demoted the red cars to seventh and eighth.

Carlos Sainz Jnr was ninth-fastest for Renault while Romain Grosjean completed the top 10. The former had a brief spin at turn 19 near the end of the session.

Test drivers Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Kubica stood in for Charles Leclerc and Sergey Sirotkin respectively. Leclerc’s team mate Ericsson lost time when he spun into a barrier and broke his front wing early in the session.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
133Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’38.49127
23Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’38.9450.45419
377Valtteri BottasMercedes1’39.4520.96129
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’39.5431.05226
531Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’40.1021.61126
620Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’40.2351.74421
77Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’40.4171.92624
85Sebastian VettelFerrari1’40.4531.96221
955Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’40.5882.09721
108Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’40.6632.17224
1110Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’40.6712.18017
1227Nico HulkenbergRenault1’41.0232.53224
1311Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’41.0752.58423
1428Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’41.1372.64626
1518Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’41.4933.00222
1636Antonio GiovinazziSauber-Ferrari1’41.6623.17124
179Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’41.9283.43722
182Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’42.1143.62322
1914Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’42.3133.82216
2040Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’42.9924.50126

First practice visual gaps

Max Verstappen – 1’38.491

+0.454 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’38.945

+0.961 Valtteri Bottas – 1’39.452

+1.052 Lewis Hamilton – 1’39.543

+1.611 Esteban Ocon – 1’40.102

+1.744 Kevin Magnussen – 1’40.235

+1.926 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’40.417

+1.962 Sebastian Vettel – 1’40.453

+2.097 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’40.588

+2.172 Romain Grosjean – 1’40.663

+2.180 Pierre Gasly – 1’40.671

+2.532 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’41.023

+2.584 Sergio Perez – 1’41.075

+2.646 Brendon Hartley – 1’41.137

+3.002 Lance Stroll – 1’41.493

+3.171 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’41.662

+3.437 Marcus Ericsson – 1’41.928

+3.623 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’42.114

+3.822 Fernando Alonso – 1’42.313

+4.501 Robert Kubica – 1’42.992

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “Verstappen leads Red Bull one-two in first practice”

  1. I read elsewhere Danny said this track was supposed to be better for RB than Brasil. Look likes he is right side far.

    1. * right side far.

  2. **right so far

    Damn you autocorrect!

  3. Sergio Sirotkin or Sergey Perez?

  4. “Test drivers Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Kubica stood in for Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez respectively”

    Is this an error, or an I missing something?

    1. Kubica stond in for Sirotkin GongTong!

  5. Over two seconds off the pace of last season’s pole time, but oh well, it should get beaten by Q3 at the very latest.

    1. Remember it’s warmer on FP1 here because the sun’s still up, unlike qualy when it’s dark and cool. It’s probably the most meaningless session of the year, alongside FP1 in Singapore

  6. the bulls used the hypers, i’m curious what kind of tire merc used? anyone know?

    1. @terro Bottas was in SS I think.

    2. It doesn’t matter. FP1 and FP3 are barely indicative of the lap times we see in Quali or the race.
      The insignificance is amplified in circuits that are long.

      FP2 is so important. Lets see who stands where at the end of the day.

    3. Hamilton on hypersoft his fastest time.
      (with the repaired engine)

  7. also hypers @Terro, but I’m not sure the Merc drove with the Hypers around the same time Verstappen did his fastest time.

  8. In the daytime, first session, different tyres, no Q2/3 boost: utterly meaningless.

  9. Strange but none of the folks who were ecxited that much about KUB return commented on his 4.5 sec lag which looks very promising for Williams. This is not a sim.

    1. 1,5 sec behind Stroll.. not sure if that’s something to be proud off.

      1. It was said by Williams that they were trying settings and not even going for a time.
        Regardless its not actually a bad time considering hes not even been in the car for months!

        The team would have had tons of comparison data from the sim alone to backup why they hired him for next year.

      2. It’s a different car. 2019 parts on it.

  10. Let’s talk about his performance in 12 months time ..

Comments are closed.