Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2019

Bottas easily fastest as Vettel ends session with crash

2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix first practice

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Valtteri Bottas comfortably led the way in the first practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, aided by the brand new power unit in his Mercedes.

The FIA confirmed during the session that Bottas will start from the back of the grid on Sunday after taking a new engine, turbo and power unit this weekend. He used it to good effect in the opening 90 minutes of running, ending up half a second clear of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, despite using medium compound tyres to his rival’s softs.

First practice at Yas Marina is held earlier in the day than qualifying and the race, however, and the considerably hotter conditions usually make for changes in the competitive order.

The session came to an early end due to a red flag when Vettel spun into the barrier at turn 19. The Ferrari snapped away from him as he bounced over the apex kerb. He narrowly missed the end of the TecPro barrier, crunching his left-rear wheel and suspension against the Armco.

This was the second time the session was red-flagged. Half an hour earlier, Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault engine blew at the end of the lap. As he had an old power unit in the car, replacing it should not mean he has to take a penalty.

As last year, Lewis Hamilton briefly ran the number one on the front of his Mercedes – and the usual 44 at the back – at the start of the first practice session at Yas Marina. He ended up with the third-quickest time after his engine went into ‘limp home’ mode earlier in the running.

Alexander Albon was fourth ahead of Vettel, while Romain Grosjean with sixth-quickest having tried a new set-up on his Haas. He narrowly out-paced Charles Leclerc, while Kevin Magnussen ensured both VF-19s appeared in the top eight. Antonio Giovinazzi was next and Nico Hulkenberg began his final F1 race weekend in 10th place.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedes1’36.95723
233Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’37.4920.53522
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’37.5910.63420
423Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’38.0841.12723
55Sebastian VettelFerrari1’38.9061.94919
68Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’39.1462.18918
716Charles LeclercFerrari1’39.2492.29218
820Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’39.3502.39319
999Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’39.4232.46620
1027Nico HulkenbergRenault1’39.5052.54822
114Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’39.6282.67118
1218Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’39.8642.90723
137Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’39.8882.93117
1411Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’39.9012.94417
1526Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’39.9693.01220
1610Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’40.4013.44417
1755Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’40.6873.73023
1888Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’40.7923.83521
193Daniel RicciardoRenault1’40.8503.89312
2063George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’41.3624.40524

First practice visual gaps

Valtteri Bottas – 1’36.957

+0.535 Max Verstappen – 1’37.492

+0.634 Lewis Hamilton – 1’37.591

+1.127 Alexander Albon – 1’38.084

+1.949 Sebastian Vettel – 1’38.906

+2.189 Romain Grosjean – 1’39.146

+2.292 Charles Leclerc – 1’39.249

+2.393 Kevin Magnussen – 1’39.350

+2.466 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’39.423

+2.548 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’39.505

+2.671 Lando Norris – 1’39.628

+2.907 Lance Stroll – 1’39.864

+2.931 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’39.888

+2.944 Sergio Perez – 1’39.901

+3.012 Daniil Kvyat – 1’39.969

+3.444 Pierre Gasly – 1’40.401

+3.730 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’40.687

+3.835 Robert Kubica – 1’40.792

+3.893 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’40.850

+4.405 George Russell – 1’41.362

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2019 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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10 comments on “Bottas easily fastest as Vettel ends session with crash”

  1. I’m surprised YMC still hasn’t got a third DRS-activation zone. I was expecting that to happen, given Bahrain’s (where the addition wasn’t greatly needed) addition for this season, as well as Singapore’s (which I’m surprised didn’t get that for last season already). Even Mexico got an additional one, which I least expected to get it given the shortness of the third longest-straight of that circuit. The YMC S/F-straight is roughly the same length as the T13-14 straight in Singapore, as well as, the T11-12 straight in Mexico, and yet still no activation zone there, which I fully expected to happen after the three additions mentioned above, so weird.

    1. I think back to back DRS zones is already enough to get an overtake done around here.

  2. It’s worth noting the weather conditions in practice 1 at Yas Marina aren’t particularly representative of what they’ll encounter in qualifying or the race, so there’s not much we can really draw from this.

    1. @Craig Indeed. The FP1 and FP3-sessions are effectively entirely useless in not only Abu Dhabi but Bahrain as well, so they might as well do away with them.

      1. You could make that arguement for FP3 but you can still do basic set up work in FP1 such as check ride height settings which are not as temp sensitive. Also teams may be able to bring new concepts to this race as a chance to check design ideas for 2020.

  3. Bottas is da man.

    Gets divorce, immediately 0.5s faster than anyone else.

    Vettel meanwhile, gets a new child, misses press conference,… and still drops it over the curb and crashes.

    I hope by the end of the weekend family man Vettel destroys the competition and gives us dads some hope.

    1. Gets divorce

      Gets brand new engine he only has to use for 1 race you mean

  4. Lewis Hamilton briefly ran the number one on the front of his Mercedes

    What’s the rule on that?
    – They are allowed to have two different numbers?
    – What do the timesheets show? The average or the sum of those numbers?
    – Can a racer change numbers within the season?

    1. I wonder if it was for filming purposes.

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