Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Yas Marina, 2020

Bottas leads Hamilton as Raikkonen fire disrupts second practice

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix second practice

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Valtteri Bottas led Lewis Hamilton in second practice, with the Red Bulls within a second of the Mercedes pair’s lap times.

The session began with drivers testing Pirelli’s development tyres for 2021. Each car was allocated a single set of next year’s C4 compound and required to run a minimum of eight timed laps on them. All cars started the session running the Pirelli test compounds, with Bottas and Hamilton initially fastest on rubber, Bottas on a 1’37.818 lap and Hamilton a tenth of a second back.

Hamilton was the first driver to go out on this weekend’s race tyres, setting an early fastest lap on the medium compound. Bottas was consistently a tenth or so ahead of him on each tyre the Mercedes cars ran.

Max Verstappen was next, seven tenths from Bottas’ best time on soft tyres and half a second back from Hamilton’s.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2020
Bottas led a Mercedes one-two in second practice
With around 20 minutes of the session remaining, George Russell and Kimi Raikkonen suffered power unit problems within moments of each other. Russell was told to back off and pit as Williams diagnosed an MGU-K problem. Smoke was visible from the back of his Williams as he limped back to the pits.

Raikkonen’s problem was more dramatic, his car bursting into flames at the rear as Alfa Romeo warned him of a “big fire” and urged him to “get the hell out of there.” He escaped the car quickly and was able to help marshals extinguish the flames, while the session was red-flagged to retrieve his heavily damaged car.

When the session restarted Hamilton suffered a technical problem in the pits and had to be pushed back to the Mercedes garage after his car lost all gears. Mercedes told him to attempt a start using the MGU-K, which appeared to work – the Mercedes power unit has not previously had the option to start this way.

Raikkonen helped make his Alfa Romeo safe
Esteban Ocon and Alexander Albon had a near-miss in the final moments of the session, Ocon moving seemingly defensively in front of Albon on a fast lap. They avoided each other but Albon complained on his radio about the incident, remarking “that was dangerous.”

Lando Norris was best of the rest at the final times, just under two tenths away from fourth-fastest Albon but with team mate Sainz 12th and a further tenth and a half away. The two McLarens were split by both the Renault and Racing Point cars, Ocon in sixth and Ricciardo in ninth separated by less than a hundredth.

The Ferraris were similarly split with Charles Leclerc eighth fastest and Sebastian Vettel 15th. Pietro Fittipaldi, in his second weekend as a Formula 1 driver, was half a second back from Haas team mate Kevin Magnussen.

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2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix second practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
177Valtteri BottasMercedes1’36.27628
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’36.4790.20330
333Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’37.0460.77030
423Alexander AlbonRed Bull-Honda1’37.2630.98733
54Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’37.4381.16229
631Esteban OconRenault1’37.5051.22930
711Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’37.5061.23035
816Charles LeclercFerrari1’37.5081.23231
93Daniel RicciardoRenault1’37.5081.23229
1018Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’37.5601.28429
1126Daniil KvyatAlphaTauri-Honda1’37.5961.32032
1255Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’37.6161.34031
1310Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’37.9001.62432
147Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’38.0681.79228
155Sebastian VettelFerrari1’38.1981.92232
1620Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’38.5042.22835
1799Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’38.5642.28831
1863George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’38.8172.54124
1951Pietro FittipaldiHaas-Ferrari1’39.0272.75125
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’39.1322.85631

Second practice visual gaps

Valtteri Bottas – 1’36.276

+0.203 Lewis Hamilton – 1’36.479

+0.770 Max Verstappen – 1’37.046

+0.987 Alexander Albon – 1’37.263

+1.162 Lando Norris – 1’37.438

+1.229 Esteban Ocon – 1’37.505

+1.230 Sergio Perez – 1’37.506

+1.232 Charles Leclerc – 1’37.508

+1.232 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’37.508

+1.284 Lance Stroll – 1’37.560

+1.320 Daniil Kvyat – 1’37.596

+1.340 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’37.616

+1.624 Pierre Gasly – 1’37.900

+1.792 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’38.068

+1.922 Sebastian Vettel – 1’38.198

+2.228 Kevin Magnussen – 1’38.504

+2.288 Antonio Giovinazzi – 1’38.564

+2.541 George Russell – 1’38.817

+2.751 Pietro Fittipaldi – 1’39.027

+2.856 Nicholas Latifi – 1’39.132

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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2 comments on “Bottas leads Hamilton as Raikkonen fire disrupts second practice”

  1. Another fiery end.
    Concerning track limits: I don’t really see a point in track limits monitoring regarding setting a lap time at the final corner as there’s already Astroturf material in place beside the curbing, which automatically kills acceleration speed, so somewhat redundant. I wonder why is this one particular corner treated differently than all the others with Astroturf (and or sausage curb at penultimate turn) at the corner exit? Treating one corner differently would be understandable if this was the only one without a physical deterrent of any sort besides curbing.

  2. Russell must feel like he’s driving a boat… with the anchor dragging behind…

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