Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2023

Leclerc quickest as team mate Sainz crashes in disrupted second practice

Formula 1

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Ferrari had mixed emotions after second practice as Charles Leclerc set the quickest time but team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr crashed.

Sainz was one of two drivers to bring out the red flags after spinning into the barriers during the session with Nico Hulkenberg also skidding off later in the session. Leclerc ended the session with the quickest time just ahead of Lando Norris, with Max Verstappen third-fastest for Red Bull.

After both Red bull drivers handed over their cars to Jake Dennis and Isack Hadjar, Verstappen and Sergio Perez both reclaimed their seats for the second hour of practice – albeit with the new race engineers who appeared in the first session still in place.

Also getting their first runs of the day were Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Nico Hulkenberg, Zhou Guanyu and Alexander Albon. However they all got around half as much time as they were expecting.

George Russell had set the pace in the opening session of the day and he immediately resumed ownership of the top spot with his first lap time of a 1’25.906 on medium compound tyres. Daniel Ricciardo went second fastest for AlphaTauri, while Lance Stroll was less than a tenth slower in third.

Less than 10 minutes into the session, the red flag was suddenly shown as Sainz’s Ferrari was in the outside barrier at turn three, just after the pit exit line. Sainz had been pushing through the opening corners before coming across Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri. Sainz claimed that dirty air from Tsunoda caused him to lose downforce on his car, sending him spinning into the barriers.

With the TecPro barrier in need of repair, there was a lengthy delay of almost half an hour before the session resumed. Verstappen was eager to begin pushing, overtaking several cars on his outlap, but he was unable to complete a timed lap as the red flag flew for a second time, this time for Hulkenberg spinning at the exit of the first corner and hitting the inside barrier, causing damage to the rear of his car.

After an additional delay of just under seven minutes, the session resumed for a second time with just 16 minutes of time remaining, with Verstappen again so keen to get out onto the track that he overtook both Mercedes of Russell and Hamilton at the exit of the pit lane.

Many drivers opted to fit soft tyres for the later minutes of the session, with Leclerc going quickest of all with a 1’24.809 on the red-walled rubber. Norris got within half a tenth of the Ferrari driver to go second, while Verstappen could only manage third for Red Bull, under two tenths slower.

Those proved the fastest times which ended with Leclerc on top at the end of a very disrupted session. Behind Norris and Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas put Alfa Romeo in fourth ahead of Sergio Perez in fifth, Russell in sixth, Zhou in seventh and Hamilton in eighth. Pierre Gasly and Oscar Piastri completed the top ten, with the top 15 drivers all covered by less than a second on the timing screen.

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2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix second practice result

116Charles LeclercFerrariSF-231’24.80916
24Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’24.8520.04318
31Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’24.9820.17317
477Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’25.0240.21516
511Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB191’25.1120.30317
663George RussellMercedesW141’25.1220.31317
724Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC431’25.2230.41418
844Lewis HamiltonMercedesW141’25.3150.50616
910Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5231’25.3210.51215
1081Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL601’25.3610.55218
1114Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’25.3970.58817
123Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’25.4670.65816
1318Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR231’25.4920.68317
1431Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5231’25.5660.75717
1522Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPTAT041’25.6690.86017
1623Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW451’26.0811.27220
1720Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-231’26.4131.60418
182Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW451’26.6591.85017
1955Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-231’26.7071.8984
2027Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-231’27.1472.3387

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2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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4 comments on “Leclerc quickest as team mate Sainz crashes in disrupted second practice”

  1. Blaming dirty air seems a poor excuse, especially as that car was too far ahead to realistically impact that much, not to mention off the racing line, so wholly a driver error, perhaps caused by distraction.
    I wholly understand why Max went for the overtaking moves on the pit exit route as he did on Brazil’s similarly long-ish exit route & besides, overtaking is permitted beyond the fast lane ending point, so fair play.

  2. Just noticed an interesting stat about Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It has been the season ending grand prix for 13 years 2009-2022 (with the exception of 2012). 10 winners of these 13 grand prix have gone on to be the drivers’ champion the following year. That’s a pretty good hit rate. Hope someone other than Max wins then :)

    On the flip side, the other 3 winners – Lewis in 2011, Vettel in 2013, Bottas in 2017 – went on to have arguably the weakest seasons of their careers in the following year.

    1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      24th November 2023, 23:51

      Such a depressing stat about it being the season ender. It’s a woeful circuit.

    2. but as Freud once said:

      “Sometimes a stat is just a stat”


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