Max Verstappen maintained his strong form as he comfortably led the way during the opening practice session for Formula 1’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Verstappen, who won in Mexico and was on course for a repeat in Brazil until a clash with Esteban Ocon, posted a time of 1:38.491 on Pirelli’s Hypersoft tyres at Yas Marina.
That lap left him over a second clear of his rivals, though Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo drew to within 0.454s to complete a 1-2 for the squad, with both running the pink-banded Hypersoft tyres.
Mercedes took third and fourth, with Valtteri Bottas (Supersofts) ahead of Lewis Hamilton (Ultrasofts), the Finn 0.961s behind Verstappen at the scene of his most recent Formula 1 victory.
Nothing of note from Ferrari in the first practice session for the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel almost two seconds off the pace, not showing much of their hand. However, the Maranello team was focusing on testing new parts, as the Italian side has done for much of this second half of the Formula 1 season.
Second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will begin at 17:00 local time
Here are the complete results from the first practice session at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.
Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:38.491
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing +0.454
Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.961
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +1.052
Esteban Ocon Force India +1.611
Kevin Magnussen Haas +1.744
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +1.926
Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +1.962
Carlos Sainz Renault +2.097
Romain Grosjean Haas +2.172
Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso +2.180
Nico Hulkenberg Renault +2.532
Sergio Perez Force India +2.584
Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso +2.646
Lance Stroll Williams +3.002
Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber +3.171
Marcus Ericsson Sauber +3.437
Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren +3.623
Fernando Alonso McLaren +3.822
Robert Kubica Williams +4.501