Vettel and Hamilton quickest in final Friday practice sessions of the season at Abu Dhabi

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton was quickest in the final Friday practice sessions of the year at Yas Marina.

Vettel set the benchmark early on as Hamilton came second quickest from Max Verstappen, the top three separated by just a tenth of a second. As usual in Abu Dhabi due to the nature of the race the teams didn’t get a lot of representative running done in the session, although they did use it as an opportunity to test new parts on their cars.

Raikkonen emerged from the pits on his installation lap with an array of sensors at the rear of his SF70-H testing out new diffuser and rear wing elements, with a few other drivers including Stoffel Vandoorne and Valtteri Bottas sporting flow-vis paint on their front wings.

George Russell was in place for Esteban Ocon for the second practice session in a row, and despite an early problem with the tail wind at Turn 12 which caused him to spin the 2017 GP3 champion finished 11th quickest just under a second off Sergio Perez who finished sixth fastest.

The only major drama of the session came when Romain Grosjean hit the barrier at the second to last corner, after clipping the kerb and spinning backwards. That damaged the rear of his Haas and ended his session prematurely with with just a handful of minutes left on the clock.

Hamilton set the early pace on a 1m39.720s in the afternoon session, with Daniel Ricciardo four hundredths off in second place. Bottas was the first of the top drivers to go onto qualifying simulations setting a 1m38.609s.

Vettel then moved into the mix with a time that was good enough for quickest, before he swapped the honour of setting the lap record with Hamilton when they switched to the Ultra Soft tyre.

The Ferrari driver set the first time of a 1m38.026s but Hamilton managed to improve by a tenth and a half to 1m37.877s later on in the session, with Ricciardo completing the top three.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest from Verstappen who dropped to fifth fastest after focusing on long runs. Most of the drivers switched to gathering long run data after just half an hours running in the session, some of which featured offs from drivers including Brendon Hartley who spun at the first corner and managed to just keep his Toro Rosso out of the barrier.

 

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