F1 Abu Dhabi GP: Mercedes's Valtteri Bottas tops practice

Updated: Nov 30, 2019, 07:53 IST | Abhishek Takle | Abu Dhabi

The Finn, who was also fastest in the opening session, improved on his afternoon benchmark with a one minute, 36.256 second lap in the floodlit second session at the Yas Marina track to cement his place at the top of the timesheets

Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas topped the timesheets on the opening day of practice for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leading team mate Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes one-two despite a bizarre collision.

The Finn, who was also fastest in the opening session, improved on his afternoon benchmark with a one minute, 36.256 second lap in the floodlit second session at the Yas Marina track to cement his place at the top of the timesheets. But then he tangled with Romain Grosjean's Haas shortly after in a collision that left him with a broken front wing and other minor damage.

The 30-year-old still ended the session 0.310 seconds clear of Hamilton, who was third in the morning. But the Finn's pace was academic as he is set to start Sunday's race from the back of the grid due to engine-related grid penalties. Charles Leclerc, seventh in the first session, ended the day with the third fastest time ahead of team mate Sebastian Vettel.

The 22-year-old suffered a scare during the session, clouting the same barriers Vettel had spun into only hours earlier. The German, who collided with Leclerc in an incident that put both Ferraris out of the last race in Brazil, had been fifth in the morning despite the late spin into the barriers that ended his session. Max Verstappen, winner two weeks ago in Brazil, dropped from second to fifth for Red Bull ahead of team mate Alexander Albon.

Romain Grosjean was seventh for Haas ahead of Racing Point's Sergio Perez. Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top ten for Toro Rosso. Both of Friday's sessions were interrupted by red flags. The collision between Bottas and Grosjean halted track action briefly in the evening. An engine failure for Daniel Ricciardo that saw his Renault spit oil and fire at the pursuing Gasly was the day's first interruption.

Vettel's spin into the barriers also halted the session. Mercedes have won every race in Abu Dhabi since 2014.

Hamilton, who wrapped up his sixth Formula One title two races ago in Austin, has won at the Yas Marina track a record four times and is looking to add a fifth to end his season with a flourish.

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