Grand prix

Verstappen returns to top 2nd Abu Dhabi practice

Verstappen, who sat out of FP1 while Liam Lawson deputised in his Red Bull to complete the team’s mandatory rookie practice outings, set an impressive pace under the Yas Marina lights to finish 0.341s clear of Mercedes’ George Russell

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third, 0.453s down on Verstappen, while Lewis Hamilton, who led a Mercedes 1-2 in opening practice, took fourth, some 0.6s adrift of his 2021 F1 title rival. 

Video of Why was Daniel Ricciardo replaced by Oscar Piastri at McLaren for F1 2023?

This weekend’s season-ending race in Abu Dhabi marks the seven-time world champion’s last chance to save his record of winning at least one grand prix every season he has contested, at the scene of his controversial title defeat to Verstappen 12 months ago. 

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was a tenth further back in fifth, ahead of the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, and the Alpine pair of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, who were separated by just 0.005s.

Outgoing McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo, who appears set to become Red Bull’s third driver for F1 2023, and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas completed the top-10 order in FP2. 

Final practice takes place at 10.30am UK time on Saturday ahead of qualifying at 2pm. 

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