Abu Dhabi GP | Hamilton remains fastest from Rosberg in FP2

Abu Dhabi GP second free practice topped by Lewis Hamilton.

As the sun set over Yas Marina and the lights came on, Rosberg narrowed the gap but Hamilton remained fastest. But only by seven-hundredths of a second fastest rather than the three-tenths Lewis carried into the night.

When the first practice session at the season finale ended, Hamilton sat comfortably above his team-mate and championship rival on the timesheet.

At the end of FP2, however, the margin was reduced and Hamilton only held less than a tenth over Rosberg. Requiring fastest first and final sectors to better his German stablemate, who ran marginally wide out of turn 14.

When Rosberg set his fastest time of the day, he set the then fastest middle sector to boot. Moving ahead of Sebastian Vettel after the Ferrari become the first of the session to take on the ultra-soft tyres.

Verstappen later took the fastest middle sector time away from Rosberg. With the Red Bull crossing the line two and a half tenths down on Vettel.

As for Hamilton, once on a long run, the team informed him that they had inputted the wrong front wing setting on his car. However, Lewis felt the car was working quite well despite the error.

Valterri Bottas had been the second fastest man, behind fellow Finn Raikkonen, prior to the ultra-soft runs. But once the leading pack scrubbed his name from the position, the Williams slumped down to seventh. Followed closely by Perez and Hulkenberg, as Force India split their Constructors’ Championship rivals.

The afternoon session also put another dent in Toro Rosso’s day as Daniil Kvyat suffered another puncture to his left rear tyre. Cracking wheel hubs also meant both cars were forced to be retired from the session while a fix was found.

When the cracked hub caused Daniil’s second puncture of the day, he was taking the flat-out turn 15. Pitching the car into a spin and nearly hitting the crash barriers. With a piece of the car also shooting away as he straddled the kerb.

“Oh **** **** **** **** **** ****. Guys, these punctures are starting to f*** me off.” Kvayt informed his team via the radio.

Issues also struck for Mercedes, Ferrari and Haas across the session. With Kimi late into the action as the team concluded their ahead of schedule engine change.

As for Mercedes, Hamilton reported a possible gearbox issue. Claiming: “Something didn’t feel good in the drivetrain. Check the gearbox, [it] doesn’t feel right.”

Sebastian Vettel also felt he had a gearbox failure late in the session. Telemetry then confirmed his worries when he lost drive out of turn 14 and was forced to park under the hotel.

‘Dodgy’ rear suspension for Grosjean also struck his Haas, claiming “the car is pulling to a strange direction”. Not only that, Grosjean’s session took on a late water leak too. But Haas reassured their driver the problem should only be a “quick fix”.

Pos Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 36 1’40.861
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 38 1’40.940 0.079 0.079
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 31 1’41.130 0.269 0.19
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 24 1’41.389 0.528 0.259
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 33 1’41.390 0.529 0.001
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 34 1’41.464 0.603 0.074
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 35 1’41.959 1.098 0.495
8 Sergio Perez Force India 35 1’42.041 1.18 0.082
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 36 1’42.264 1.403 0.223
10 Felipe Massa Williams 36 1’42.268 1.407 0.004
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 33 1’42.366 1.505 0.098
12 Jenson Button McLaren 24 1’42.823 1.962 0.457
13 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 35 1’43.012 2.151 0.189
14 Romain Grosjean Haas 17 1’43.108 2.247 0.096
15 Jolyon Palmer Renault 33 1’43.272 2.411 0.164
16 Esteban Ocon Manor 35 1’43.600 2.739 0.328
17 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 33 1’43.754 2.893 0.154
18 Felipe Nasr Sauber 36 1’43.903 3.042 0.149
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 34 1’44.045 3.184 0.142
20 Kevin Magnussen Renault 25 1’44.117 3.256 0.072
21 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso 5 1’44.478 3.617 0.361
22 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 4 1’45.948 5.087 1.47