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.
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”.
|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|
|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|
|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|