Lewis Hamilton set a new lap record around Yas Marina to finish ahead of Sebastian Vettel in Practice Two at the Abu Dhabi GP.
The world champion posted a best time of 1:37.877 – surpassing the previous record of 1:38.434 he set back in 2011 – to finish 0.149 seconds ahead of Vettel, who had topped first practice.
Daniel Ricciardo was third for Red Bull, just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari, with less than half a second splitting the top four.
“It’s close and I think it will be close also tomorrow,” said Vettel.
But Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen were disappointingly off the pace, six tenths and a second down respectively on Hamilton’s best time.
On average long run pace, Hamilton was nine tenths faster than Vettel on the supersoft tyre, but it was much closer on the ultrasoft between Mercedes and Ferrari with Bottas and Raikkonen split by two tenths.
Ricciardo also put in some strong lap times late in the session, to suggest Red Bull may be closer to their rivals come Sunday’s race.
“Race pace was alright. On low fuel we looked decent. We were probably better on low fuel than high fuel but we can clean it up,” said Ricciardo.
In the battle between Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas to finish sixth in the Constructors’ Championship it was Renault who held the advantage with Nico Hulkenberg ninth for the French manufacturer.
The battle for sixth in Constructors’ Championship Team Points 6. Toro Rosso 53 7. Renault 49 8. Haas 47
Team-mate Carlos Sainz was 13th, while the Toro Rossos of Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley were 15th and 19th respectively.
Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean were 16th and 20th, the latter’s session interrupted by a spin and then ended prematurely by an electrical issue.
Ted Kravitz gives his advice on where to go and what to see in Abu Dhabi this weekend, supported by FairFX – Sky Sports F1 sponsor
After Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull in customary fashion filled the top six spots, only one hundredth of a second split the two Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon in seventh and eighth respectively.
Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 for McLaren on their final race weekend with engine partners Honda, narrowly ahead of William’s Felipe Massa and team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne.
Abu Dhabi Practice Two Timesheet Driver Team Time Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.877 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari +0.149 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +0.303 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +0.475 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +0.660 Max Verstappen Red Bull +1.017 Sergio Perez Force India +1.446 Esteban Ocon Force India +1.456 Nico Hulkenberg Renault +1.652 Fernando Alonso McLaren +1.682 Felipe Massa Williams +1.758 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren +1.794 Carlos Sainz Renault +2.324 Lance Stroll Williams +2.452 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso +2.817 Kevin Magnussen Haas +3.251 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber +3.393 Marcus Ericsson Sauber +3.425 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso +3.619 Romain Grosjean Haas +3.683
*All times set on ultrasoft bar Gasly and Grosjean on supersofts
Who will come out on top in the F1 2017 season finale and take the bragging rights into the winter? Don’t miss the Abu Dhabi GP live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday – lights out for the race is at 1pm. Want to watch but not got Sky F1? Buy a NOW TV pass from £6.99!
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