• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Friday Practice Recap

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Friday Practice Recap

Event: Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (Round 21 of 21)

Date: Friday, Nov. 29

Location: Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Layout: 5.554-kilometer (3.451-mile), 21-turn track

FP1 & FP2 Weather: Mostly Sunny (FP1) / Clear (FP2)

Drivers: Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen

Free Practice No. 1 Rundown

Grosjean: 6th overall (1:39.146) 18 laps completed

Magnussen: 8th overall (1:39.350), 19 laps completed

Fastest Driver: Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes (1:36.957)

Most Laps: George Russell of Williams (24 laps)

Free Practice No. 2 Rundown

Grosjean: 7th overall (1:37.601), 17 laps completed

Magnussen: 14th overall (1:38.080), 31 laps completed

Fastest Driver:  Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes (1:36.256)

Most Laps: Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso (36 laps)

Recap

The final round of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship began with practice Friday at Yas Marina Circuit as teams prepared for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Two 90-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 5.554-kilometer (3.451-mile), 21-turn track ran under clear conditions.

Both Haas F1 drivers started their Friday programs with an installation lap and timed stint utilizing the Pirelli P Zero Yellow medium tires before switching to the Red soft compound for two additional runs. Grosjean’s best lap on the softs was a 1:39.146 which was good for sixth overall. Magnussen was eighth on the timesheet, also on the soft rubber, courtesy of a quick lap of 1:39.350. Two red flag stops marred the opening session – both involving cars stranded on track, the first being Daniel Ricciardo’s expired Renault, the second Sebastian Vettel’s Scuderia Ferrari in the barrier at Turn 19.

Lap times dropped under the floodlights as day turned to night in FP2. Contact from Valtteri Bottas ended Grosjean’s evening early at Turn 11 as the subsequent damage to his VF-19’s floor was too extensive to continue. The incident with the Mercedes driver occurred just seven laps into Grosjean’s planned long-distance run, the Frenchman having earlier set a lap time of 1:37.601 on soft rubber for seventh quickest. Magnussen ended the session 14th overall, the Dane banking a lap of 1:38.080 on softs, before completing his run plan with a high-fuel, long-distance stint.

Between the two sessions, Haas F1 Team ran a total of 85 laps – 50 by Magnussen and 35 by Grosjean.

Romain Grosjean, Driver No. 8, Haas F1 Team

“I was running a modified package, one that I hadn’t run before, so we were really doing it to get my feedback and to learn for the future. In FP1 I was really happy with the floor, the modifications and so on, so I said let’s carry on with it into the second session. Unfortunately, we only had one of that package. Tomorrow we have to change the car back. It’s not great as we did a really good job today with sixth in FP1 and seventh in FP2, best of the rest in both sessions. Yes, race pace can be improved, but we tried a few different things and we know where we could have done better. Now tomorrow we need to revert to another package. Valtteri (Bottas) apologized, he made a mistake, he even offered me one of his floors but we have to stick with what we know!”

Kevin Magnussen, Driver No. 20, Haas F1 Team

“It’s slightly difficult to say how it’s been today, it’s been a little bit difficult to read. FP1 was okay, then in FP2 I had a lot of traffic. I was just really unlucky with it. So that’s made it hard to get a real feeling on things. Even on my long run I kept getting traffic, it wasn’t really a good session. As I said, FP1 was okay. We saw Romain (Grosjean) up there at the top of the midfield in FP2, so it can’t be too bad. He obviously had damage with Bottas crashing into him, he has to go to another floor – the same one as me. I’m hoping that wasn’t the reason he was so fast, we’ll see.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1 Team

“It looked like in FP1 that we were going to have a good day, and also FP2 started well. We got our testing in, we’re doing some development work looking ahead to 2020. Unfortunately, it came to an end when Bottas decided to take us out. What looked like a good day to start off with, it came to an end just over an hour into FP2, so it didn’t end as a good day. We have to regroup and see how we run the car tomorrow, we’ll try to do our best as always. We didn’t expect to be performing as well as we did today, but we did, and now we just need to try and continue it and get the same kind of performance out on Saturday.”

Next Up

Drivers have one more practice session on Saturday (14:00-15:00 local time) before qualifying starts at 17:00. Qualifying consists of three rounds, with the 15 fastest drivers from Q1 moving on to Q2. Then, the 10 fastest drivers from Q2 advance to Q3 where they’ll battle for the pole.