F1: George Russell dominates the first tests in Abu Dhabi

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Monegasque’s Charles Leclerc set the fastest time in Friday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2nd free practice, reduced by more than half an hour due to two exits.

At the Yas Marina circuit, the Ferrari driver beat Briton Lando Norris (McLaren) and Red Bull Dutchman Max Verstappen at dusk, guaranteeing him the 2023 title.

Finn Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) and Mexican Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) complete the group top-5 sessions marred by various mishaps.

Frenchmen Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon – ill – finished 9th and 14th respectively behind the wheel of their Alpines.

The session, which was supposed to last an hour, was interrupted for the first time less than ten minutes after the first laps of the wheels due to the exit of the Spaniard Carlos Sainz from the track.

The Scuderia driver, unscathed, finished his race in the wall, requiring testing to be stopped for almost 30 minutes, as needed to evacuate his damaged car and secure the track.

When the session resumed, it was Nico Hülkenberg who this time lost control of his Haas before hitting the wall. Again too damaged, the car had to be evacuated. The tests were therefore interrupted again for seven minutes.

Earlier in the day, half the starting grid – including Verstappen and Leclerc – gave up their places in favor of young drivers from their team during the first hour of testing of the weekend.

According to the regulations, F1 teams must give the wheel to their youngsters at least twice during the season, only as part of the first test session.

The third and last training session before the qualifications is planned for Saturday.

Second free training :

Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) 1:24.809 (16 laps)

Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:24.852 (18)

Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) 1:24.982 (17)

Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1:25.024 (16)

Sergio Pérez (MEX/Red Bull) 1:25.112 (17)

George Russell (GBR/Mercedes) 1:25.122 (17)

Zhou Guanyu (CHN/Alfa Romeo-Ferrari) 1:25.223 (18)

Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes) 1:25.315 (16)

Pierre Gasly (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1:25.321 (15)

Oscar Piastri (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:25.361 (18)

Fernando Alonso (ESP/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:25.397 (17)

Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/AlphaTauri-Red Bull) 1:25.467 (16)

Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes) 1:25.492 (17)

Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault) 1:25.566 (17)

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri-Red Bull) 1:25.669 (17)

Alexander Albon (THA/Williams-Mercedes) 1:26.081 (20)

Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas-Ferrari) 1:26.413 (18)

Logan Sargeant (USA/Williams-Mercedes) 1:26.659 (17)

Carlos Sainz fils (ESP/Ferrari) 1:26.707 (4)

Nico Hülkenberg (GER/Haas-Ferrari) 1:27.147 (7)

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