During today’s free practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit, Scuderia Ferrari was working on several fronts, with three drivers at the wheel of the F1-75s, as test driver Robert Shwartzman replaced Carlos Sainz alongside Charles Leclerc in the first session, thus making his second appearance at a Formula 1 weekend, having also driven in Austin.
Charles and Robert went out first on Soft tyres. Leclerc got down to the usual tasks, while Shwartzman in the number 39 F1-75 began with a few constant speed laps, with the car sporting aero rakes to take measurements and carry out other tests in preparation for 2023. Both drivers then fitted a second set of new Soft tyres on which they set their fastest times as the track evolved. Charles did 22 laps, the best in 1’26”888 to claim third place on the timesheet, while Robert did 24, the fastest in 1’27”429, the seventh-best time of the session.
In the second session, the most representative of the track conditions and temperatures which will be encountered in qualifying and the race, Carlos was back in his own car, with both drivers starting the session on Medium tyres, before switching to Softs for qualifying simulation runs. On this compound, the Monegasque got down to 1’25”599, with the Spaniard setting a time of 1’26”161, before improving to 1’25”932. In the final part of the session, both drivers ran in race trim on Medium tyres. Charles completed 30 laps and Carlos did 31. As is always the case in Abu Dhabi, there is still plenty of work to do to prepare for qualifying and the race, as the track evolves continuously and the drivers will therefore be able to push even more around the Yas Marina circuit. The battle for pole position gets underway at 18 local (15 CET), preceded by the third free practice session at 14.30 local (11.30 CET).
‘Overall, our sessions were ok. We struggled a bit with the race pace due to tyre degradation, which was expected. Our qualifying pace was a little better, but our competitors seem to be a step ahead. We will use tomorrow’s practice to make further progress and give it our all for the last qualifying of the year.’
‘It was a very busy FP2 for me after missing the first session, so it was all about catching up and getting into the rhythm as soon as possible. The feeling on track wasn’t too bad but I know we’ve got plenty of margin to improve tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the last qualifying of the year.’
‘Today’s practice was good and I’m happy with the progress that I made. Ending the session in P7 felt good, I felt comfortable in the car and we ran through the planned programme without any issues. We started the practice with some development testing and the team was satisfied with the data we collected. I look forward to being back in the car on Tuesday for a full day of testing, where my target is to make further improvements and gain more valuable experience in this generation of car. Thank you to Scuderia Ferrari for this great opportunity.’