Valtteri Bottas was the fastest on the opening day in Abu Dhabi, narrowly beating his teammate Lewis Hamilton, as the Mercedes team focused on building an understanding of the 2021 prototype tyres as well as single lap and long run work on the 2020 tyres.
Max Verstappen, who was fastest in FP1, managed the third fastest time of the day in FP2.
More Work To Do For Valtteri Bottas
Despite being second fastest in FP1 and fastest in FP2, Valtteri Bottas can see there is work to be done if he wants to take pole position for the FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX 2020.
‘It was a decent Friday. The car felt good from the get-go, but there’s still a lot of work for us to do. The main focus will be to get the balance right throughout the entire lap, as I was struggling with the front end in some corners and with the rear end in the others.
‘I also couldn’t really get the Soft tyres into the window; I didn’t have any grip on my first lap, so I think they were too cold, but in the following lap they were already overheating, so there’s clearly some work to do.
‘The Medium actually felt like a better tyre for me, but that’s because we weren’t able to extract everything from the Soft today.
‘It’s been a decent first day on track, but I’ll take it lap by lap and my targets are clear for the weekend ahead. I’m happy Lewis is back with us again this weekend, it’s nice to see him back with the team and in the car.’
Lewis Hamilton Grateful To Be Back
After missing the second race in Bahrain, 2020 World Champion Lewis Hamilton was pleased to be back in the car in Abu Dhabi.
‘I’m grateful to be back with the team and back in the car. I missed doing what I love last week, so I was very happy to arrive at the circuit this morning.
‘It’s taken a good session and a half to get back into the flow even though it’s been such a short amount of time that I wasn’t in the car. The car didn’t quite feel the same as I had left it, so I’m now working my way back to feeling more comfortable balance-wise.
‘We had an issue with the pedals and the brakes in FP1 which cost us around 40 minutes of track time, but the team did a great job to change everything so quickly; they have been flat out for three weeks now and still keep pushing.
‘Otherwise, the sessions all went ok, the last one felt a bit better, although we didn’t get to do the long run at the end. We’ll get our heads down and work hard tonight, to be in the best shape possible for qualifying and the race.’
Max Verstappen Trying To Close Gap
Fastest in FP1, Max Verstappen finished FP3 third fastest, and is working on closing the gap ahead of qualifying.
‘Today was ok and there is still a bit of work to do to close the gap to Mercedes who seem strong again but I didn’t get a lap time on the soft compound as I came up behind Perez on a long run so it’s hard to tell exactly what the gap is.
‘We will see what the other drivers say about track limits in the briefing tonight but it’s Friday Practice which is always about exploring the limits and getting a better understanding of how wide you can go with the car.
‘In qualifying we know we can’t go so wide and will pay more attention, but I don’t think it’s a big issue.
‘The soft tyre seemed to hold on ok so I think that will be ok for qualifying and we will see whether I can sit in a different Press Conference chair tomorrow.’