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Hamilton fastest in Abu Dhabi first practice

A number of F2 and reserve drivers were given an opportunity to have a run in the cars ahead of the final race of 2022.

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Lewis Hamilton was the fastest driver on track during Free Practice 1 for the Abu Dhabi GP, as Mercedes continued their form from Brazil with a 1-2 with George Russell in second.

Charles Leclerc was third quickest on track ahead of the Red Bull of Sergio Perez, while Sebastian Vettel was 7th for Aston Martin as the four-time champion begins the final race weekend of his F1 career before retiring.

The session saw a number of reserve and F2 drivers get a chance to show their pace in the cars, with Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz, Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi and Mick Schumacher all sitting on the sidelines.

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Saturday – Jiri Krenek

F2 drivers step in

A number of drivers were given a chance to test their respective teams’ cars during the session, including F2 drivers Liam Lawson with Red Bull in place of 2022 champion Max Verstappen, Jack Doohan in the Alpine of Fernando Alonso and Robert Shwartzman in Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari.

Both Lawson and Shwartzman managed to keep pace with their experienced teammates, with the Red Bull driver 5th behind Perez, while the German was in 7th.

Indycar driver Pato O’Ward was also given an opportunity to show his pace in the McLaren of Lando Norris, but his session was interrupted after the car suffered an issue and he was told to return slowly to the pits in second gear.

However, the Mexican managed to get back out on track and was 18th quickest overall, while Haas reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi, deputising for Mick Schumacher who will leave the team to be replaced by Nico Hulkenberg for 2023, was 17th.

Logan Sargeant, who is set to replace Nicholas Latifi at Williams for next year provided he secures the necessary Super Licence points in the final F2 race this weekend, was 15th, while newly-crowned F2 champion Felipe Drugovich had his first run as Aston Martin’s official reserve driver and was last overall.

Meanwhile former Sauber driver Robert Kubica made his second appearance on track of the season after filling in for Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo during the Hungarian GP, finishing the session in 14th.

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