Formula 1 Racing

Perez heads Red Bull one-two over Mercedes in final Abu Dhabi practice · RaceFans

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2022

Sergio Perez headed a Red Bull one-two ahead of Mercedes in final practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit.

Perez’s best time of a 1’24.982 saw him head into qualifying a tenth-and-a-half quicker than Max Verstappen, with Lewis Hamilton almost a quarter of a second behind in third. However the Mercedes driver is under investigation for failing to reduce his speed sufficiently when the red flag was shown.

It was a typically bright, warm start to Saturday in Abu Dhabi as the final practice hour of the 2022 season began. With the track hotter than it likely would be for any further session in the weekend, very few drivers chose to head out in the early part of the session.

The two Ferraris of Carlos Sainz Jnr and Charles Leclerc enjoyed the track to themselves in the early minutes, with Sainz setting the initial benchmark of a 1’27.821 on medium tyres before Leclerc beat his team mate by half a second on his first flying lap.

Mercedes then took to the track on the soft tyres, with Lewis Hamilton going easily fastest with a 1’26.040, while team mate George Russell moved into second with lap just under half a second slower than his team mate.

Leclerc improved on his original set of mediums to go second quickest, half-a-tenth slower than Hamilton, while the two Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon used mediums to go third and fourth fastest-respectively.

Lando Norris alerted his team to a possible brake fire on his front-left wheel and was told to pit and abandon his run. He was soon sent back out again, McLaren seemingly satisfied his car was safe. Soon after, Sebastian Vettel reported a similar problem on his Aston Martin, with smoke visibly rising from his own left-front wheel.

Perez set a new fastest time of the session with a 1’25.861 on the medium tyres, before practice was red-flagged at the half-hour mark when Pierre Gasly suffered a failure at the front-left of his car at the exit of turn nine, leaving a small piece of debris just off the racing line. While the debris was cleared, Hamilton appeared to overtake both Norris and Kevin Magnussen under the red flag on the approach to turn five. Hamilton will be investigated after practice for failing to slow under red flag.

The session resumed shortly afterwards, with many teams opting to head out on soft tyres to work on their single lap pace ahead of qualifying. Hamilton moved back to the top of the times with his first effort, before Perez went almost a quarter of a…

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