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Motorcycle racing-Hamilton advantage after practice for the match in Abu Dhabi

Grand Prix Abu Dhabi
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 10, 2021 Max Verstappen of Red Bull during REUTERS / Hamad I Mohammed practice

December 10, 2021

(Dan Tri) – Lewis Hamilton pushed Formula One rival Max Verstappen off the top of the timesheet to end the opening day of their title match at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the fastest comfort possible.

The Briton crossed the modified 5.2km Yas Marina track in one minute 23,691 seconds, being the only driver to drop below the 1:24 mark with the 24-year-old Dutchman finishing fourth.

The Red Bull driver finished the fastest in the opening session of the action Friday afternoon with Hamilton, whose fastest lap time was cleared, in third.

However, the Dutchman was unable to go beyond 0.641 seconds over the British’s benchmark in the evening, although he did show an advantage over Hamilton in the heavy fuel race simulation.

“It was a relatively good day,” said Hamilton, praising the changes made to the Yas Marina track to enhance overtaking and provide a more fluid feel.

“We’ve passed our sessions and there’s still a bit of an unknown on the pace but I’m sure it will be very close to the same as the previous races.”

Verstappen and Hamilton head into Sunday’s race, one winner – through all showdowns, leveling points. But the Dutchman led 9-8 with the win and would be the champion if there were no points.

The pair have collided three times this season, stoking fears that an intense title war could end in a crash.

But the FIA ​​regulator has warned motorists of serious consequences, such as point deductions, for unsportsmanlike behaviour.

Verstappen, the winner from pole position in last year’s Abu Dhabi finale, admitted his Red Bull lacked one-round pace but was encouraged by his race pace.

“We are still learning and understanding a few things,” he said.

“But obviously the short run didn’t go to plan, lacked a bit of speed, but I think the long run is a bit more competitive.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon took advantage of Red Bull’s relative lack of pace, unexpectedly taking a 0.343-second lead over Hamilton. Valtteri Bottas in the other Mercedes came in third, 0.392 seconds behind speed.

Kimi Raikkonen crashed at the last minute of the session, with the resulting red flag an early finish of the run.

Finn, set to retire on Sunday, lost control of his Alfa Romeo on the left-handed Turn 14 and plunged into the hurdles.

The 42-year-old, who finished his 16th session, left the game but his Alfa Romeo was a mess.

“Yes, I lost the rear,” he said over the team radio in typical deadpan style.

Sergio Perez finished fifth in the other Red Bull ahead of Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Japanese rookie Yuki Tsunoda in his AlphaTauri.

Charles Leclerc placed eighth ahead of Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly in another AlphaTauri made the top 10.

Williams substitute Jack Aitken replaced Mercedes-Benz’s George Russell in the afternoon opener just five months after sustaining a broken collarbone and vertebrae at the 24-hour Spa motorsport race in Belgium and setting the time. 17th fastest time.

The second session, which begins at the same time as Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race is scheduled to begin, offers a more representative picture of pecking order.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; Editing by Rohith Nair, Toby Davis and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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Huynh Nguyen

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