Five reasons why Verstappen and Red Bull shouldn’t panic
Why Max Verstappen should not worry too much even though Lewis Hamilton is closing him down in their World Championship battle.For many, the title battle is now too close to call – but here are five reasons why Verstappen and Red Bull should not panic just yet.
The championship leader surged to the top of the times in the final third of the 45 minute session, courtesy of a 1m36.800s, set on the medium tyres.
It proved to be a hotly-contested session with only 0.035s separating the top three as rookie Jack Doohan emerged as Piastri’s closest rival.
Doohan managed to extract an effort 0.021s slower than Piastri in his MP Motorsport entry, while ART Grand Prix’s Christian Lundgaard was third fastest.
Title contenders Robert Shwartzman and Guanyu Zhou clocked times good enough for ninth and 11th respectively.
Alpine dismiss Alonso/Piastri shootout for 2023 F1 seat
Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski says Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri will not face a “direct comparison” over a Formula 1 seat for the 2023 season. Formula 2 front-runner Piastri was announced as Alpine’s official reserve driver for next year at the end of last month after failing to land an F1 seat. Piastri is on course to win the F2 title in his rookie season, sitting 40 points clear of his nearest challenger in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining. The Australian has no other racing plans in place for next year, devoting his full focus to his reserve driver role before targeting a place on the F1 grid in 2023.
F2 newcomer Clement Novalak was the first to set an indicative time around the revamped circuit, posting a 1m39.489s on the medium tyres.
The benchmark was soon eclipsed first by Jeddah podium finisher Ralph Boschung before Doohan, Marcus Armstrong and Juri Vips enjoyed spells at the top of the times.
Lundgaard lit up the timing screens with 30 minutes of the session remaining, surging to the top with a 1m37.770s. The Dane shaved almost second from that effort becoming the first drivers into the 1m36s bracket.
Piastri emerged as his nearest rival before toppling Lundgaard as the session approached its final 15 minutes. The Australian set a new benchmark which was five thousandths of a second faster than Lundgaard.
Piastri to drive for Alpine in Abu Dhabi post-season rookie F1 test
Alpine has announced academy driver Oscar Piastri will drive for the team in the Formula 1 post-season young driver test in Abu Dhabi. Last month Piastri was confirmed as Alpine’s official reserve driver for next season, following a stellar debut campaign in Formula 2. The Australian leads the drivers’ championship by 51.5 points ahead of the final round this weekend after winning two of the three races in Saudi Arabia. Although Piastri failed to land an F1 seat for next year, Alpine said the test “will build towards his 2022 role with a day behind the wheel of the race winning A521 car.” “I’m very excited to drive in the Young Driver Test,” Piastri said.
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Boschung sat third ahead of Vips, Doohan, Armstrong and Marino Sato.
Piastri managed to lap even fastest taking 0.030s off his time while countryman Doohan popped up into second spot as the clock ticked towards the final 10 minutes.
The times remained unchanged in the closing minutes of the session as Piastri emerged on top ahead of Doohan and Lundgaard.
Boschung ended the session in fourth fractionally ahead of Novalak while Vips posted the sixth fastest time. The top 10 was completed by Armstrong, Bent Viscaal, Shwartzman and Marino Sato.
Practice ran largely without incident with Roy Nissany the closest to flirting with the circuit’s barriers.
The field will return for qualifying scheduled for 18:30 local time (14:30 GMT).
F2 Abu Dhabi - Practice results:
ART Grand Prix
ART Grand Prix
Charouz Racing System
Charouz Racing System
View full results
Abu Dhabi agrees new 10-year F1 deal through to 2030 .
Formula 1 has announced a new 10-year agreement with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to continue staging the race until at least 2030. The Yas Marina Circuit has been a regular fixture on the F1 calendar since 2009, when it became the first twilight event in the championship’s history. This weekend sees the venue host the final round of the 2021 season, in which Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton will do battle in a winner-takes-all title decider. Ahead of this year’s race, Abu Dhabi underwent some re-modifications to the circuit layout in a bid to improve overtaking opportunities.