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LIVE UPDATES: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Free Practice 1

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As this first session is over, the Dutchman seems to currently have the upper hand on qualifying pace but Formula 1 has shown nothing can be predicted in 2021.

We will see you at 13:00 GMT to tell you all about Free Practice 2. Until then, #HistoryAwaits


The chequered flag is out! FP1 order is as follows:

  1. Max Verstappen (1:25.009)
  2. Valtteri Bottas (+0.196)
  3. Lewis Hamilton (+0.346)
  4. Sergio Perez (+0.354)
  5. Yuki Tsunoda (+0.369)
  6. Fernando Alonso (+0.616)
  7. Pierre Gasly (+0.813)
  8. Charles Leclerc (+0.837)
  9. Carlos Sainz (+0.877)
  10. Sebastian Vettel (+0.998)
  11. Esteban Ocon (+1.016)
  12. Lando Norris (+1.114)
  13. Kimi Raikkonen (+1.180)
  14. Antonio Giovinazzi (+1.400)
  15. Lance Stroll (+1.599)
  16. Daniel Ricciardo (+1.667)
  17. Jack Aitken (+2.472)
  18. Nicholas Latifi (+2.478)
  19. Mick Schumacher (+2.689)
  20. Nikita Mazepin (+3.296)


Leclerc and Sainz make some steps forward to conquer P8 and P9. Ferrari seems to suffer the changes made to the track layout and will need a lot of work before qualifying.

The Mercedes drivers keep running wide. On the race pace shown until now, Lewis Hamilton seems 0.5s quicker than Max Verstappen. The surprise also comes from Charles Leclerc, who is at the moment one of the fastest drivers on track.


Mercedes checked Lewis Hamilton’s front wing after his previous mistake. Again, it will be crucial to not damage the car by passing on the curbs.


Valtteri Bottas closes the gap to Max (0.196). The Finn will be crucial on Sunday in his last race with Mercedes.

Hamilton and Sainz run wide without any damages. However, Lando Norris suffers a heavy passage on a curb.


Fernando really did it! Spot any differences on the Alpine?


Hamilton with the purple sectors! The Champ gets closer again and conquers the best times in sectors 1 and 3 but it’s not enough to overtake Verstappen. Ironically the gap is 0.033. However, Hamilton’s time is deleted due to track limits.


The fight between AlphaTauri and Alpine is alive, as Tsunoda and Gasly are currently P5 and P6.


Max again! The Dutchman gets better with a 1:25.009


Lewis gets close! The Brit is now only +0.055 from Verstappen, as Alonso gives Max a toe for his lap.


Kimi Raikkonen gets a 360 of the whole Abu Dhabi circuit but he’s able to safely rejoin the track.


We’re officially halfway through!

The timing sheet as it follows:

  1. Max Verstappen
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Sergio Perez
  4. Valtteri Bottas
  5. Pierre Gasly
  6. Lando Norris
  7. Fernando Alonso
  8. Yuki Tsunoda
  9. Esteban Ocon
  10. Sebastian Vettel
  11. Lance Stroll
  12. Daniel Ricciardo
  13. Antonio Giovinazzi
  14. Carlos Sainz
  15. Charles Leclerc
  16. Nicholas Latifi
  17. Mick Schumacher
  18. Jack Aitken
  19. Kimi Raikkonen
  20. Nikita Mazepin


As we see some passages on them, it’s important to notice that the new curbs installed in Abu Dhabi are similar to those in Qatar, which caused problems with punctures. Pirelli did NOT know about this, hence the curbs might create some bad surprises on Sunday.


If you’re wondering about Sergio Perez, he is now P3 (+0.694).

The helmet cam on Leclerc is gorgeous but the times from the Ferrari drivers not so much. Might be a set-up problem?. The Ramping Horse will have to find a way to better its performance.


The Dutchman keeps struggling with the steering wheel and goes back to the box.

On the other side, Lewis Hamilton betters his time to only be +0.252 behind Verstappen.


Sebastian Vettel is up to seventh, while the Ferrari drivers seem to struggle in 11th and 20th.

Verstappen at it again with the fastest lap in 1:25.300.


Hamilton steps up to second behind Max Verstappen (+0.218).

Alpine seems quick as Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon are the best of the rest behind Verstappen, Hamilton, and Bottas.


Max Verstappen answers with a 1:25.602 to overtake Fernando Alonso on the timing sheets and get the fastest lap.

Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas runs wide and Esteban Ocon almost hits the wall. All about getting to know the track!


AlphaTauri maintains its surprising free practices as Pierre Gasly goes up to fourth.

On another note, Lewis Hamilton goes back to the box and makes a practice start.


Max Verstappen is awake! The Dutch Lion marks a 1:26.463 for the fastest lap. However, Lewis Hamilton immediately answers to take away the fastest lap time with a 1:26.290.


As the Dutchman goes to set a lap, you might have seen someone different in a Williams. In fact, Jack Aitken is filling in for George Russell in this FP1.


Max Verstappen reports some problems with his steering wheel.

Wheel-to-wheel racing is already on between Leclerc and Perez. That was close!


As traditional, new shiny helmets are in, such as this new Charles Leclerc’s lid:



We are underway! All drivers must try to familiarize themselves with Abu Dhabi’s track, which has changed from 2020.


Not only Hamilton and Verstappen this weekend: F1 is full of celebrations this weekend.

Lance Stroll will drive his 100th Grand Prix after his debut with Williams in 2017.

Talking about Williams, George Russell will have one last weekend with Grove before moving to Mercedes in 2022. Hence, Valtteri Bottas is also at his final race with Brackley and as Lewis Hamilton’s teammate.

Finally, Kimi Raikkonen’s final race in Formula 1 will see fans celebrate an astonishing career. The Tifosi might actually be sad to realize in 2022 no Ferrari champion will be on the grid. Equally, Antonio Giovinazzi will also leave Alfa Romeo and F1 after Abu Dhabi to move to Formula E.


Abu Dhabi is currently sunny at 26C° with a 0% probability of precipitation. However, it’s quite humid (46%).


It’s finally time! The final weekend of the 2021 season is about to start. Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen arrive in Abu Dhabi tied on points. Hence, nailing every session will be key to determining who will be the 2021 Formula 1 World Champion.

About us, FormulaNerds will be here to tell you all about the race weekend with live updates during the sessions and news and features to keep you updated on everything that goes on in Abu Dhabi.

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