The first day of running in Abu Dhabi has passed and it is Mercedes who have set the pace, with Valtteri Bottas setting the Friday pace.
Valtteri Bottas topped both practice sessions, despite a collision with Romain Grosjean, however it will not count for anything as he will have to start from the back of the grid due to his engine penalty.
Ferrari had a tough morning, which included a crash for Vettel, however in the more representative afternoon session, they were the second fastest team. The big question is have they showed their full hand or is Mercedes advantage in the last sector too large for them? Whilst Red Bull were a little behind but as expected are in the fight.
In the midfield, Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez set a good qualifying pace run in practice 2, ahead of the two Toro Rossos. Whilst Renault appeared to lack pace and experienced an engine failure on Daniel Ricciardo’s car in FP1. However this is only practice so not fully representative.
Today also saw the final Formula 2 qualifying session of the season, which saw Sergio Sette Camara take pole position, putting DAMS a step closer to sealing the constructors, ahead of an impressive showing from Callum Ilott who starts second. The Carlin pair of Louis Deletraz and Nobuharu Matsushita occupy row 2 ahead of Guanyu Zhou in fifth. 2019 champion Nyck De Vries starts sixth ahead of Williams bound Nicholas Latifi and Jack Aitken, who was hurt by a late yellow flag, with Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher rounding out the top 10. Also hurt by the yellow flag was Luca Ghiotto who starts eleventh, whilst Christian Lundgaard starts his first ever Formula 2 race in eighteenth on the grid. The F2 feature race in Abu Dhabi typically sees action and drama relating to tyre degradation in the early laps so it is set to be exciting.
The big question going into qualifying is whether Mercedes pace shown today is legitimate or have their rivals yet to show their hand?