Practice 2
F1 2021
Round 22

Our Final Friday Practice In F1

ae Yas Marina

The final Friday of the 2021 season is in the books and it was a productive day for both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri at the updated Yas Marina Circuit.

Our Final Friday Practice In F1

The home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been remodelled since Max’s victory here last year, with two chicanes removed and replaced with higher-speed corners, as well as tweaks to the final sector. FP1 was spent getting used to the changes and Max duly picked up where he left off last season, topping the times in the first session.

Sergio was fourth quickest - 0.3s adrift of Max - with Yuki enjoying a particularly strong start, posting the fifth fastest time, just 0.015s behind the second Red Bull. Pierre made it four Honda-powered cars in the top seven as we enjoyed some encouraging early signs.

Like the previous two rounds, FP2 was the more representative session as it took place at sunset to match qualifying and the race. Under the floodlights, Max was fourth fastest ahead of Sergio in fifth, while Yuki was seventh and Pierre tenth as the focus shifted to race pace ahead of Sunday’s title decider.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
On the first day of practice for the final race of the season, the first item on the work sheet was learning more about the new circuit layout at Yas Marina, which is quite a significant change. Already, today’s lap times are over 10 seconds faster than last year’s pole time, so it’s clearly a very quick track. On the PU front, based on simulation work carried out before coming here, we focused on optimising our settings to suit this revised track. All four cars had a smooth day. As usual we will now look at further improving our performance after studying today’s data, to prepare for qualifying and the race. Looking at today’s time sheets, it seems our championship rivals look very strong here, so I do not expect us to have an easy time for the rest of the weekend. But there are just two more days to go until the end of the season and, right to the very end, we will be doing everything we can in our battle to win the championship. 

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
I like the new track layout, it’s more fun to drive with the faster corners, especially in the last sector. We made a few changes to the set up across the two sessions and I do think they are positive. We are still learning and understanding a few things. The short runs didn’t go to plan, we are lacking a bit of pace but I think the long runs were more competitive so that’s important. I’m looking forward to qualifying tomorrow to put it all together.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
I don’t know how much the track has improved since last year. It’s still nice to drive but there are question marks for me on whether it has improved the racing. I think we have some work to do overnight after today’s sessions. We ran very different set-ups across the two cars, so we've got plenty of information that we need to go through in detail and pick out the best parts for qualifying. There will be learnings to take forward into our final practice session so we can look to qualify strongly on Saturday.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’ve already driven here for the Young Driver Test last year and of course knowing the track beforehand always helps with my approach to the weekend, which hasn’t always been the case this season. I’m really enjoying the new layout of this circuit, we’ve still got some things to work on but I think the pace so far is quite good. We’ve got a lot of data across the two cars, so we’re in a good position to continue to improve tomorrow. My aim is to get through to Q3 in Quali again, as we’re looking quite strong here and then our race pace is looking good also, so we just need to put it altogether when it counts.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
The layout is really different, it feels like a new track with a lot more high-speed corners, so it’s really cool. We tried some different things with the car today, but I still haven’t felt that great, so we’ve got some work to do for tomorrow.

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