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Friday Report: 2023 Abu Dhabi GP

Frantic final Friday of the season sets up exciting weekend

  • FP1 saw 10 rookies running, including our own Junior Driver Fred Vesti who replaced Lewis Hamilton for the second of two mandatory sessions.

  • The Dane completed a full programme on the Medium and Soft compound tyres finishing P12; while George Russell topped the times in the other car.

  • Lewis returned to the car for FP2 but two red flag periods, the first lasting for 25 minutes, limited running for him and the entire field.

  • George and Lewis both completed running on the Medium tyre before putting on the Soft compound near the end of the session.

  • They ended FP2 in P6 and P8 respectively; FP3 will now be even busier as the team looks to complete its planned running before qualifying.


George Russell

26 Laps



Medium, Soft, Medium

Frederik Vesti

27 Laps



Medium, Soft, Medium


George Russell

17 Laps



Medium, Soft

Lewis Hamilton

16 Laps



Medium, Soft

George Russell

That was a relatively positive Friday for us. There were a lot of rookie drivers out there on track in FP1, so we didn’t get a completely clear gauge of where our relative pace was. Fred did a good job for the team though, and we got a lot of useful data to look over. FP2 was clearly an interrupted session so again, we couldn’t get a read on where we were stacking up against our competitors or a true picture of where our pace may be. Nevertheless, we have a lot to review overnight and that will hopefully put us in a good place to finish the last race of the season on a high. I’m excited going into tomorrow.

Lewis Hamilton

FP2 was a very frustrating session for me, and I suspect for all the drivers out there. We got very little running in the end, and a lack of consecutive laps too, which is what we most want to achieve on a Friday. On the laps we did do, the car felt OK. The grip felt good and there are a few things we will look at overnight to see what we can improve. It was a shame we didn’t get more running, but we will look to make up for that in FP3 tomorrow.

Fred Vesti

Taking part in my second FP1 was an incredible experience. I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time, especially as it was on a track that I know well. I was really pleased with how the session went and I was progressing well throughout the hour. I was much more confident with the car than in Mexico given the knowledge I had gained from that FP1. There are always things you can improve and there was more potential out there. I’m looking forward to getting back in the car on Tuesday for the test and carrying on that development. Once again, a big thank you to Toto and the team for giving me the opportunity and supporting me.

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

Fred did a great job for us in FP1. We were able to get some useful work done on his car, which will be helpful as we prepare for qualifying and the race. We're looking forward to having him back in the car for the test on Tuesday. George had a clean FP1. We were missing a lot of the reference cars, so we weren't reading too much into the timesheets. We were able to get a read on high and low fuel balance and made some changes going into the evening session.

The second session was badly compromised by the red flags. That was clearly felt most by all those drivers who sat out FP1, and Lewis was understandably frustrated not to be able to get more laps in. We still managed to get a bit of a read on the long run in the cool conditions, and the soft single-lap pace. There is plenty to do overnight, but at least we have an idea of where we need to improve the car.

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