Mercedes pulls out the roller but Bottas signs a comic shock

Three tenths of advantage for the Finn (who comes last) in the free before touching Grosjean. Sainz, 11th, just behind his rival, Gasly.


Mercedes Roller in the free practice of Abu Dhabi recalling what was a good part of the 2019 season before Ferrari and Red Bull rebelled. Bottas to the front with three tenths on Hamilton and the others cementing their advantage in two first decent sectors and a third overwhelming in the revived area of Yas Marina. In its favor, the pace at a turn and in long runs shown this Friday on the Emirati track. Against him, that this Sunday Hamilton will be alone to defend his priority position on the grid: the Finn has a penalty for changing his engine and will come last.

That can allow Leclerc, Vettel or Verstappen, all less than half a second from the head, complicate things to the 'silver arrows' and even fight for a victory. The Monegasque will take advantage of his cool engine in the Ferrari (he rode it in Brazil) against rivals who arrive already accusing the mileage (record for him in the first two sets), 'Seb' is an unknown but it is in one of those circuits in which He has done well in the past and 'Mad Max' ends the season as a shot, with poles (Mexico and Brazil) and pace to win, although he has only recently achieved it in Interlagos.

Friday practices left curious, repetitive or ridiculous moments. In the first category (and perhaps the second) enters the top of Vettel, who touched the walls in Curve 20 and had to change his gearbox, without penalty. In the second fits the engine breakdown of Ricciardo, another Renault that fails (21 engines used in 2019 among its four cars). For the third, there is no doubt: a funny clash between Bottas and Grosjean 20 minutes from the end of the session that damaged the aerodynamics of both cars and for which it seems difficult to distribute blame, because the two have enough.

In the middle zone, precisely Grosjean ruled with Haas followed by Pérez and Toro Rosso. Strange day at McLaren, more or less close to Faenza's cars, although apparently further back than usual within that trend, which is confirmed, that they are giving up time in qualifying and recovering on Sundays. Sainz was 11th, just behind Gasly (10th), but he needs to at least reverse those positions to take sixth place in the World Cup.

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