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Leclerc quickest in disrupted second session


Ahead of today's second practice session the air temperature is 27 degrees C, while the track temperature is 35 degrees.

Earlier, in a session which saw ten rookies participate, George Russell was quickest, ahead of Felipe Drugovich and Daniel Ricciardo.

Interestingly, while AlphaTauri fielded both of its regular drivers having previously fulfilled its young driver commitment, Red Bull had two rookies in action replacing Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Due to the fact that qualifying and the race take place at night the session was somewhat unrepresentative, though it was noticeable that the wind caused problems at Turn 1 and traffic was an issue.

The only updates are a new Front Wing Endplate and Front Wing at Alfa Romeo, a new Beam Wing, Rear Wing and Rear Wing Endplate at Aston Martin and Floor Body, Floor Fences and Floor Edge at Alpha Tauri.

The lights go green and Bottas is first out, followed by Albon, Zhou, Alonso, Verstappen and Perez, a number of these getting their first taste of the Yas Marina track this year.

As more drivers head out all bar Bottas are on mediums, the Finn opting for hards.

It's business as usual as Verstappen shoots straight to the head of the timesheets with a 26.453, ahead of Stroll, Albon, Gasly, Perez and Bottas.

On his second flying lap Magnussen goes top with a 26.413, before being leapfrogged by Russell (25.906).

Sargeant switches to softs and goes seventh with a 26.659 as Ricciardo goes second (26.374).

Just nine minutes in the session is red-flagged after Sainz spins and goes off into the barriers at Turn 4.

"I've crashed the car," he says, "dirty air from the car, it gave me a massive snap. The dirty air and the bump, I think."

As the car is lifted on to a flat-bed track there is quite a bit of damage.

As the clock continues to count down, Russell is quickest, ahead of Ricciardo, Stroll, Magnussen, Verstappen Piastri, Leclerc, Tsunoda, Bottas and Sargeant.

Race Control announces that the session will resume at 17:35 (local time) leaving 25 minutes of running.

Ahead of the restart there is queue in the pitlane.

Magnussen leads the way, followed by Hulkenberg, Albon, Zhou, Verstappen, Norris and Perez.

Verstappen isn't happy that Albon appears to push his way into the queue ahead of him.

Elsewhere, Ricciardo and Hamilton head down the pitlane side-by-side.

Of course, that's the problem when you have a restricted amount of running time.

At which point the session is red-flagged again after Hulkenberg lights up his tyres and subsequently loses it and hits the barrier at Turn 1.

"Lost it, exit of Turn 1," he admits. On the pit wall Guenther Steiner clearly isn't impressed.

The session will resume at 17:44 leaving 16 minutes of running... fingers crossed.

Again there is frantic activity in the pitlane.

Norris leads the way, followed by Albon, Piastri, Alonso and Bottas.

Having previously criticised Albon for queue jumping, Verstappen now overtakes a number of drivers as they leave the pitlane.

"I'm getting blocked," he complains as drivers warn that he is going over the white lines in his efforts to pass them.

This is outrageous behaviour from someone who should know better.

In no time there are 18 drivers on track sporting a mixture of mediums and softs.

Piastri (soft) goes quickest (25.361), but is leapfrogged by Bottas (25.024) who is also on softs.

Gasly goes second ahead of Zhou.

A 24.809 sees Leclerc (soft) go quickest, while Verstappen can only manage 11th (26.387) on the mediums, likewise the Bulls.

McLaren has its drivers on different compounds, while both Mercedes drivers are on mediums.

Alonso goes 12th and Stroll 13th, both on the softs.

A 26.234 sees Perez go 12th on the mediums as Alonso improves to sixth with a 25.397.

"The car is jumping like a kangaroo in the last sector," reports Verstappen, which is probably why he felt the need to jump the queue.

Norris goes second with a 24.852 on the softs, while Hamilton improves to fifth (25.315) on the softs.

Verstappen is given a very late call as Piastri rockets past having just left the pits.

"Oh, f***," says the Dutchman, clearly caught out. Nonetheless, now on softs, he improves to third with a 24.982.

Perez fails to improve on 16th after making a mistake in Turn 13.

With just over a minute remaining, Bottas switches to the hards.

Zhou goes fifth (25.223), as Russell goes fifth with a 25.122.

On a second flying lap Perez posts PBs in the first and final sectors, crossing the line at 25.112 to go fifth.

Leclerc is quickest, ahead of Norris, Verstappen, Bottas, Perez, Russell, Zhou, Hamilton, Gasly and Piastri.

Alonso is eleventh, ahead of Ricciardo, Stroll, Ocon, Tsunoda, Albon, Magnussen, Sargeant, Sainz and Hulkenberg.

Check out our Friday gallery from Yas Marina here.


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