Valtteri Bottas set the pace for Mercedes in opening practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Sebastian Vettel crashed late on in his Ferrari at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Bottas set the pace in FP1 with a best time of 1m36.957s in the Mercedes W10 to finish half a second clear of the field, giving the Finn a boost heading into the weekend despite already having an engine penalty confirmed, leaving him at the back of the grid for the race.

Max Verstappen was able to take second for Red Bull ahead of Bottas’s teammate, Lewis Hamilton, who sported the #1 on the bonnet of his car for the first half of the session.

Hamilton suffered a brief scare when he reported a loss of power midway through the session, only for Mercedes to confirm this had been caused by a sensor issue.

Alexander Albon finished the session fourth for Red Bull ahead of Vettel, who spun into the barrier at Turn 19 in the final two minutes of the session after appearing to make a mistake across the kerb exiting the corner.

Vettel hit the barrier with the rear of his Ferrari SF90, sparking a red flag that brought the session to an early end and leaving his team with repairs to complete ahead of FP2.

It was the session red flag of the session after the session was previously halted with 30 minutes left on the clock when Daniel Ricciardo suffered an engine failure at the final corner.

Ricciardo’s car came to a halt after spitting flames and dropping oil on the circuit, leaving it to be recovered by the marshals. However, the Australian will face no penalty as Renault had planned to swap out the engine after Friday’s practice running.

Romain Grosjean took sixth for Haas, two places clear of teammate Kevin Magnussen as Charles Leclerc split the pair in the second Ferrari. Antonio Giovinazzi took ninth for Alfa Romeo, while Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10 for Renault.

Lando Norris took P11 for McLaren ahead of Lance Stroll and Kimi Raikkonen, with Sergio Perez finishing 14th ahead of the Toro Rosso pair of Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly.

Carlos Sainz ended FP1 down in 17th ahead of Robert Kubica, with Ricciardo and the unwell George Russell propping up the running order in 19th and 20th respectively.

Second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix gets underway at 5pm local time (1pm GMT) on Friday.

 

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