FRIDAY TYRE SUMMARY
Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time in today’s practice ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who returned to action after he missed the Sakhir Grand Prix. Both drivers set their best times in FP2 using the P Zero Yellow medium tyre.
Max Verstappen had led FP1 for Red Bull on the Red Soft tyre. But as is usually the case in Abu Dhabi, FP2 is the more representative session as the sun set and temperatures fell, just like in qualifying and the race.
In FP2, the drivers also had the chance to try out one set of Pirelli’s 2021 tyres in the C4 compound. Every driver started the session on these tyres, on which they were required to complete a minimum of eight timed laps.
The compounds currently look closely-matched, with an estimated performance gap of 0.5 seconds between the soft and medium compounds, and 0.3 seconds between the medium and the hard.
MARIO ISOLA – HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING
„Together with the teams we had another chance to collect some useful data during FP2 about our 2021 tyres in the C4 compound. We will now analyse this data before the tyres for next year are seen again in pre-season testing. As is normal with the schedule here in Abu Dhabi, FP2 was also the key chance for the teams to learn about the tyres ahead of the race, when the sun will be setting and the temperatures will gradually fall until the chequered flag. Track temperatures in FP1 were 12-14°C higher in comparison to FP2, making it not so relevant for qualifying and the race. We have seen gaps closer than expected between the hard and medium, making them valuable for different strategies during the race. We did notice some graining on the soft, especially on the front, but we expect this to improve over the weekend as the teams fine-tune their setups. The medium compound might play a key role for qualifying tomorrow: it will be interesting to see who will try to get through Q2 on the Yellow tyre.“