Event: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Track: Yas Marina Circuit

First Free Practice Results & Report 2023 Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix

Jake Dennis of Great Britain and Red Bull Racing poses for a photo in the garage during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit

Weather: dry  28.4°C
Tarmac: dry  41.1°C
Humidity : 57%
Wind : 8.6 km/h S
Pressure: 1011 mbar

In an eventful and youthful start to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, the first practice session (FP1) at the Yas Marina Circuit saw a mix of rising stars and regular contenders take to the track. The session was marked by a unique lineup, as teams fulfilled their obligation to run young drivers in FP1 sessions, leading to a reshuffling of the usual driver roster.

Young Guns Shine in FP1

The highlight of the session was the young talents taking the wheel for various teams. Red Bull, notably fielding two rookies, Isack Hadjar and Jake Dennis, joined other teams in giving their upcoming stars a chance. Mercedes put Frederik Vesti in Lewis Hamilton's seat, while Ferrari's Robert Shwartzman took over for Charles Leclerc. Other notable substitutions included Oliver Bearman for Haas, Jack Doohan for Alpine, and Felipe Drugovich for Aston Martin.

Regulars Take a Backseat

World Champion Max Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez, along with other regular drivers, sat out the session. This gave the young drivers a unique opportunity to showcase their skills without the overshadowing presence of the seasoned racers.

Tyre Strategies and Track Conditions

Pirelli provided the teams with the softest compounds for the session, and early runs saw Ferrari aggressively using their soft tires. The track conditions were hot and dry, with the temperature hovering around 29 Degrees Celsius and track temperatures at a scorching 42 Degrees.

Top Performers and Incidents

Mercedes' George Russell topped the timesheets for most of the session, showing strong form despite the challenging conditions. Aston Martin's Drugovich put in an impressive performance, finishing the session in second place. Notably, McLaren's reserve driver for the next season, Patricio O'Ward, had a heart-stopping moment with a near spin at the final corner.

Halfway Top 10 Order

Halfway the session the top 10 order of this FP1 was: 1. George Russell - 1:26.313 min (M), 2. Logan Sargeant +0.693s (S). 3. Oscar Piastri +0.761 (M), 4. Lance Stroll +0.940s (M), 5. Yuki Tsunoda +0.948s (M), 6. Daniel Ricciardo +0.955s (M), 7. Kevin Magnussen +1.163s (S), 8. Valtteri Bottas +1.187s (M), 9. Carlos Sainz +1.190s (S) & PIerre Gasly +1.414 (M).

Team and Driver Developments

McLaren announced the extension of their deal with Mercedes for engines until 2030, aligning with new engine regulations set for 2026. Meanwhile, the rookies, particularly Alfa Romeo's Theo Pourchaire and Williams' Logan Sargeant, showed promising pace, with Pourchaire battling "crazy bottoming" issues during his runs.

FP1 Fastest Sector Times

This were the fastest sector times this first practice for the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix:

  • Sector 1: 17.604 sec. by Logan Sargeant (Williams FW45).
  • Sector 2: 36.793 sec. by Robert Shwartzman (Ferrari SF-23).
  • Sector 3: 31.384 sec. by George Russell (Mercedes W14).

Looking Ahead

While the session offered a glimpse into the potential future stars of Formula 1, the true competitive order is yet to be determined. The cooler conditions expected for the qualifying and race sessions will provide a more representative view of the teams' and drivers' performance.

The 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is set to be a thrilling conclusion to an epic season, and if FP1 is anything to go by, there's plenty of action and drama still to come.

The quickest lap time during last years FP1 was a 1:26.633 min driven by Lewis Hamilton with the Mercedes W13 also using Soft tyres.

FP1 Times Table 2023 Abu Dhabi F1 GP

P No Driver Team Time 1st Gap Laps Tyres
1 63 George Russell Mercedes 1:26,072 25 🔴S
2 34 Felipe Drugovich Aston Martin 1:26,360 +0,288s 25 🔴S
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri 1:26,433 +0,361s 25 🔴S
4 77 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:26,453 +0,381s 20 🔴S
5 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:26,631 +0,559s 20 🔴S
6 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:26,665 +0,593s 24 🔴S
7 55 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:26,676 +0,604s 23 🔴S
8 39 Robert Shwartzman Ferrari 1:26,703 +0,631s 24 🔴S
9 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:26,720 +0,648s 25 🔴S
10 22 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:26,725 +0,653s 26 🔴S
11 2 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:26,742 +0,670s 26 🔴S
12 42 Frederik Vesti Mercedes 1:26,815 +0,743s 26 🔴S
13 61 Jack Doohan Alpine 1:26,865 +0,793s 22 🔴S
14 98 Theo Pourchaire Alfa Romeo 1:27,093 +1,021s 20 🔴S
15 29 Patricio O'Ward McLaren 1:27,114 +1,042s 22 🔴S
16 36 Jake Dennis Red Bull 1:27,208 +1,136s 24 🔴S
17 37 Isack Hadjar Red Bull 1:27,244 +1,172s 20 🔴S
18 45 Zak O'Sullivan Williams 1:27,460 +1,388s 27 🔴S
19 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:27,462 +1,390s 25 🔴S
20 50 Oliver Bearman Haas 1:27,569 +1,497s 23 🔴S

✅ Don't forget to check out the 2023 Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix preview.

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