Ferrari lead the way with 1-2-3 in busy post-season Abu Dhabi test
The 2022 Formula 1 cars have been run together for the final time as Ferrari rounded out the year with a one-two-three on a busy day of testing in Abu Dhabi.
Teams could run two cars throughout Tuesday at the Yas Marina Circuit, with one of them used for testing 2023 tyre compounds and the other designated to a rookie driver that could use both this and next year’s tyres.
That opened up the possibility for a number of drivers to get their first outings for new teams, as the likes of Fernando Alonso, Pierre Gasly, Oscar Piastri, Nyck de Vries and Nico Hulkenberg were all seen in their new cars for the first time.
But it was a pair of familiar faces who topped the times at the end of the nine-hour day, with Carlos Sainz on a 1m 25.245s quickest for Ferrari ahead of his team mate Charles Leclerc, the two separated by just over 0.1s.
Sainz had taken over from Leclerc for the afternoon while Robert Shwartzman carried out the rookie driver duties, and a late lap from the test driver saw him end up third, only 0.017s slower than Leclerc’s best effort.
Gasly marked his first day in the Alpine with the fourth quickest time, ending up just over 0.4s shy of Sainz with a flying lap in the final 10 minutes of running as the floodlights took hold after sunset.
World champion Max Verstappen was fifth after taking over from Sergio Perez at lunchtime and completing 76 laps, ahead of the Williams pair of Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant. Williams were one of three teams able to run their full 2023 driver line-up due to Sargeant being a rookie, something McLaren and AlphaTauri were also able to do.
De Vries was seventh overall and the busiest driver of the day as he amassed an impressive 152 laps, spinning once in the morning but ending up ahead of Lance Stroll, Liam Lawson for Red Bull – who like De Vries also spun at Turn 5 – and Jack Doohan for Alpine.
Former Alpine driver Alonso’s race on Sunday came to a premature end when he was forced to retire with a suspected water leak, so it was perhaps no surprise he was eager to be first out on track and get as much running as possible with new team Aston Martin during Tuesday’s test.
Alonso was also first on track after the opening red flag of the day, and drove into the afternoon before handing over to new team mate Lance Stroll, completing 97 laps that came with some pain due to his seat, but which provided him with a positive first impression of Aston’s car.
Another driver to leave Alpine this year – Piastri – ended up 14th overall on his public debut for McLaren and comfortably exceeded 100 laps despite causing the first red flag of the day when he stopped at Turn 7. That was one of two interruptions, the other for debris – although that red flag that was so short-lived that Hulkenberg entered the pit lane and was able to roll straight through and rejoin the track as the session went green again.
It was important for Hulkenberg to make up for some lost time on his Haas debut, not only due to having had three years out of full-time competition but also because he lost two hours of running in the morning after stopping in the middle sector with a technical issue. The incident didn’t require a red flag, but did see the German miss a chunk of track time before going on to log 110 laps and finish 19th quickest, just over 0.1s and two positions ahead of Pietro Fittipaldi.
Abu Dhabi Post-Season Test Leaderboard
|1. Carlos Sainz
|2. Charles Leclerc
|3. Robert Shwartzman
|4. Pierre Gasly
|5. Max Verstappen
|6. Alex Albon
|7. Logan Sargeant
|8. Nyck de Vries
|9. Lance Stroll
|10. Liam Lawson
|11. Jack Doohan
|12. Fernando Alonso
|13. Sergio Perez
|14. Oscar Piastri
|15. Felipe Drugovich
|16. Valtteri Bottas
|17. Lewis Hamilton
|18. Lando Norris
|19. Nico Hulkenberg
|20. Yuki Tsunoda
|21. Pietro Fittipaldi
|22. Frederik Vesti
|23. George Russell
|24. Theo Pourchaire