Hamilton, Verstappen back "enjoyable" Abu Dhabi F1 track changes

Both Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have given positive reviews of the Yas Marina Circuit changes ahead of this weekend’s Formula 1 title decider in Abu Dhabi.

The title contenders topped a practice session each on Friday, Verstappen leading the way in FP1 before Hamilton took over at the top in the second session, with the Mercedes driver setting the quickest time of the day with a 1m23.691s.

Since F1’s last visit to the Abu Dhabi track, the Yas Marina complex has undergone major changes, focused on three key areas of the circuit; a revised hairpin on the back straight, a new banked Turn 9 and tweaks to open up the corners around the hotel complex.

With lap times expected to be around 10 seconds faster compared to the old layout, which the leading F1 drivers have already beaten after FP2, Hamilton feels the circuit is more fun to drive but isn’t sure how it will impact overtaking opportunities given that is the key objective of the changes.

“It has been a relatively decent day, I like the track and the changes they have made to the track, it has made the track much more enjoyable and much more flowing,” Hamilton said.

“It is obviously close between us all but we got through our sessions and it is still a bit of an unknown in terms of pace but I am sure it is going to be super close like it has been in the previous races.

“I tried following on my long run, I think it was Perez I was behind, I was trying to follow but it still wasn’t easy to follow, but I think it will be better than what we’ve seen in the past. I think with two cars very much alike it might be a bit different.”

Read Also:

Verstappen echoed Hamilton’s comments having finished FP2 in fourth place, over six-tenths of a second behind Hamilton, but he did admit he was lacking pace on his qualifying simulation runs.

“I think it [the track changes] makes it a bit more fun to drive,” Verstappen said. “In general faster corners are more fun, especially also the last sector was always a bit tight off camber. It's still off camber but at least the radius is a bit more round, let's say. I do think they are positive.

“We are still learning and understanding a few things, but the short runs clearly didn't go to plan, lacking a bit of pace, but I think the long runs were quite a bit more competitive, so that's also important.”

shares
comments

Related video

F1 Grand Prix practice results: Hamilton fastest in Abu Dhabi
Previous article

F1 Grand Prix practice results: Hamilton fastest in Abu Dhabi

Next article

Pirelli fears Qatar repeat on "aggressive" new Abu Dhabi F1 kerbs

Pirelli fears Qatar repeat on "aggressive" new Abu Dhabi F1 kerbs
Load comments
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022