Frenchman on top in Free Practice
Pierre Gasly got his Abu Dhabi weekend started to plan after topping the timesheets in this morning’s Free Practice session in the emirate, grabbing P1 late in a busy session ahead of former teammate Alex Lynn and title rival Antonio Giovinazzi.

The Red Bull tester stopped the clocks at 1:50.940 late in an exciting session which saw the top spot swapping throughout, with the Williams tester making a late bid to bump his old teammate off but missing by just 0.062, with Gasly’s PREMA teammate stopping the clocks at just over a tenth off him.

The session got underway in the usual hot, dry conditions, with times tumbling almost immediately: Jordan King, Nobuharu Matsushita, Gasly and Giovinazzi all found their way to P1 on the timesheets, but in a session which saw many drivers having off-track escapades it was clear that they were all pushing hard.

Mitch Evans pulled up early with a mechanical gremlin, but with most of the field coming in for fresh rubber the marshals were able to remove his stricken car quickly. When they returned it seemed clear that sector 2 would make the difference: Gasly set his best time at the 35 minute mark, but there was still time to be found in S2. Lynn found it and ran P2, Giovinazzi did too but struggled on the final sector and couldn’t improve.

Gasly had his engine cover off with a few minutes to go, but he soon returned to the circuit: with the clock running out he had no need to push more, and was satisfied to lean on his earlier efforts. Behind the top 3 Matsushita will be annoyed to be pipped at the end of the session, but leads Norman Nato, Oliver Rowland, Jordan King, Johnny Cecotto and Sergey Sirotkin, all of whom were within a second of the top spot and looking for more this afternoon.

Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi – Free Practice
Driver
Team
Laptime
Laps
1.
Pierre Gasly
PREMA Racing
1:50.940
16
2.
Alex Lynn
DAMS
1:51.002
18
3.
Antonio Giovinazzi
PREMA Racing
1:51.067
19
4.
Nobuharu Matsushita
ART Grand Prix
1:51.149
19
5.
Norman Nato
Racing Engineering
1:51.687
17
6.
Oliver Rowland
MP Motorsport
1:51.700
18
7.
Jordan King
Racing Engineering
1:51.795
16
8.
Johnny Cecotto
Rapax
1:51.873
18
9.
Sergey Sirotkin
ART Grand Prix
1:51.892
17
10.
Nicholas Latifi
DAMS
1:51.964
18
11.
Raffaele Marciello
RUSSIAN TIME
1:52.005
17
12.
Artem Markelov
RUSSIAN TIME
1:52.281
17
13.
Sergio Canamasas
Carlin
1:52.385
17
14.
Mitch Evans
Pertamina Campos Racing
1:52.477
7
15.
Luca Ghiotto
Trident
1:52.664
17
16.
Emile Bernstorff
Arden International
1:52.751
20
17.
Gustav Malja
Rapax
1:52.762
19
18.
Daniël de Jong
MP Motorsport
1:52.987
17
19
Sean Gelael
Pertamina Campos Racing
1:53.077
15
20.
Nabil Jeffri
Arden International
1:53.185
16
21.
Louis Delétraz
Carlin
1:53.650
17
22.
Philo Paz Armand
Trident
1:53.808
18