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George Russell tops first practice in Abu Dhabi as young drivers shine

Posted : 24 November 2023

Mercedes' George Russell led the way in the first practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where nine of the 10 teams used the opportunity to fulfill their mandatory young driver test days. Aston Martin reserve driver Felipe Drugovich secured the second spot, followed by Lance Stroll. Regular drivers Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, and Oscar Piastri completed the top six. Williams driver Logan Sargeant, facing uncertainty about a seat in 2024, finished 11th and will go to the stewards for a near-miss incident with Alpine reserve Jack Doohan.


The session featured young drivers and reserve drivers making appearances, with notable performances from Felipe Drugovich and Robert Shwartzman, who made the top 10. The session did not provide a clear indication of potential race performance, as it mainly served as a platform for young talents to gain experience. Pato O'Ward, an Indycar driver for McLaren, secured the 15th spot, and British Formula E champion Jake Dennis was the fastest among the Red Bull young drivers.


The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is crucial for teams contesting positions in the constructors' championship, with Ferrari closely trailing Mercedes in the battle for second place. McLaren and Aston Martin are also competing for fourth place in the constructors' standings. Additionally, the drivers' championship features a close battle between Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso, and McLaren's Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc.




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