Abu Dhabi Test Day 2: Vettel ends season on a high

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It might not mean much in the greater scheme of things, but Ferrari will return to Maranello after two days of testing in which they topped the timing sheets at the end of both sessions with Sebastian Vettel ending the final day of Pirelli tyre testing at Yas Marina Circuit, in Abu Dhabi, fastest of all.

A day earlier Kimi Raikkonen also ended his season at the top of the timing screens, ensuring that Ferrari go into the winter break with a boost to morale after a year that promised so much ended with paltry rewards.

Vettel’s best time of 1:37.551 was set on the all new pink band Pirelli ultrasofts and was the fastest lap time set during the course of the two days.

Almost a second down on the benchmark time was Valtteri Bottas in the Mercedes. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner completed 141 laps, second most on the day.

Max Verstappen was third fastest in the Red Bull, clocking 132 laps in the process.

Force India duo Sergio Perez and Esteban shared the Force India cockpit, ending the day fourth and fifth resp[ectovely. The pair combined to rack up 124 laps.

Carlos Sainz was on duty for Renault, managing 109 laps and setting the sixth fastest time.

As on day one, all eyes were on Robert Kubica who had a couple of hours back in the Williams for a later afternoon stint. He completed 28 laps in which he set the seventh fastest time, ending the day quicker than the other Williams drivers who did duty during the course of the two days.

The bulk of Williams, testing on Wednesday was done by Sergey Sirotkin who completed 86 laps, setting the tenth best time but did not get to sample the ultrasofts on the day.

Stoffel Vandoorne did 105 laps ending the day eighth, on a day when McLaren were powered by Honda for the last time in the foreseeable future.

Kevin Magnussen was ninth fastest in the Haas, with 24 laps on his chart.

Sauber’s likely driver for 2018, Charles Leclerc was on duty for the Swiss team on a day that their new partnership with Alfa Romeo was announced. The Ferrari protege was 11th on the timing sheets, completing 149 laps, more than any other during the two days.

Recently appointed McLaren reserve, Lando Norris, was on duty in a second McLaren – the only team to run two cars on the day. The youngster focussed on development work for Pirelli, using unmarked tyres for most of the day.

The two Toro Rosso drivers were at the foot of the final timing sheets, with Berdon Hartley and Pierre Gasly 13th and 14th. It was the last run for the team with Renault power, as for next year they switch to Honda engines.

Reading to much into the times set during the two-day test is a meaningless exercise as each team and driver for that matter were on differing programmes.

Thus ends the 2017 Formula 1 season, with track action for the start of the 2018 season set to resume again on 26 February at Circuit de Catalunya, in Barcelona, with the first of two preseason tests.

Abu Dhabi Pirelli Test, Yas Marina Circuit – Best Lap Times

2017 Abu Dhabi Pirelli Test