Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas top despite bizarre Romain Grosjean crash

Valtteri Bottas led Lewis Hamilton to a Mercedes one-two in second practice at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Bottas was 0.310 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who was 0.076secs faster than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc as the season’s final race weekend began.

In an unusual crash for a practice session, Bottas and Haas’ Romain Grosjean collided at a chicane.

The Finn dived for the inside at the end of the second long straight and Grosjean turned in having not seen him.

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Both cars suffered extensive damage and showered the circuit with debris, causing the session to be stopped for seven minutes while the track was cleared.

Until his crash, Bottas was on excellent form around Yas Marina on Friday, fastest in both sessions, but he has a grid penalty for excessive engine usage and will start the race from the back of the grid.

Hamilton, Leclerc and the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel were covered by just 0.125secs, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen fifth and 0.435secs off Bottas’ pace but nearly half a second ahead of his team-mate Alexander Albon.

In an unusual feature, the Ferrari drivers’ times were set on a second timed lap, the team choosing to run two sets of soft tyres on low fuel rather than the usual one.

And Leclerc’s time came following a heavy brush with the barriers on his first run at Turn 19, where team-mate Vettel crashed in the first session.

Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi also came to grief at Turn 19, although he managed to spin while avoiding hitting anything.

Mercedes ended the session emphasising their strength with some impressive pace on the race-simulation runs, with Hamilton comfortably quicker than Verstappen and Leclerc when running the soft tyre with a heavy fuel load.

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