Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is happy with a more “free-flowing” Yas Marina track layout after topping Friday Practice at 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton entered Friday Practice looking for a strong start as he chases an eighth Formula One title but was greeted with a new track layout, which was brought about following a series of poor races on the old layout with the Brit emerging fastest at end of FP2 after finishing third in FP1.
Reflecting on his running, Hamilton felt that he had endured “a decent day,” in which he praised the changes made to the circuit as he described a lap as “free-flowing and more enjoyable.”
Hamilton though is wary that he is in a scrap with teammate – Valtteri Bottas and his title rival, Max Verstappen for pole as he said: “It’s obviously close between us all and a little unknown in terms of relative pace but I’m sure it’s going to be super close, as it has been in the previous races.
“The car doesn’t feel too bad, it started off in a good place and then got a bit worse in FP1. In FP2, it was little better with some of the changes we made.”
Hamilton though believes that he just needs to sit down with his crew and “crunch” the data to try and work out how to make improvements, whilst noting that it still is tough to follow cars around the track but hopefully better in the race than in previous years.
Bottas meanwhile is happy with the track layout changes after finishing second in FP1 then third in FP2 as he commented; “It was nice to get a feel of the modified layout, the track feels better than before with more flow and some increased overtaking opportunities.”
Bottas also spoke of how he made “a step forward” with changes to his car between FP1 and FP2 and now feels “comfortable”, despite believing that “none of the laps today were amazing so there should still be more to come.”