F1 Abu Dhabi GP: Charles Leclerc leads while Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg crash hindered practice

Charles Leclerc, though inherently talented, has often been criticized for making impulsive decisions in the heat of racing. Despite his best efforts, the Monegasque driver has been cursed by consistent bad luck in his recent races.

However, the Abu Dhabi practice session proved to be a turning point for Leclerc. Getting rid of the weight of his previous misfortunes, he achieved an extraordinary victory, surpassing the formidable Max Verstappen. This triumph marked a significant shift in Leclerc’s fortunes, showcasing his resilience and skill on the track, with the occurrence of two unending incidents on the track.

Charles Leclerc leads F1 Abu Dhabi GP practice

The 26-year-old is optimistic about experiencing a “great weekend” at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after leading the race on the opening day of practice. Leclerc edged out Norris by a mere 0.043 seconds, securing the top spot, while Max Verstappen was demoted to third place, 0173 seconds behind the leader. For Mercedes, George Russell claimed the sixth position, and Hamilton finished eighth in the standings.

Despite the disruption caused by two red flags, Leclerc emerged as the fastest, setting a positive bar for the upcoming weekend even though the Ferrari driver volunteered to skip the Free Practice 1 session, a strategic move observed by several teams using the session to give rookies valuable opportunities to nourish themselves as drivers.

When inquired about whether the outcome felt like a positive impact on the unpredicted aftermath of the Grand Prix, despite the limited running, Leclerc replied, “Yeah, because I only did one lap on the medium [tyre], then straightaway a lap on the soft, and it was feeling pretty good. It’s a good sign when it starts like this, so I hope we can have a great weekend from now on.”

Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg crash out in practice

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both led a group of 10 drivers in total. Among those taking their initial runs were Leclerc, Zhou Guanyu, Esteban Ocon, Lando Norris, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Alex Albon, and Fernando Alonso.

Although the session was soon red-flagged not once but twice, the first one occurred after Carlos Sainz spun into the barrier at Turn 3. The Ferrari driver communicated over the radio that he was unharmed but had encountered several difficulties due to a bump and dirty air from Daniel Ricciardo’s car ahead.  After a 25-minute delay, the drivers returned to the track. Sainz could not participate further in the race as his car was removed; he kept on sitting while watching others proceed

The drivers resumed their activities, but the red flags were again raised when Nico Hulkenberg encountered trouble. The cameras showed that the Haas driver spun into the barrier at the exit of Turn 1 as soon as he began his flying lap.

Do you think Charles will be able to hold on to his remarkable performance at the main race too? Let us know in the comment section below.


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