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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Lewis Hamilton sets new Yas Marina Circuit best in Abu Dhabi GP practice

With new regulations for 2017, with wider tyres and cars designed to give more aerodynamic grip, Mercedes-GP driver made most of vehicle beneath him

Lewis Hamilton recorded the fastest ever lap driven around Yas to top the times ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. Clive Mason / Getty Images
Lewis Hamilton recorded the fastest ever lap driven around Yas to top the times ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. Clive Mason / Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton had vowed on Thursday that despite having already wrapped up the drivers' championship, he was still heavily motivated to win Sunday's Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

He kept his word in second practice as he recorded the fastest ever lap driven around Yas Marina Circuit to top the times ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing's Daniel Ricciardo.

With new regulations for 2017, with wider tyres and cars designed to give more aerodynamic grip, the Mercedes-GP driver made the most of the vehicle beneath him to lap the 5.5km track in the twilight conditions in a time of 1 minute, 37.877 seconds.

That was almost one second faster than the time with which he set pole position for last year's race, so in qualifying trim on Saturday he can be confident of beating his practice effort by some margin.

Vettel was 0.149 seconds slower, having been fastest in first practice in the afternoon sunshine in his Ferrari.

Ricciardo recovered from being held up by the Haas of Romain Grosjean on his first qualifying simulation run to be third fastest, ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and his teammate Max Verstappen.

McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne and Grosjean were among those to spin during the session.

Final practice is at 2pm on Saturday with qualifying at 5pm. The race is on Sunday, also starting at 5pm, and lasts for 55 laps.

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