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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Valtteri Bottas edges out Red Bull pair in tight second practice for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Mercedes-GP driver leads the evening session, but there was just 0.333 seconds separating the top six at Yas Marina Circuit

Valtteri Bottas during second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Reuters
Valtteri Bottas during second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Reuters

Mercedes-GP driver Valtteri Bottas edged out Red Bull Racing pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo to be quickest in second practice for the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Bottas has not won a race since he prevailed in the UAE capital 12 months ago.

But the Finn underlined his intention to be the first driver since Sebastian Vettel in 2010 to win back-to-back races at Yas Marina Circuit by topping the times with a lap of 1 minute, 37.236 seconds.

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That was just 0.044 seconds faster then Verstappen, who had set the pace in first practice in the sunnier afternoon conditions.

But in the twilight time, with the temperatures cooler, Mercedes found their speed as Bottas came out on top.

Ricciardo was third quickest, 0.192 seconds adrift of Bottas, but he was faster than world champion Lewis Hamilton, who was fourth in the second Mercedes.

The Briton, who is driving with the No 1 on his car to acknowledge his fifth title, was 0.207 seconds off Bottas.

The Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were also both in the mix, setting the fifth and sixth quickest times respectively.

The top six are covered by just 0.333 seconds and a tight qualifying session appears on the horizon.

Best of the rest was Romain Grosjean's Haas in seventh, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg's Renault.

The drivers will have a last chance to work on their set-up when final practice begins at 2pm on Saturday. The session lasts 60 minutes.

Qualifying takes place at 5pm, with Sunday's 55-lap race beginning at 5.10pm.