De Vries fastest on day one of post-season Abu Dhabi F1 testing
Nyck de Vries dominated the opening day of Formula 1 post-season testing in Abu Dhabi for Mercedes while Valtteri Bottas made his first appearance for Alfa Romeo.
Formula E champion de Vries was featured as a young Mercedes driver for testing at the Yas Marina circuit which was split between rookies in this year’s cars and current F1 drivers sampling the new 18-inch tires in mule cars modified before 2022.
De Vries clocked the fastest lap of 1m23.194s in the final 30 minutes of the day, giving him the P1 over 1.3 seconds behind AlphaTauri’s Liam Lawson, who enjoyed his first outing in F1.
F2 champion and Alpine reserve rider Oscar Piastri finished the day third, just 0.006s behind Lawson’s time, while IndyCar race winner Pato O’Ward covered two race distances en route to the fourth place for McLaren, the test being a prize for its first victory earlier this year. O’Ward led the morning session for McLaren, but only cut six tenths of a second of his lap in the afternoon.
Bottas and Guanyu Zhou both made their first appearances for Alfa Romeo on Tuesday. Bottas was cleared by Mercedes to participate in the test with his new team for 2022 and donned a white racing suit to race in the mule car.
Zhou finished the day fifth overall ahead of Red Bull junior Juri Vips, who caused one of three red flags that interrupted Tuesday’s race after spinning at Turn 14 and damaging his car .
Aston Martin simulator driver Nick Yelloly finished seventh ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who was the leader of a mule car on the 2022 tire compounds, finishing 1.6 seconds off O’Ward’s time in the McLaren no modified that ran this year. Ricciardo set off the first red flag of the day in the second hour.
Lance Stroll finished ninth for Aston Martin, while Robert Shwartzman completed the top 10 after taking part in the afternoon session for Ferrari. He parted ways with the young racing driver with Antonio Fuoco, who also tested the mule car after Charles Leclerc featured in the morning, finishing 11th.
Bottas finished 12th ahead of Fuoco and Yuki Tsunoda, while Logan Sargeant had his first run in an F1 with Williams who finished 15th. A powertrain problem meant his day ended with almost 90 minutes to go, but the American nonetheless managed to complete his scheduled routine, racking up 92 laps.
Esteban Ocon finished 16th for Alpine ahead of Max Verstappen, who made his first track appearance as world champion for Red Bull. He was followed by George Russell, who tests the two days for Mercedes in the mule car before joining the full-time squad for 2022. Mick Schumacher supported the passing order for Haas in 19th place.
The last day of testing takes place in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. As teams are only allowed to field a young driver for one day of testing, only Haas will drive two cars tomorrow, along with Shwartzman and Pietro Fittipaldi. Williams will not participate in the second day of testing due to the lack of a mule car.
Results to follow