Mercedes will be encouraged by their practice session results in Abu Dhabi, as the team look to leapfrog Ferrari into second place in the constructors’ championship.
Ferrari have had much the better car for the majority of the season, however mechanical failures and strategy errors have seen the Silver Arrows chip away at their position in the championship, as Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have been consistently scoring points all season.
FP2 saw Russell and Hamilton finish second and fourth respectively in the session standings, but the older of the two Brits was lucky to avoid a serious collision with Kevin Magnussen which left the seven-time world champion outraged.
Hamilton was in the middle of a fast lap, while the Haas driver was slowly making his way around the Yas Marina circuit, and while there seemed to be a large distance between the two drivers, a DRS assisted straight followed by some late braking from the Brit saw the cars go too close for comfort.
Magnussen was going too slow and in the wrong part of the track for Hamilton’s liking, as he proceeded to pull alongside the Haas driver after the near miss to make a hand gesture towards the Dane, clearly showing his frustration.
Sky Sports commentator David Croft suggested that Hamilton had every right to be annoyed with the pole sitter in Brazil.
“I understand why [Hamilton was annoyed], Kevin Magnussen was going very slowly in the middle of the track and is still ahead of him,” he explained.
“Hamilton had DRS and was closing at a rapid rate of knots of Kevin Magnussen.”
The W13 has once again looked competitive in Abu Dhabi, after upgrades first brought to Austin last month took the car’s performance up a notch, finally giving the Mercedes drivers a chance to compete with the Red Bulls and Ferraris.
Hamilton has claimed that he is not thinking about his 2021 heartbreak, which saw his record eighth title snatched away from him in controversial circumstances, ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix, as he focusses only on the present.
His teammate George Russell spearheaded a one-two in Brazil and team boss Toto Wolff has told the media that there will be no special treatment in Abu Dhabi to help Hamilton avenge his 2021 disappointment.
Should Hamilton fail to win at the Yas Marina circuit, then he will have completed his first ever season in Formula 1 without a victory, a record which he will not be looking to break.