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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: How all 10 rookie drivers got on in FP1

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: How all 10 rookie drivers got on in FP1

F1 News

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: How all 10 rookie drivers got on in FP1

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: How all 10 rookie drivers got on in FP1

Friday morning's FP1 in Abu Dhabi saw a number of unfamiliar names on the timing board, with a host of up and coming drivers jumping into F1 seats to fulfil the sport's requirement for rookie drivers to take part in practice sessions during the season.

A number of drivers have popped up earlier in the season – Aston Martin's Felipe Drugovich, for example – but no session has had as many rookies on the track.

George Russell, notably not a rookie, put his Mercedes at the top of the boards in what Christian Horner called the 'least value session [sic]' of the season.

However, some rookies showed out, with one of them even beating the fastest time of their full-time F1 driver team-mate. But we'll get to that...

READ MORE: F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weather forecast - shock rain showers threatening Yas Marina Circuit

Felipe Drugovich looks like the real deal at Aston Martin
George Russell was the fastest man around the Yas Marina Circuit

Felipe Drugovich (Aston Martin)

We'll get to that immediately, as it happens! Drugovich was the only rookie driver to beat his more senior team-mate (spoiler alert!) and put his Aston Martin second on the board, behind Russell.

Of course, that's unlikely to ease the mounting pressure on Lance Stroll, who has been well below par all season.

Robert Schwartzman (Ferrari)

The Russian-Israeli driver, competing in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup this season, recorded the second fastest time of all rookies – and was one of a number of drivers to have a huge snap out on track.

Schwartzman finished just a couple of hundredths of a second behind team-mate Carlos Sainz, despite nearly losing it in turn 3 after some aggressive bottoming from his Ferrari.

Frederik Vesti (Mercedes)

Vesti is flying in F2 this season, likely to finish second in the championship in the junior series, but couldn't match Russell in the sister Mercedes. The Dane, who ran in a practice session earlier in the season, finished three quarters of a second down.

Jack Doohan (Alpine)

The most dramatic moment of the session came from Doohan – although through no fault of his own.

Coming up fast behind the Williams of Logan Sargeant toward the end of a fast lap, the Australian was forced to take evasive action as the under-pressure Floridian wandered onto the racing line. On the team radio after the incident, Doohan admitted "I just nearly had the biggest crash of my life".

Jack Doohan has driven an Alpine at Abu Dhabi before

Theo Pourchaire (Alfa Romeo)

The Alfa driver might have had bigger things on his mind this weekend, also competing in the F2 series finale in Abu Dhabi as he looks to seal the title.

All that being said, he did a solid job in practice – but came in seven tenths behind Valtteri Bottas.

Pato O'Ward (McLaren)

The Mexican starlet had a relatively sedate session, although social media was abuzz with his hordes of fans celebrating the chance to see the IndyCar man behind the wheel of an F1 car as he celebrated a 2024 reserve driver contract.

He finished just over four tenths behind team-mate Oscar Piastri.

Jake Dennis (Red Bull)

Possibly the oddest moment of the session came early on for Formula E's Jake Dennis, who was forced to come into the pits for a replacement helmet, saying on the radio that his was 'nowhere near tight enough'.

That's somewhat sub-optimal when you're driving Max Verstappen's Red Bull at 200mph, but does beg the question: Just how small is his head?

Jake Dennis is better known for his work in Formula E

Isack Hadjar (Red Bull)

In the other Red Bull, making it trickier to judge his and Dennis' relative performances against a senior driver, was Hadjar.

The French teenager held his own against Dennis, the pair finishing 16th and 17th and separated by just hundredths of a second. His headline moment came right at the end of the session, when Lance Stroll – not a rookie, but driving like one – completely failed to get out of his way at the end of a long straight, sending the Red Bull off track to avoid him.

Zak O'Sullivan (Williams)

The 18-year-old's taste of F1 action nearly ended in disaster with a massive spot of oversteer coming out of the final corner, but he did well to keep the Williams in a (fairly) straight line.

Oliver Bearman (Haas)

Another driver who had to jump straight out of his F1 suit and into an F2 suit after the session, Bearman unfortunately lapped the slowest of all 20 runners.

However, he did put in a lap time comparable to his more illustrious team-mate Kevin Magnussen, finishing just a tenth of a second behind him. That's likely to mean more to the team than his time in a vacuum.

READ MORE: Russell dominates Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice for Mercedes

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