Abu Dhabi GP: Bottas quickest in FP2
Bottas was the man to beat on Friday  Credit: Clive Mason (Getty Images)

Valtteri Bottas set the pace in the second Formula 1 free practice session ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, although his evening was marred by a collision with Romain Grosjean.

Bottas - who faces a back-of-the-grid start for the 2019 season finale at Yas Marina following an engine change - turned in a 1m36.256s to top FP2, the most representative of the three practice sessions due to being held in conditions closest to those that will be seen in qualifying and the race.

The Finn led six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton by 0.310s as Charles Leclerc recovered from early contact with the Turn 19 barriers to set the third-fastest time, less than a tenth behind Hamilton.

There was a brief scare though for Bottas late on as he collided with with the Haas of Grosjean under braking at the end of the back straight.

Bottas suffered front-wing damage in the clash as both drivers were sent into a spin, while Grosjean lost large chunks from his floor. The incident signalled a brief red flag period with debris being scattered across the track.

Best of both worlds for Bottas

Bottas was initially second fastest, a tenth slower than Red Bull's Max Verstappen, in the early running when both were using medium-compound Pirellis.

He was the first of the frontrunners to post a qualifying simulation time, setting a time of 1m36.256s on his first flier in the floodlit session.

That was enough to give him top spot by 0.310s from teammate Hamilton, with the advantage built in the first and second sectors – perhaps helped by the fact he's running a fresh Mercedes power unit.

Bottas was later on a long run when he made a move that was unusually aggressive for a free practice session by diving up the inside of Grosjean's Haas at the Turn 11 left-hander.

Grosjean appeared not to see the Mercedes and turned in, with both cars shedding bodywork in the resulting clash – and the drivers blaming each other over the radio.

Ferrari's final sector woes

Ferrari driver Leclerc was third fastest, 0.386s slower than Bottas, having taken a second set of fresh Pirellis to set his time.

Leclerc had been the first in the field to embark on a qualifying simulation lap, but the rear stepped out on him coming out of the Turn 19 right-hander.

He caught it, but slapped the wall with the right side of the car and had to abort the lap – later opting to take a fresh set of rubber for another attempt.

Verstappen ended up fourth fastest, 0.551s off the pace, and three tenths clear of the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel was running with a replacement gearbox having damaged his previous one during FP1 – although as this was a Friday unit it does not trigger a penalty.

Alexander Albon rounded out the top six in the second Red Bull, a second off the pace having lost a staggering half-a-second to teammate Verstappen in the twisty final sector.

Grosjean best of the rest

Despite his scuffle with Bottas, Grosjean was an encouraging seventh for Haas, who had opted to run with a pre-season spec floor and was just 1.3s off the pace.

The Racing Point of Sergio Perez and the Toro Rosso pair of Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10.

Carlos Sainz led McLaren’s charge in 11th place, a tenth clear of teammate Lando Norris. Lance Stroll was unable to match the pace of his Racing Point teammate Perez as he finished 1.7s down in 13th, ahead of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.

It was a disappointing session for Renault with Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo a lowly 15th and 16th respectively, while the Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi also struggled as they ended the session over two seconds down.

George Russell once again got the better of Robert Kubica, with the Williams duo anchored to the bottom of the timesheets in 19th and 20th to complete the FP2 order. Kubica, who is contesting his final race with Williams, was nearly a full second slower than his rookie teammate.

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