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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023

'Mind-blowing' - how each of the Abu Dhabi FP1 rookies fared

How did each of the rookies do after they replaced half of the grid for the opening practice session at Yas Marina?

Dennis Hadjar Abu Dhabi
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

It was an unusual practice session to kick off the final race weekend of the year, when half of the grid was replaced by rookie drivers.

In what looked like one big work experience outing, several teams elected to utilise their required rookie FP1 outings at Yas Marina.

A rookie is classed as a driver that has completed less than two F1 Grands Prix, with 10 taking part on behalf of each team.

Luckily there were no major dramas, with the biggest near-miss happening between Jack Doohan in the Alpine and regular Logan Sargeant.

The pair nearly collided at high speed when Doohan rounded the final corner and was unsighted on Sargeant, with the Williams driver getting a slap on the wrists from the stewards for erratic driving.

Take a look at how each of them got on in the table below.

Where did they finish?

Position (in FP1) Driver Team
2. Felipe Drugovich Aston Martin
8. Robert Shwatzman Ferrari
12. Frederic Vesti Mercedes
13. Jack Doohan Alpine
14. Theo Pourchaire Alfa Romeo
15. Patricio O'Ward McLaren
16. Jake Dennis Red Bull
17. Isack Hadjar Red Bull
18. Zak O'Sullivan Williams
20. Oliver Bearman Haas

Red Bull swap both drivers

Red Bull was forced to swap its whole driver lineup in place of current Formula E World Champion and simulator driver Jake Dennis, and Formula 2 racer Isack Hadjar.

It was the first time that Dennis had participated in an official F1 weekend on track since 2018 after testing that year in both Spain and Hungary, and has been a simulator driver since.

“What an incredible experience, I can only thank Red Bull Racing for the opportunity to drive this car. It is immaculate to drive and these moments don’t come around very often in your career," said Dennis.

"To finally tick driving in FP1 off the bucket list is pretty special. It is so different from what I am used to, the first run was mind-blowing, how quick these cars are and how much downforce and braking capacity they have.

"It was just a cool day in the office and I exited the car with a big smile on my face.

"I do a lot of work on the simulator for the team so it’s good to correlate as much as possible back to the simulator in the factory and it is quite impressive how close it is."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

F2 rivals on track

Both of the championship rivals in Formula 2 were also taking part in the session, with Frederik Vesti standing in for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

It was the second time he took part in a practice session after Mexico earlier this year, with the Dane looking to secure the junior formula title this weekend.

"I've been looking forward to it for a long time, especially as it was on a track that I know well. I was really pleased with how the session went and I was progressing well throughout the hour," said Vesti.

"I was much more confident with the car than in Mexico given the knowledge I had gained from that FP1. There are always things you can improve and there was more potential out there."

Pourchaire, who currently leads the F2 championship, also had an outing at Mexico with Alfa Romeo.

"Driving this car is always an incredible feeling, and I’m grateful to the team for the trust they put in me, and for the opportunity they gave me to contribute to our work today," said Pourchaire.

"The track was quite green and there wasn’t much grip, but I felt better with every lap and I feel we had a good progression from Hard to Soft compounds."

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F1 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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