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Leclerc fastest as Sainz crashes in second practice

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc set the fastest time during a disrupted second practice session for this weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Over half of the 60-minute session was suspended due to red flags after Carlos Sainz crashed his Ferrari eight minutes into the session and damaged barriers at Turn 3.

Sainz lost the rear of his car in the middle of the corner and spun through 360 degrees before a heavy impact with the barrier on the outside of the corner. He blamed the turbulent air coming off the car in front for his sudden loss of control.

The car was recovered back to the pits but barrier repairs resulted in a 27-minute stoppage.

Not long after the session restarted, Nico Hulkenberg spun on the exit of Turn 1 and damaged the rear of his Haas against the inside barrier. The error caused a second red flag, albeit with a shorter stoppage.

The run plans of all drivers were disrupted by the red flags, but Red Bull’s Max Verstappen seemed to be the most impatient to return to the track and overtook both Mercedes drivers and an Alpine in the narrow pit lane exit that crosses under the track at Turn 1 as the session resumed.

McLaren’s Lando Norris ended up with the second fastest time, 0.043s off Leclerc, while Verstappen was a further 0.130s shy in third place.

Valtteri Bottas made the most of the limited running to set the fourth fastest time ahead of Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull, his Alfa Romeo teammate Zhou Guanyu, and Lewis Hamilton in eighth place.

Pierre Gasly and Oscar Piastri rounded out the top ten.

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