(Abu Dhabi) Monegasque Charles Leclerc set the best time on Friday in the 2nd free practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, cut by more than half an hour due to two track exits.

On the Yas Marina track, the Ferrari driver beat Briton Lando Norris (McLaren) and the Red Bull of Dutchman Max Verstappen at nightfall, guaranteed to win the 2023 title.

The Finnish Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) and the Mexican Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) completed the top 5 in a session truncated by various accidents.

The French Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon – ill – finished 9th and 14th respectively at the wheel of their Alpine.

The session scheduled to last one hour was interrupted for the first time less than ten minutes after the first laps of the wheel, due to Spaniard Carlos Sainz going off the track.

The Scuderia driver, unhurt, ended his race in the wall, requiring the interruption of testing for almost 30 minutes, the time to evacuate his damaged car and secure the track.

When the session resumed, it was Nico Hülkenberg who, this time, lost control of his Haas before hitting a wall. Again too damaged, the car had to be evacuated. The tests were therefore interrupted again for seven minutes.

Earlier in the day, half of the grid – including Verstappen and Leclerc – had given up their seats in favor of the young drivers from their team during the first hour of testing of the weekend.

According to the regulations, F1 teams are required to give the wheel to their youngsters at least twice during the season, as part of the first practice session only.

On Saturday, a third and final practice session is scheduled from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. local time before qualifying from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.