Abu Dhabi testing: Carlos Sainz blitzes rivals, George Russell crash ends Mercedes test

Michelle Foster
Franco Colapinto makes his F1 debut with Williams.

Franco Colapinto impressed in his first F1 run with Williams.

Carlos Sainz wrapped up his final outing in the SF-23 with a P1 time in the post-season Abu Dhabi test as the Spaniard also bid farewell to his performance coach Rupert Manwaring.

The Ferrari driver laid down a 1:24.799 to beat Sergio Perez by a massive 0.925s with Oscar Piastri third fastest.

Theo Pourchaire was limited to just 12 laps in the Alfa Romeo due to a technical issue.

Carlos Sainz blitzes rivals in his final SF-23 run

The Young Driver and Pirelli tyre test had a slight hiccup at the start as it was delayed by 25 minutes due to a lack of a medical helicopter in place.

The teams were reportedly told: “When you hear the helicopter it’ll nearly be time to start.” They were also informed there’d be no extension, the test would still end at 6pm local time.

Once the action kicked off it was Felipe Drugovich in the Aston Martin who set the early pace with a 1:26.256.

It wasn’t long though before the red flags were out because of a water leak between Turns 13 and 14, that’s under the bridge.

Haas reported: “There’s currently a red flag in F1 Testing due to a water leak under the W Hotel bridge. The circuit team are working to dry out to surface to allow us to run again.”

After a 24-minute stoppage the track was green-lighted and it was Sergio Perez’s turn to jump up into P1 with a 1:25.724. That put him 0.2s ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri.

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They were overhauled by Carlos Sainz as the Ferrari driver, working with his performance coach Rupert Manwaring for the final time before he moves to Max Verstappen’s team, clocked a 1:25.168.

Heading into the final hour Sainz’s 1:25.1 was holding as the P1 time, before the Spaniard put more distance between himself and the chasing pack with a 1:24.799. That was almost a full second clear of second-placed Perez’s 1:25.724.

There was a late red flag as George Russell ground to halt at Turn 6. No further information on the incident has been released from the team at the time of writing.

Piastri finished the morning session third fastest ahead of Drugovich, who was a second and a half up on regular Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll, and Ferrari junior Robert Shwartzman. Russell was sixth despite his late stoppage.

Williams rookie Franco Colapinto impressed on his Formula 1 debut as the Argentinian driver laid down 65 laps with a best time of 1:26.832.

The same cannot be said of Theo Pourchaire as the Alfa Romeo reserve driver did very little running, just 12 laps, as he was stuck in the pits. The team told PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher “there’s a technical issue on the car so we’re making some changes to send him back out ASAP.”


1. Carlos Sainz 1:24.799 69 Laps
2. Sergio Perez 1:25.724 49 Laps
3. Oscar Piastri 1:25.930 48 Laps
4. Felipe Drugovich 1:26.265 53 Laps
5. Robert Shwartzman 1:26.267 60 Laps
6. George Russell 1:26.283 58 Laps
7. Jake Dennis 1:26.441 61 Laps
8. Pato O’Ward 1:26.499 72 Laps
9. Lance Stroll 1:27.775 34 Laps
10. Franco Colapinto 1:26.832 65 Laps
11. Oliver Bearman 1:26.928 45 Laps
12. Esteban Ocon 1:26.958 63 Laps
13. Daniel Ricciardo 1:26.965 55 Laps
14. Frederik Vesti 1:27.041 58 Laps
15. Jack Doohan 1:27.176 53 Laps
16. Pietro Fittipaldi 1:27.368 54 Laps
17. Theo Pourchaire 1:27.783 12 Laps
18. Alex Albon 1:27.824 51 Laps
19. Zhou Guanyu 1:28.747 54 Laps
20. Ayumu Iwasa 1:30.538 41 Laps

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