Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton grateful to be back after coronavirus ‘experience’

Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who was fastest in second practice session on Friday, said: “Nice to see him healthy and back. Hamilton said he had “missed doing what I love” and that he had watched “some” of the Sakhir Grand Prix, in which his stand-in George Russell starred in the Mercedes and was only deprived of a debut win by a pit-stop mix-up and puncture. Hamilton said that it had taken him much of the day to feel comfortable again in the car. Hamilton ended the day 0.203 seconds slower than Bottas, as both Mercedes drivers unusually set their fastest lap times on the medium tyre compound. He was the same margin ahead of Bottas on average on their race-simulation runs later in the session, for which both Mercedes drivers used the 2021 test tyre supplied by Pirelli. Verstappen was blocked on his soft-tyre lap by Racing Point driver Sergio Perez and said the tyre was “fine for me”.

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