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Lewis Hamilton wants ‘alternative plan’ to prevent repeat of China practice scrapping

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Lewis Hamilton wants Formula 1 bosses to work out an “alternative plan” to keep fans entertained in the event of track running being scrapped after the majority of Friday practice for the Chinese Grand Prix was canceled.

Thick fog in Shanghai meant the medical helicopter being used was unable to land at the local hospital, while an alternative route via road was not quick enough to meet the FIA’s safety requirements.

As a result, drivers got just 21 minutes’ worth of running on Friday, with the entirety of FP2 being abandoned due to the weather conditions.

Hamilton ventured out across the pit straight during FP2 to meet his fans in the grandstand, but said he felt sorry for those watching.

“The track was absolutely fine and we could have run all day today with no issue if it weren’t for the clouds,” Hamilton said.

“It’s not good for the fans watching on TV and even worse for all those people in the stands, who have paid money to come out here from the city or even from other countries. They’ve barely seen a car on track today, which must be tough for them.

“We need to work together with the FIA and FOM to find a solution or an alternative plan of some kind when we have circumstances like this in the future.”

Following the lack of running, teams were reportedly offered an hour’s worth of practice later on Friday, only for this to be rejected, with weather conditions also not improving at this time.

Team bosses met with FIA race director Charlie Whiting to discuss the idea of holding the China race on Saturday given the poor forecast for Sunday, only for this also to be decided against, with the weekend set to continue as originally planned.

Hamilton tops second Abu Dhabi F1 practice with new track record

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Lewis Hamilton swept to the top of the timesheets in second Formula 1 practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday evening, beating Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by one-tenth of a second.

Hamilton trailed Vettel through the daytime-run opening practice session, but managed to strike back by recording a new track record at the Yas Marina Circuit for Mercedes.

Hamilton recorded a fastest lap time of 1:37.877 to finish one-tenth of a second clear of Vettel at the checkered flag, appearing to have an edge across a single lap on the ultra-soft tire.

Red Bull threw its hat into the ring as a possible rival for pole through Daniel Ricciardo, who finished the session third-fastest, three-tenths of a second back from Hamilton at the head of the field.

Kimi Raikkonen ended FP2 in fourth place in the sister Ferrari, finishing within half a second of Hamilton, and managed to edge out fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas, who was a further two-tenths back in P5.

Max Verstappen failed to get in a quick flying lap during FP2, ending the session one second down in P6 for Red Bull.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon’s tight intra-team fight at Force India continued through FP2 as the pair were separated by just 0.01 seconds, taking seventh and eighth respectively to finish as the leading midfield drivers.

Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso completed the top 10 for Renault and McLaren, with Felipe Massa following in 11th for Williams on his final Friday appearance in F1.

Massa was fortunate to avoid an accident with Ricciardo during the final 15 minutes of the session after a mix up at the hairpin when the Brazilian tried to get a wider line for the back straight.

Running in Abu Dhabi continues with final practice at Yas Marina on Saturday morning from 5am ET on the NBC Sports app, followed by qualifying at 8am ET on NBCSN.