ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Max Verstappen posted the fastest time Friday in the first practice for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver was about a half second quicker than teammate Daniel Ricciardo, with Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas in third ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas and Hamilton were about one second behind Verstappen, who has impressed with a win and four other podium finishes in the past six races.
Hamilton has already won his fifth world title and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel will finish behind him in second place for the second straight year. Vettel finished eighth in the first practice.
A second practice was scheduled for later Friday.
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Bobby Rahal has driven in some of the biggest races in the world, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 Hours and, of course, winning the Indianapolis 500 as a driver in 1986 and in 2004 as a team owner.
But winning the 12 Hours of Sebring two years in a row (1987 and 1988), Rahal feels, is right up there in terms of his greatest accomplishments as a race car driver.
As IMSA celebrates its 50th anniversary, Rahal reflected on what racing at Sebring International Raceway has meant to him:
“To me, Sebring is the ultimate endurance race. Not as long as Daytona or Le Mans, but the demands put on a car and driver at Sebring are highly unusual.
“My father raced at Sebring in the late 60’s. To win that race two years in a row really meant something to me.
“While we’ve won a lot of other races, we’ve won just about everywhere, you name it. But for me personally, winning at Sebring those two years in a row was very special.”