Ricciardo third in practice at Abu Dhabi

Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo was placed third in second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with world champion Lewis Hamilton keeping Mercedes on top ahead of his rival Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton finished behind Vettel in the day’s first running at the Yas Marina circuit after the Ferrari driver picked up where he left off following his victory in Brazil a fortnight ago.

But it was Hamilton’s turn to edge out Vettel in the evening session as he bids to end his title-winning campaign with a bang.

Under the floodlights, Hamilton clocked a best effort of one minute and 37.877 to finish clear of Vettel.

Red Bull were third in both sessions, with 20-year-old Dutch driver Max Verstappen taking that place in the first and Ricciardo in the second.

“It’s been a good Friday, but I’m happy that it’s the last one of the season,” said Hamilton, who clinched his fourth championship in Mexico last month.

“We got lots of laps in today and made good progress with the balance of the car.

“We have a bit of work to do, but I feel like we’re quite competitive here. It’s relatively close still, but I like that.”

Vettel, who needs to finish only eighth here in the desert to seal the runner-up spot in this year’s championship, and Hamilton have both won on three occasions in Abu Dhabi, and both started from pole position three times, too.

And on the basis of Friday’s evidence at least, the pair, who went toe-to-toe for the title only for Vettel’s challenge to implode in the second half of the campaign, look set to dominate here once more.

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