The practice signs that give Mercedes a key edge heading into F1's Abu Dhabi finale
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The practice signs that give Mercedes a key edge heading into F1's Abu Dhabi finale

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Mercedes led the way in opening practice at the 2021 Formula 1 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – at least in the only session that mattered. Red Bull showed much stronger signs in another key pre-race consideration, but it would still go into Sunday’s climax at a disadvantage if the FP2 trends bear out in qualifying. Here’s why.

The Jeddah race just gone was shocking and unpredictable. The signs from the opening two practice sessions at Formula 1’s 2021 season finale suggest things in Abu Dhabi are as anticipated and familiar: there is almost nothing to separate the championship’s two leading teams heading into the last race.

But, intriguingly, based on the times logged and comments made in and after FP2 on Friday, the strengths/weaknesses at Red Bull and Mercedes are so far apparently exactly the reverse of how things turned out in Saudi Arabia. That is, this time, Mercedes currently has the edge over a single lap, but Red Bull is stronger in race trim.

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