Ayumu Iwasa hit the ground running at Yas Marina ending Free Practice quickest of all, 0.055s ahead of Théo Pourchaire. The DAMS driver strung together his best time early on and nobody could usurp him for the top spot in the remaining time. Logan Sargeant got his weekend off to a good start, ending Practice third fastest in his Carlin despite a last second spin.
Perfect conditions were presented to the drivers as the first session of the final weekend in 2022 got underway. Following plenty of installation laps, the times tumbled as the track ramped up and Marcus Armstrong put in the early benchmark with a 1:38.987.
The New Zealander improved his times as the clock ticked underneath half an hour remaining to lower the top time further to a 1:38.469 before Iwasa put his DAMS top of the pile, with the 0.301s gap predominantly taken in the first sector.
Jüri Vips had been running in the top three but had a lucky escape, avoiding the barriers at Turn 14 after a snap of oversteer almost led him into the barriers.
With 20 minutes to go, the Carlin duo of Liam Lawson and Logan Sargeant moved themselves up to second and fourth respectively. Lawson could only get within 0.267s of Iwasa while Sargeant was 0.377s off the top.
Clément Novalak was the next to find a sizeable improvement, going P2 to edge within a quarter of a second of Iwasa, but only just. The Frenchman finished off his time 0.249s down but ahead of F2 Champion and teammate Felipe Drugovich.
Pourchaire finally cut the gap down to 0.055s with 13 minutes left of Practice, moving up from ninth. A Red Flag was thrown as the clock ticked underneath 10 minutes to go as Ralph Boschung spun into the barriers between Turns 13 and 14. The session got back underway with three minutes to go but nobody could improve over Iwasa’s 1:38.168.
Qualifying is set to start at 15:30 local time.