Lewis Hamilton produced a confidence-boosting drive to comfortably top title rival Max Verstappen in Free Practice 2 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver recorded a time of 1:23.691 to out-pace all drivers at the Yas Marina Circuit, with the Dutchman only able to finish fourth and six tenths of a second slower than Hamilton.
Though Verstappen had been faster in FP1, with night falling and the conditions more closely resembling those in which the drivers will race, Hamilton's supremacy was perhaps a first telling blow of the decisive weekend in the race for the Drivers' Championship.
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Having produced a strong drive around a redesigned track, Hamilton admitted that he felt in good shape heading into the weekend.
"I feel great," said Hamilton, who is hoping to win a record-setting eighth world title.
"[It is] still a bit of a bit of unknown in terms of pace but I'm sure it's going to be super close."
The Yas Marina Circuit has been remodelled since last season, running significantly faster and more driver friendly, with Esteban Ocon in the Alpine a surprise second-fastest driver in FP2.
Verstappen had won the 2020 edition of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but Hamilton is a five-time previous winner in the United Arab Emirates, and it is believed that the alterations to the track may suit the Mercedes car.
The pair have duelled in a thrilling back-and-forth battle throughout the 2021 season, and arrived at the finale level on points, with Verstappen holding the edge should it end in a tie having won more races.
The Dutchman is seeking a first Drivers' Championship, but was not overly concerned by a lacklustre showing in the second practice session.
"Of course clearly the short run didn't go to plan, [we were] lacking a bit of pace. But I think the long runs were quite a bit more competitive."
Free Practice 2 was curtailed after a hefty collision for Kimi Raikkonen, who appeared to escape unscathed despite a sizeable impact with the barrier.
Raikkonen will bow out of the sport at the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
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