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Bottas fastest in 2nd practice ahead of Verstappen

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas posted the fastest time Friday in the second practice for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Bottas, who has not won this season, was .044 seconds quicker than Red Bull driver Max Verstappen on the 5.55-kilometer (3.4-mile) Yas Marina circuit. Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest ahead of Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton.

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 was sixth in the second practice, trailing teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

The session started at 5 p.m. and finished under floodlights to mirror conditions for Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race. Earlier Friday, Verstappen was fastest in the first practice by about half a second. Ricciardo was next, with Bottas in third and Hamilton fourth about one second behind.

Verstappen, who has impressed with a win and four other podium finishes in the past six races, is fighting Bottas to finish in fourth place in the driver standings. Bottas is only three points ahead of fifth-place Verstappen, who has won two races this season.

Sunday's race will be the last with Red Bull for Ricciardo, who is leaving to join Renault next year.

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