FP1: Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2


Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg set the pace in Friday’s opening practice for the Abu Dhabi GP, a session in which Red Bull finished within half a second.

On a hot afternoon in Abu Dhabi, the championship rivals may have been the last to venture out of the pits but they were the first to make their marks on the timesheets.

Championship leader Rosberg grabbed the early P1 on the purple-marked ultrasoft Pirellis, a 1:43.243. That, despite being his second flying lap, was up on last year’s best time from FP1.

Hamilton took over with a 1:43.051 as both Mercedes drivers lapped on the ultrasofts.

Max Verstappen was third in the early running, 0.539s off the pace, with Daniel Ricciardo fourth. Both Red Bull drivers set their lap times on the soft tyres.

The Mercedes drivers swapped to the slower soft tyres for the second half of the 90-minute practice with Hamilton improving to a 1:42.869.

Rosberg was unable to find any added pace, finishing 0.374s down, while the same cannot be said of Verstappen. Putting on a fresh set of soft tyres, he closed the gap to Hamilton to 0.428s.

Ricciardo, who finished fourth, was a further 0.07s off the pace with Sebastian Vettel also running the softs as he finished P5.

Sergio Perez was sixth quickest as he set his best time on the supersoft tyres with Kimi Raikkonen seventh on the softs. The Ferrari driver topped the speed trap times with a 338.3kph with Hamilton second on a 336.1.

Carlos Sainz, Felipe Massa and Marcus Ericsson completed the top ten on the timesheets for FP1.

Romain Grosjean had a few troubles with the Yas Marina’s left-hand corners as he had a major slide through a run-off area followed by a spin at the end of the start-finish straight into the first corner.

He informed Haas: “I’ve lost the car three times very suddenly on left-handers.” He later added: “The rear brakes breaked. Sort that out. It’s dangerous.”

Daniil Kvyat had a wretched start to the weekend as he suffered a rear left puncture early in the session. He tried to make it back to the pits but with the tyre ripping itself apart, he reported: “I think I lost the tyre guys.” He was told to park it.

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’42.869 27 laps
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’43.243 0.374 30 laps
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1’43.297 0.428 25 laps
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’43.362 0.493 26 laps
5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’44.005 1.136 26 laps
6 Sergio Perez Force India 1’44.155 1.286 22 laps
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’44.556 1.687 26 laps
8 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 1’44.685 1.816 20 laps
9 Felipe Massa Williams 1’45.039 2.170 26 laps
10 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1’45.168 2.299 19 laps
11 Alfonso Celis Force India 1’45.476 2.607 25 laps
12 Romain Grosjean Haas 1’45.600 2.731 13 laps
13 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1’45.778 2.909 17 laps
14 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1’45.925 3.056 19 laps
15 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’45.940 3.071 30 laps
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1’46.219 3.350 32 laps
17 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1’46.372 3.503 20 laps
18 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1’46.379 3.510 20 laps
19 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1’46.458 3.589 28 laps
20 Jenson Button McLaren 1’47.127 4.258 10 laps
21 Jordan King Manor 1’47.558 4.689 26 laps
22 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 2’01.989 19.120 4 laps