FP1: Vettel draws first blood ahead of Hamilton


Sebastian Vettel put in a late effort to start the final race of the season with a P1 as he edged Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

Friday’s first practice may have signalled the beginning of the end for the 2017 F1 season but that didn’t stop teams are running updates.

Ferrari trialed a new diffuser that came with a crazy array of aero sensors on Kimi Raikkonen’s car while Mercedes ran a new front wing.

Lewis Hamilton on the soft tyres led the way at the start before losing out to Raikkonen, running without the sensors, and Daniel Ricciardo.

With the ultrasoft Pirellis bolted onto his SF70H, Raikkonen clocked a 1:40.638 before lowering the benchmark time to a 1:39.841.

Ferrari’s time at the top came an end midway through the 90-minute session as Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas returned to the track on the ultrasoft tyres.

The 2017 World Champion laid down a 1:39.126 to sit 0.028s ahead of Max Verstappen.

P1, though, again changed hands as Vettel, out for a late run on the ultrasofts, clocked a 1:39.006.

That put him 0.120s up on Hamilton with Max Verstappen a further 0.028s down.

Bottas was fourth ahead of Raikkonen, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso, competing in his final race weekend with Honda power.

Stoffel Vandoorne, Felipe Massa and Daniel Ricciardo completed the top ten.

A small spin for Nico Hulkenberg and a bigger one for Romain Grosjean, who tagged the barrier with the rear of his Haas, were the total of the session’s drama.

1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:39.006
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:39.126 0.120
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:39.154 0.148
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:39.518 0.512
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:39.741 0.735
6 Sergio Perez Force India 1:40.293 1.287
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:40.522 1.516
8 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:40.569 1.563
9 Felipe Massa Williams 1:40.723 1.717
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:40.773 1.767
11 George Russell Force India 1:41.131 2.125
12 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:41.306 2.300
13 Lance Stroll Williams 1:41.581 2.575
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:41.646 2.640
15 Carlos Sainz Renault Sport 1:41.748 2.742
16 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1:41.752 2.746
17 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Sport 1:41.864 2.858
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Haas 1:42.065 3.059
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:42.344 3.338
20 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:42.585 3.579