Romain Grosjean put in a last gasp effort to nab the P1 ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the opening practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix….
Romain Grosjean put in a last gasp effort to nab the P1 ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the opening practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
It was a slow start to FP1 which saw just one driver put in one timed lap in the first 30 minutes with Sergio Perez clocking a 1:48.525 in his McLaren at the start of a four-lap run. Lap after lap he lowered the benchmark, which was down to a 1:45.331 when he was finally joined by a few of his rivals.
Grosjean slotted into second ahead of Pastor Maldonado and Jenson Button, who was “really, really struggling for grip” which explained why there were slips and slides from several drivers as they tried to come to grips with the green surface.
However, it wasn’t just the green track that the drivers were having to cope with, it was also the extreme heat. With the track temperature at a sweltering 46’C, Nico Rosberg was told to “look for shade from the grandstands to cool tyres where possible.”
Grosjean was the next to lead the way, taking the P1 slot with 40 minutes remaining. His reign was short-lived as Sebastian Vettel headed out and immediately went quickest with a 1:45.172.
Kimi Raikkonen went onto overhaul the Red Bull racer only to be pipped by Lewis Hamilton who almost immediately lost out to Vettel. The German had lowered the benchmark to a 1:44.866.
Rosberg was next to hit the front with 30 minutes remaining before Hamilton edged ahead by 0.279s while Webber improved to second place. Told to use less KERS out of Turn 1 and more out of Turn 7, Hamilton went quicker still with a 1:44.433 to pull away slightly from Webber. Coming out for a final run in the last ten minutes, Vettel improved to second place, 0.208s down on Hamilton. He went on to close the gap to 0.066s.
However, a last gasp effort from Grosjean changed everything as he went quickest with a 1:44.241, putting him 0.192s ahead of Hamilton.
01 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:44.241 21 laps
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:44.433 +0.192 22 laps
03 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:44.499 +0.258 18 laps
04 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:44.712 +0.471 19 laps
05 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:44.741 +0.500 23 laps
06 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:44.929 +0.688 22 laps
07 Paul di Resta Force India 1:45.040 +0.799 19 laps
08 Jenson Button McLaren 1:45.099 +0.858 19 laps
09 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:45.150 +0.909 23 laps
10 Sergio Perez McLaren 1:45.331 +1.090 19 laps
11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1:45.378 +1.137 22 laps
12 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:45.440 +1.199 18 laps
13 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:45.823 +1.582 21 laps
14 James Calado Force India 1:45.924 +1.683 19 laps
15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:46.068 +1.827 17 laps
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:46.114 +1.873 22 laps
17 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:46.124 +1.883 17 laps
18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:46.126 +1.885 20 laps
19 Charles Pic Caterham 1:47.600 +3.359 21 laps
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:47.670 +3.429 21 laps
21 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:47.723 +3.482 22 laps
22 Rodolfo Gonzalez Marussia 1:49.565 +5.324 21 laps