Yas Marina FP1: Hamilton from Rosberg stalked by Red Bulls

lewis hamilton

Lewis Hamilton started the decisive Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend by claiming top spot on the timing screens, at the end of the first free practice session on Friday, ahead of title rival and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, who had the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo not far behind.

Despite a spin exiting Turn 5, Hamilton went on to set a best time of 1:42.869 was 0.374 of a second quicker than Rosberg, who was only half a tenth faster than Verstappen and a tenth up on Ricciardo.

Up next, in fifth, was Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari albeit over a second down on the benchmark time, with teammate Kimi Raikkonen seventh, over a second and a half adrift of Hamilton’s best.

Force India’s Sergio Perez split the reds with the sixth best time of the 90 minutes session.

Carlos Sainz was eighth for Toro Rosso, but his teammate was less fortunate stopping on the side of the track with a puncture, managing only four laps in the session.

Felipe Massa, who also spun in Turn 5, was ninth fastest for Williams, the Brazilian competing in his 250th and last grand prix.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson rounded out the top ten, ahead of Force India reserve Alfonso Celis on duty in the place of Nico Hulkenberg.

Britain’s 2009 world champion Jenson Button – also in his last F1 race – was 20th for McLaren after being asked to return to the pits slowly during the session.

Button did only 10 laps, compared to Hamilton’s 28, with mechanics still working on the car through the closing minutes.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit – Friday, Free Practice 1

1 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:42.869 27
2 6 Nico Rosberg MERCEDES 1:43.243 +0.374s 30
3 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:43.297 +0.428s 25
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:43.362 +0.493s 26
5 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:44.005 +1.136s 26
6 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:44.155 +1.286s 22
7 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:44.556 +1.687s 26
8 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO FERRARI 1:44.685 +1.816s 20
9 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:45.039 +2.170s 26
10 9 Marcus Ericsson SAUBER FERRARI 1:45.168 +2.299s 19
11 34 Alfonso Celis FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:45.476 +2.607s 25
12 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 1:45.600 +2.731s 13
13 12 Felipe Nasr SAUBER FERRARI 1:45.778 +2.909s 17
14 21 Esteban Gutierrez HAAS FERRARI 1:45.925 +3.056s 19
15 77 Valtteri Bottas WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:45.940 +3.071s 30
16 30 Jolyon Palmer RENAULT 1:46.219 +3.350s 32
17 20 Kevin Magnussen RENAULT 1:46.372 +3.503s 20
18 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 1:46.379 +3.510s 20
19 94 Pascal Wehrlein MRT MERCEDES 1:46.458 +3.589s 28
20 22 Jenson Button MCLAREN HONDA 1:47.127 +4.258s 10
21 42 Jordan King MRT MERCEDES 1:47.558 +4.689s 26
22 26 Daniil Kvyat TORO ROSSO FERRARI 2:01.989 +19.120s 4