Lewis Hamilton tops First Practice in Abu Dhabi


Mercedes AMG PETRONAS driver Lewis Hamilton got back to business to top the time sheet during the first practice session of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Brit set a time of 1:43.754s, ahead of his fellow Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg by 0.141s, as the team once again dominated around the Yas Marina Circuit.

Best of the rest again were Ferrari, but it was Kimi Raikkonen this time around in third place, 0.746s back on the time set by Hamilton, but 0.202s clear of the first Infiniti Red Bull Racing driver Daniil Kvyat.

The second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel was only 0.040s behind the first Red Bull, while the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo was seventh, separating the two Sahara Force India team-mates, Nico Hulkenberg placing sixth and Sergio Perez eighth.

Pastor Maldonado finished ninth for the Lotus F1 Team ahead of both Williams Martini Racing drivers,  Felipe Massa only 0.170s ahead of his Finnish team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Dutch teenager Max Verstappen was the fastest Scuderia Toro Rosso driver in twelfth, his time 1:45.718s enough to put him ahead of the two McLaren-Honda drivers, Jenson Button ahead of team-mate Fernando Alonso in thirteenth by 0.092s.

Felipe Nasr finished in fifteenth in the leading Sauber F1 Team entry ahead of the second Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr and Swedish team-mate Marcus Ericsson.

The practice session didn’t start until ten minutes before the end for Lotus reserve driver Joylon Palmer, who was consigned to the pits while his mechanics fixed a water leak.  Palmer managed to complete nine laps in the closing moments of the ninety-minute session, and set a time of 1:46.501s, which was only 0.094s behind Ericsson who completed 29 laps.

After allowing Alexander Rossi the opportunity to race for Manor in five of the past six races, Roberto Merhi‘s return this weekend saw him put a time 1.052s behind team-mate Will Stevens.