The first on-track action for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix got underway today at the impressive new Yas Marina Circuit.
With the final race of the season due to be Formula One's first day/night race, today's first practice session began at 1300 with the second session taking place from 1700, the same time as the race will start on Sunday.
Brawn GP's Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello completed 59 laps and 61 laps respectively of the 5.554km circuit over the course of the two ninety-minute sessions ending the day in third and eighth positions on the timesheets.
"The Yas Marina circuit is certainly an interesting one. When you look at the layout, it doesn't seem that exciting but when you actually drive it, it's fantastic. The track has a bit of everything with high and low speed corners, positive and negative camber and the walls are pretty close to you most of the way round. We had a good first day of practice here with just a few balance issues to work on overnight."
"First of all, I'm really pleased with the new track here in Abu Dhabi. The venue looks sensational and it's quite challenging to drive which is makes it a lot more fun for the drivers. The car felt good here over the two sessions and we were able to make several improvements over the course of the day. I'm quite happy with the balance and looking forward to tomorrow."
"The Yas Marina Circuit is a stunning facility and a massive credit to Abu Dhabi, Bernie, Philippe Gurdjian and the team behind it. The track layout is very interesting with some good combinations and quite challenging for the drivers. They seem to be enjoying the experience. We are pleased with how our practice programme went today. The track was very dirty at the start of the first session with high track temperatures but it was a good opportunity for the drivers to familiarise themselves with the new track. The temperatures fell dramatically going into the second session which is consistent with what we expect to see in qualifying and into the race so we worked through our usual Friday programme with the tyres and aerodynamic set-up collecting some good data."