Abu Dhabi GP: Hamilton outpaces Rosberg in FP1

Lewis Hamilton outpaced championship rival Nico Rosberg in the final FP1 session of 2016 ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Abu Dhabi GP: Hamilton outpaces Rosberg in FP1
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Track atmosphere
Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing MRT05
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-31
Track atmosphere
Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari Team Principal with Mario Isola, Pirelli Racing Manager
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
Pasquale Lattuneddu, FOM and Bernie Ecclestone
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1

Hamilton, who trails Rosberg by 12 points ahead of the season finale, posted a best time of 1:42.869 on soft tyres to beat his Mercedes teammate by nearly four tenths of a second.

The Mercedes drivers used the ultrasoft tyres for their first runs, but only Rosberg set his fastest time with them. 

Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo finished in third and fourth as they appeared to be Mercedes' closest challenger once more.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who spent a significant part of the session running with the Halo on, rounded out the top five, albeit over a second off Hamilton's pace.

Teammate Kimi Raikkonen was seventh quickest, the Ferrari drivers split by the Force India of Sergio Perez.

As the session started, the championship contenders took the longest to leave their garages, with Rosberg not hitting the track until the first 10 minutes had passed.

Hamilton took even longer, the Briton going out a couple of minutes after his teammate.

Rosberg was the first driver to register a time, however, the German posting a 1:43.873 nearly 15 minutes into the running. Hamilton went second quickest before Rosberg improved and opened a gap of nearly a second.

There was drama again for Toro Rosso 20 minutes into the session, as Daniil Kvyat suffered another puncture to his left rear tyre.

The Russian tried to crawl back to the pits but was eventually asked to park his car to avoid further damage.

Kvyat would not run again and would finish at the bottom of the times nearly 20 seconds off the pace.

After the yellow flags cleared, Hamilton moved to the top of the times with a 1:43.051 on ultrasofts as Jordan King, replacing Esteban Ocon in the Manor, spun his car after losing the rear.

Felipe Massa, in the final FP1 of his career, followed with another spin at Turn 5, the Brazilian continuing without further drama.

Minutes later it was Hamilton's turn to spin at the same corner as the Briton warmed up his ultrasoft tyres for another run.

Verstappen jumped to third on soft tyres with 55 minutes go ahead, the Dutchman over half a second off the pace of the Mercedes duo.

Romain Grosjean triggered a yellow-flag period with 33 minutes to go when he went off the track at Turn 1. The Haas driver had already gone off previously at Turn 6.

"l don't know what happened, it's just the rear brake. It needs to be sorted because it's not normal," reported the Frenchman.

There were problems for Jenson Button a few minutes later, the Briton asked to return to the pits right away before jumping out of his McLaren as his mechanics started working on it.

With 26 minutes to go, Hamilton went quicker with a run of new soft tyres, the Briton posting a 1:42.869 as Rosberg ran very wide at the final corner.

Verstappen and Ricciardo, also on softs, improved as well, but stayed in third and fourth nearly half a second off the pace.

First practice times:

ClaDriverChassisEngineLapsTimeGapInterval
1  Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 27 1'42.869    
2  Nico Rosberg  Mercedes Mercedes 31 1'43.243 0.374 0.374
3  Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 26 1'43.297 0.428 0.054
4  Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 26 1'43.362 0.493 0.065
5  Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 27 1'44.005 1.136 0.643
6  Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 22 1'44.155 1.286 0.150
7  Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 26 1'44.556 1.687 0.401
8  Carlos Sainz Jr.  Toro Rosso Ferrari 21 1'44.685 1.816 0.129
9  Felipe Massa  Williams Mercedes 27 1'45.039 2.170 0.354
10  Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 20 1'45.168 2.299 0.129
11  Alfonso Celis Jr.  Force India Mercedes 26 1'45.476 2.607 0.308
12  Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 13 1'45.600 2.731 0.124
13  Felipe Nasr  Sauber Ferrari 17 1'45.778 2.909 0.178
14  Esteban Gutierrez  Haas Ferrari 20 1'45.925 3.056 0.147
15  Valtteri Bottas  Williams Mercedes 31 1'45.940 3.071 0.015
16  Jolyon Palmer  Renault Renault 32 1'46.219 3.350 0.279
17  Kevin Magnussen  Renault Renault 20 1'46.372 3.503 0.153
18  Fernando Alonso  McLaren Honda 21 1'46.379 3.510 0.007
19  Pascal Wehrlein  Manor Mercedes 29 1'46.458 3.589 0.079
20  Jenson Button  McLaren Honda 10 1'47.127 4.258 0.669
21  Jordan King  Manor Mercedes 26 1'47.558 4.689 0.431
22  Daniil Kvyat  Toro Rosso Ferrari 4 2'01.989 19.120 14.431
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