Formula 1 News

Hamilton leads the times in FP1 at Abu Dhabi

McLaren dominated the action in the morning session with Jenson Button clocking the second best time ahead of championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2 (EFE). - For a change, it was not Vettel nor a Red Bull car which led the times in a racing session, as Lewis Hamilton was fastest than everyone else during the first practice session today Friday at Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton’s fastest lap of 1:43.285 was hard to match, and his teammate Button could get only 0.333 on his final run, having previously suffered with rear wheel locking. At the end, McLaren dominated the session at the Yas Marina circuit with very competitive times.

The championship Sebastian Vettel clocked third best (1:44.050) while testing a couple of front wings, just ahead of his immediate hunter Fernando Alonso (1:44.366) his main rival in the fight for the title.

The Spaniard brought a new front wing design in an effort to enhance his F2012 performance for the following three races. Ferrari worked hard on a selection of new car parts, which included the aforementioned front wing. The team is not desperate but rather eager, so much that the mechanics broke the curfew by arriving at the circuit earlier than allowed this morning (curfew can be broken legally four times per season).

A little further back, Pastor Maldonado progressed to seventh place, having previously held an identical lap time to teammate Bottas who keeps impressing everyone (Senna will have a tough time in the off season). Kimi Räikkönen was the slowest of the two Finns in the session, as the Lotus driver was halted by a puncture.

More than 35 minutes had elapsed when most of the drivers took to the track, surface temperatures having exceeded 45 degrees Celsius by that point. Michael Schumacher was the first man to set a fully valuable time with 45 minutes in the session.

At Sauber, there was a hair-raising moment when McLaren-bound Sergio Pérez narrowly avoided the pit wall while attempting a high-speed pit entry sliding wide and was forced to drive over the run-off area and back onto the race track to avoid contact with the barrier.

Heikki Kovalainen was the only one of the Caterham drivers to set a time as Giedo van der Garde spent the session in the garage as his team tried to rectify an engine installation issue.

Classification of the first free practice of the GP of Abu Dhabi:  

Pos No Driver Team Times Gap Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:43.285   21
2 3 Jenson Button McLaren 1:43.618 0.333 19
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:44.050 0.765 23
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:44.366 1.081 21
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing 1:44.542 1.257 22
6 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:44.694 1.409 23
7 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:45.115 1.830 26
8 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:45.194 1.909 19
9 19 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:45.347 2.062 25
10 9 Kimi RŠikkšnen Lotus 1:45.422 2.137 15
11 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:45.567 2.282 24
12 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:45.587 2.302 20
13 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:45.722 2.437 20
14 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:45.743 2.458 20
15 11 Jules Bianchi Force India 1:45.769 2.484 22
16 15 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:45.811 2.526 22
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:46.649 3.364 24
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:46.708 3.423 26
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:47.418 4.133 23
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia 1:47.891 4.606 21
21 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:48.354 5.069 22
22 25 Max Chilton Marussia 1:48.887 5.602 22
23 23 Qing Hua Ma HRT 1:50.487 7.202 20
24 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham No time   3



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