November 1st, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Lewis Hamilton featured in the top three in both Friday practice sessions in Abu Dhabi, confirming that Mercedes have good pace at the Yas Marina Circuit this weekend and suggesting that they could challenge for the podium in Sunday's race.
Hamilton was second in first practice, behind Romain Grosjean but crucially ahead of both Red Bulls. In second practice, Hamilton was third fastest behind the Red Bulls. Considering that FP2 took place in similar conditions to those expected for the race and that both tyre compounds were used in the session, the times from FP2 are more useful in predicting race performance than those of FP1.
Nico Rosberg was fifth fastest in both sessions, slower than both Red Bulls on both occasions, but he came away confident that Mercedes can be "best of the rest" this weekend, as they were at the last race in India.
This is what the drivers had to say after Friday practice in Abu Dhabi:
Lewis Hamilton: "Today was a fairly standard Friday programme for us, although the second session is always more valuable here as it's so much more reflective of the race conditions. As the temperatures cool down, the characteristics of the car change and you get an increase in understeer, so the main challenge is to try and pre-empt the set-up that you're going to need. Physically it gets easier when the sun goes down but you don't even notice the visibility change as they do such a good job of lighting the track. A decent start today but there's a lot of work ahead of us over the weekend and we'll give it everything we can as always."
Nico Rosberg: "We didn't learn a great deal during the first practice session today as it was so hot and we won't have those conditions in qualifying or the race. I struggled a little on the option tyres but was able to find a better rhythm when we switched to the primes. It should be an interesting race from a strategy perspective as the tyres seem to be right on the limit of one or two stops. Our aim is to be the best of the rest again which I'm quite confident we can achieve and score some important points."