Romain Grosjean topped the opening practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Lotus and Mercedes showed early signs of competitiveness alongside Red Bull.
Lewis Hamilton was second fastest ahead of newly-crowned world champion Sebastian Vettel, who finished the session 0.258s off the pace of Grosjean. All drivers struggled for grip during the 90 minute session, however, with several exceeding the track limits after making mistakes at different parts of the track.
Vettel made an unusual error at the end of the session as he missed his marks coming into the pits and knocked a tyre out of the hands of one of his waiting mechanics. Fortunately no one appeared to be injured and the car suffered little to no damage.
The first practice session is rarely a true indicator of form, and only the medium compound tyres were used during the session, but Lotus, Mercedes and Red Bull look fairly evenly matched with their drivers occupying the top six positions. Mark Webber was fourth fastest ahead Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen, the latter making his first appearance in the paddock this weekend after opting to skip Thursday's media sessions.
Paul di Resta continued with his upturn in form by setting the seventh fastest time ahead of Jenson Button in the McLaren and Pastor Maldonado in the Williams. Sergio Perez rounded off the top ten, a little over a second off Grosjean's fastest time.
Fernando Alonso was 12th fastest and Felipe Massa 17th by the end of FP1, although it's not unusual for Ferrari to follow a different programme on a Friday in order to test different new parts. The Toro Rossos also appeared to struggle, with Jean-Eric Vergne 16th and Daniel Ricciardo 18th on a track where the team is not expecting to be very competitive.
James Calado, Heikki Kovalainen and Rodolfo Gonzalez all took the place of regular race drivers during the session, with Calado 14th fastest in the Force India, Kovalainen 20th in the Caterham and Gonzalez down in 22nd in the Marussia.