• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP1

Hamilton dominates FP1 in Abu Dhabi

ESPN Staff
November 2, 2012
Lewis Hamilton won in Abu Dhabi in 2011 © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time during FP1 as McLaren dominated the opening session in Abu Dhabi.

The usual slow start to a Friday morning session eventually gave way to a busy circuit and Hamilton was immediately quickest as soon as he set a time, finally lowering it to a best of 1:43.285.

Jenson Button was second quickest with a best time of 1:43.618 - set much later than Hamilton as the track improved - to leave McLaren clear of the rest of the field. Sebastian Vettel was third fastest but over three quarters of a second slower than Hamilton.

Only Button and Vettel were able to get within a second of Hamilton's best, but more importantly for Vettel he was 0.3s clear of Fernando Alonso, whose Ferrari team had broken the curfew for the first time this season overnight. Mark Webber was fifth quickest ahead of Michael Schumacher, Pastor Maldonado and Nico Rosberg.

New raised kerbs didn't cause too many issues, though Maldonado did clout one at turn 12 without causing any damage. Traffic was a problem at times, however, with Schumacher having to apologise to an angry Timo Glock for blocking him in to turn eight.

There were a number of reserve drivers getting a run out, with five of the 12 teams fielding a replacement during the session. Caterham's testing of its major upgrades was hampered as Giedo van der Garde could only complete three laps due to an engine problem, while Ma Qing Hua was slowest of those to set a time - 2.2s off his team-mate Pedro de la Rosa's time.

Marussia's Max Chilton fared better on his first practice outing, completing 22 laps and getting within a second of Glock. Valtteri Bottas also impressed once again as he was just 0.2s shy of Pastor Maldonado and in the top ten.