Vettel leads first Abu Dhabi practice

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of Friday's first practice session in Abu Dhabi

Vettel leads first Abu Dhabi practice

The Yas Marina track was damp at the beginning, following a surprise downpour this morning.

Friday's first practice is usually an exercise in circuit cleaning and that was the case even more today thanks to the patches of damp, particulary in the shade of the unique circuit's bridges and trackside buildings.

Both McLaren and Red Bull spent time early on testing parts on their cars, with both having brought upgraded rear wings to the season finale. Mark Webber particularly spent laps early on assessing the wing with flow-vis paint on his RB6.

Everyone posted at least installation laps but few returned for much meaningful running until the last half hour - Lewis Hamilton, for example did not complete a timed lap until there were just 18 minutes left on the clock.

When the times did fall into the 1m43s, it was the Red Bulls of Webber and Vettel, and Hamilton's McLaren that set the pace.

All 24 cars were on the circuit at the end of the 90-minute session, by which time the circuit was in good enough condition for Vettel to break into the 1m42s.

That left him six tenths clear of Hamilton, with Jenson Button jumping up to third late on in the second McLaren. Webber finished up fourth, ahead of Robert Kubica's Renault and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher, Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Rosberg and Nick Heidfeld completed the top 10.

The session passed without any major incidents. Several cars had trips off the damp track early on, but Fairuz Fauzy (Lotus) was the only one to spin. Rubens Barrichello's Williams stopped on his way back to the pits after the chequered flag.

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m42.760s 18 2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m43.369s + 0.609s 16 3. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m43.785s + 1.025s 19 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m43.840s + 1.080s 19 5. Robert Kubica Renault 1m44.080s + 1.320s 19 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m44.121s + 1.361s 17 7. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m44.199s + 1.439s 19 8. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m44.604s + 1.844s 18 9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m44.718s + 1.958s 19 10. Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1m44.737s + 1.977s 19 11. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m45.160s + 2.400s 18 12. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m45.445s + 2.685s 21 13. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m45.474s + 2.714s 15 14. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m45.552s + 2.792s 20 15. Tonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1m45.585s + 2.825s 14 16. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m46.003s + 3.243s 20 17. Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1m46.644s + 3.884s 19 18. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m47.105s + 4.345s 22 19. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m48.450s + 5.690s 19 20. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1m48.472s + 5.712s 17 21. Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1m49.375s + 6.615s 13 22. Bruno Senna Hispania-Cosworth 1m49.590s + 6.830s 18 23. Christian Klien Hispania-Cosworth 1m50.274s + 7.514s 17 24. Fairuz Fauzy Lotus-Cosworth 1m51.705s + 8.945s 18 All timing unofficial 
shares
comments
CAMS: Safety key to Melbourne row

Previous article

CAMS: Safety key to Melbourne row

Next article

Heidfeld in talks over Renault drive

Heidfeld in talks over Renault drive
Load comments
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021