FP1: McLaren off to an impressive start in Abu Dhabi

  • Published on 02 Nov 2012 12:08
  • comments 0
  • By: Rob Veenstra
McLaren got their Abu Dhabi campaign off to a dramatic start with the two fastest times on Friday, as Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button dominated Practice One.

Hamilton began setting the pace from the moment he took to the track halfway through and never let up as he trimmed his times to 1m 43.285s. For a long time nobody broke the 1m 44s barrier, but near the end Button cut his times and eventually lapped just 0.333s slower in 1m 43.618s.

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were left a little breathless with 1m 44.050s and 1m 44. 542s in their hitherto dominant Red Bulls, but they were split right at the end when Vettel's arch-rival Fernando Alonso took his Ferrari round in 1m 44.366s.

Michael Schumacher was up there for Mercedes with 1m 44.694s, before a gap to Williams' Pastor Maldonaldo. The Venezuelan was exactly matched by team reserve Valtteri Bottas with 1m 45.347s apiece, until the former just improved to 1m 45.115s at the end.

Nico Rosberg posted 1m 45.194s in the second Mercedes, leaving Bottas a solid ninth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen on 1m 45.422s in the leading Lotus. Felipe Massa followed with 1m 45.567s for Ferrari, ahead of Force India's Nico Hulkenberg on 1m 45.587s, Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi on 1m 45.722s, Romain Grosjean on 1m 45.743s in the second Lotus, Jules Bianchi, standing in for Paul di Resta in the second Force India on 1m 45.769s, and Sergio Perez in the second Sauber on 1m 45.811s.

The Toro Rosso were off that pace, with Daniel Ricciardo on 1m 46.649s from Jean-Eric Vergne on 1m 46.708s, then Heikki Kovalainen flew the Caterham flag alone with 1m 47.718s after morning team mate Giedo van der Garde never got a timed run thanks to engine problems.

Timo Glock was on Kovalainen's tail with 1m 47.891s for Marussia, as Pedro de la Rosa took 22nd for HRT with 1m 48.354s. Max Chilton’s first Friday run for Marussia yielded a solid 1m 48.887s, while Ma Qing Hua's return to the second HRT, in place of Narain Karthikeyan, was good for 1m 50.487s. (Formula1.com)

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