2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix first practice
McLaren set the pace around the Yas Marina circuit as practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix began.
Lewis Hamilton ended the first session three-quarters of a second faster than the next driver in a different car. Jenson Button moved within a third of a second of his team mate’s time with his final effort.
The session got off to a very quiet start with Max Chilton and Ma Qing Hua doing a few slow laps as they tested engine settings. Jean-Eric Vergne was the only other driver to set a time in the first half-hour.
The Williams pair were next to lead the times but once Hamilton hit the top he was never headed. He repeatedly improved his effort, ending up on a 1’43.285.
However his time was over three seconds off the best time seen in first practice last year. A series of higher kerbs have been installed at several corners on the track since then, and the session was saw track temperatures of up to 47C.
Sebastian Vettel was third-quickest ahead of championship rival Fernando Alonso, who split the two Red Bulls.
Michael Schumacher was sixth after a couple of off-track moments, including one which came after he briefly held up Timo Glock’s Marussia.
The Williams pair of Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas both featured in the top ten with Kimi Raikkonen tenth for Lotus.
Chilton was at the wheel of the second Marussia as he made his first appearance in an official F1 session. He ended up 22nd ahead of Ma Qing Hua, who returned for HRT, and Giedo van der Garde, who did not set a time after reporting an unusual noise on his car during his first run.
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1’44.050||0.765||23|
|5||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1’44.542||1.257||22|
|12||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1’45.587||2.302||20|
|15||11||Jules Bianchi||Force India-Mercedes||1’45.769||2.484||22|
|17||16||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’46.649||3.364||24|
|18||17||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1’46.708||3.423||26|
|21||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1’48.354||5.069||22|
|23||23||Ma Qing Hua||HRT-Cosworth||1’50.487||7.202||20|
|24||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||No time||7.202||3|
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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei