Hamilton leads Button in opening Abu Dhabi practice
2 November 2012 – It was a McLaren one-two in Friday’s opening practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton ahead of Jenson Button. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel completed the top three as Fernando Alonso jumped up to fourth with a new Ferrari front wing. Five reserve drivers took part over the 90 minutes.
Of the six reserve drivers on-track, Giedo van der Garde was the most frustrated. Caterham suffered an engine issue on the car of Vitaly Petrov, meaning the disappointed Dutchman was left to sit in the pit lane after completing only three laps. Two garages down, Max Chilton enjoyed his first weekend outing with Marussia and remains a candidate for a full-time drive in 2013; the Surrey driver was handed a selection of tasks to assess his abilities as well as preparing Charles Pic’s car ahead of this 18th race weekend of the campaign.
Hamilton’s fastest lap came in the form of 1:43.285. Button improved to within three and a half tenths on his final run, having previously suffered with rear wheel locking. A little further back, Pastor Maldonado progressed to seventh place, having previously held an identical lap time to team-mate Bottas. Kimi Räikkönen was the slowest of the two Finns in the session, as the Lotus driver was halted by a puncture.
Along with tomorrow’s third and final practice, this opening phase was one of the hottest of the weekend as the sun will be setting by the time afternoon activity begins.
Second practice begins at 5pm local time (GMT +4) and can also be tracked through the interactive GPUpdate.net Live Report