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F1 - Yas Marina, FP1: Vettel quickest in opening practice in Abu Dhabi

Hamilton 2nd, Verstappen 3rd

24 November 2017 - 11h35, by Olivier Ferret 

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set the quickest time of opening practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, beating Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton by just over a tenth of a second. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen was third, two hundredths of a second behind four-time champion Hamilton.

Brazilian Grand Prix winner Vettel set a best time of a 1:39.006 on Pirelli’s ultrasoft tyre compound to finish 0.120 seconds ahead of Hamilton on the same compound.

Hamilton headed the order in the early part of the session logging a time of 1:41.135s on the soft tyres, while team-mate Valtteri Bottas focused on supersoft running.

However, when Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen moved to the ultrasoft tyre he immediately vaulted to the top of the timesheet and then, with another hot lap, improved to 1:39.741.

The Finn’s time at he top was limited, however, as halfway through the 90-minute session the Mercedes drivers moved to the ultrasoft and, as a consequence, moved to the top of the order.

Verstappen then showed his hand, his ultrasoft run netting him a time of 1:39.154 that left him just 0.028s behind Hamilton. Vettel then bolted on the purple-banded tyres to edge both.

The dropped Verstappen to third, almost four tenths of a second clear of Räikkönen, while Bottas dropped to fifth. There was then a half a second gap back to sixth-placed Force India’s Sergio Perez. He was followed by Fernando Alonso. The McLaren driver failed to set a time in the first half of the session but when he did take to the track he immediately jumped into the top 10 using ultrasoft tyres.

Alonso ended the session 0.037s ahead of McLaren teammate Stoffel Vandoorne , with Felipe Massa, for whom this will be the final grand prix of his career, ahead of the second Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.

01 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:39.006 23
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:39.126 25
03 Max Verstappen Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:39.154 15
04 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:39.518 22
05 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG 1:39.741 30
06 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:40.293 24
07 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 1:40.522 20
08 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 1:40.569 15
09 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 1:40.723 27
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:40.773 29
11 George Russell Force India Mercedes 1:41.131 26
12 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:41.306 24
13 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:41.581 27
14 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Renault 1:41.646 29
15 Carlos Sainz Renault F1 1:41.748 23
16 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 1:41.752 26
17 Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 1:41.864 26
18 Antonio Giovinazzi Haas Ferrari 1:42.065 21
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:42.344 28
20 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Renault 1:42.585 35

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