Abu Dhabi GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report
Vettel sets the ball rolling
Sebastian Vettel (1:42.760) topped the first session of free practice for the crucial Abu Dhabi F1 season finale, the young German quickly into a rhythm and looking strong.
Lewis Hamilton (1:43.369) was the nearest challenger and although FP1 is seldom a pointer to outright form, team mate Jenson Button's presence third quickest (1:43.785) suggests that McLaren may be closer to the ultimate pace than many predicted. Hamilton, it should be remembered, took the Yas Marina pole last year with nearly all of his huge 0.7s margin gained in the final sector.
Mark Webber (1:43.840) was quick early in the session but ended up fourth fastet, a couple of tenths up on Robert Kubica (1:44.604). Fernando Alonso lapped the Ferrari in 1:44.121, with the Mercedes pair of Michael Schumacher (1:44.191) and Nico Rosberg (1:44.718) split by Kamui Kobayashi (1:44.716), and Nick Heidfeld completing the top 10 (1:44.737) with the second Sauber.
Abu Dhabi recently went 220 days without rainfall but had some this morning as the Porsche supporting cast was on track. The circuit dried quite quickly, in time for the start of the F1 session.
Rubens Barrichello (1:45.474) pulled off just before the end of the session with a mechanical problem yet to be identified.