Abu Dhabi GP - Friday - Practice Session 1 Report

A Sunny Afternoon

Romain Grosjean, Abu Dhabhi GP 2013

Romain Grosjean, Abu Dhabhi GP 2013 

 © Active Pictures

Lotus driver Romain Grosjean topped the times during Free Practice 1 on a sunny afternoon at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina complex. Lewis Hamilton, fastest for much of the session in his Mercedes, was second. The Red Bull duo of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber wound up third and fourth ahead of Hamilton's Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

Three teams had their reserve drivers in their cars for FP1. Rodolofo Gonzales replaced Max Chilton in the Marussia; Heikki Kovalainen took over Guido van der Garde's Caterham; and James Calado was in Adrian Sutil's Force India.

The ambient air temperature at the start of the 90-minute session was 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius), and the track temperature was113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius.)

Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) was the first out on the 21-turn 3.451-mile (5.554-km) Yas Marina circuit. Kimi Raikkonen followed him out, ending any last minute speculation that the Lotus driver was not going to compete in Abu Dhabi after falling out with the team in India.

Gutierrez was also the first to have an "off" as he slid wide a Turn 6.

After completing an installation lap or two – Raikkonen did three – everybody headed for the garages to have their cars checked over.

15 minutes into the session, nobody was on track and nobody had set a lap time.

20 minutes into the session, nobody was on track and nobody had set a lap time.

21 minutes into the session, Rodolfo headed out. He was testing different floor configurations for Marussia. Would he turn the first flying lap or came back into the pits? He came around and kept going. But he pitted at the end of the lap.

25 minutes into the session, Sergio Perez took to the track in his McLaren. He had the entire circuit to himself as he clocked a 1:48.525.

30 minutes into the session, only Perez had set a time. On his next lap he turned a 1:45.889.

32 minutes into the session, Jenson Button drove out of the McLaren garage.

36 minutes into the session, more drivers were now on track as Perez clocked a 1:45.331.

Pirelli's medium compound slick was the tire of choice at for FP1.

38 minutes into the session, Romain Grosjean claimed second place with a lap of 1:45.647 in his Lotus. The drivers at Red Bull (Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel), Mercedes (Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton) and Ferrari (Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa) remained in the pits.

Halfway through FP1 the top six were: Perez, Grosjean, Button, Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Valtteri Bottas (Williams), and Gutierrez. Only 11 drivers had set lap times.

With 43 minutes remaining in the session, Grosjean topped the times with a 1:45.329. And, finally, the top guns got going.

As the final half hour approached, things started to get serious. Vettel was quickest with a 1:44.866, followed by Hamilton with a 1:45.015 and Raikkonen with a 1:45.108. Webber, Paul di Resta (Force India) and Grosjean rounded out the top six.

With 29 minutes remaining in the session, Rosberg topped the list with a 1:44.741 but moments later Hamilton beat that with a 1:44.462.

With 24 minutes remaining in the session, Hamilton was back out front with a 1:44.433. Webber was now second, Rosberg third, Vettel fourth and Raikkonen fifth. They were the only drivers to get below the 1 minute 45 second barrier.

The session wound down without the top five improving on their times.

Then, with 12 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel grabbed second place with a 1:44.641. He improved that to a 1:44.499.

With 5 minutes remaining in the session, Grosjean took fifth with a 1:44.805.

With 4 minutes remaining in the session, all 22 drivers were on the track.

With 1 minute remaining in the session, Grosjean grabbed first with a 1:44.241.

The top 10 in FP1 were: Grosjean, Hamilton, Vettel, Webber, Rosberg, Raikkonen, di Resta, Button, Maldonado and Perez.

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