Jenson Button, McLaren, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Button quickest in first session at Abu Dhabi

2011 Abu Dhabi GP first practice

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Jenson Button was fastest in the first practice session at Abu Dhabi.

The two McLaren drivers had been quickest towards the end of the session before they were split by Mark Webber.

Hamilton led the early running as he went out on Pirelli’s new development rubber.

The two Red Bulls took over at the top of the times shortly afterwards, Mark Webber briefly leading Sebastian Vettel.

It was a scrappy session for the Ferrari drivers, both of which had spins. Felipe Massa lost the car turning into turn one, spinning off at speed.

Fernando Alonso spun at turn five and had several other off-track moments in his Ferrari.

The pair improved to fifth and sixth late on the session, also using Pirelli’s new development tyre.

Romain Grosjean was faster than his team mate but Vitaly Petrov had to abandon his car at the end of the session as sparks began coming from the car’s exhaust.

Robert Wickens, making his first appearance in an F1 practice session, was the slowest of the drivers to set at time.

Rubens Barrichello was unable to set a time, pulling over early in the session with engine failure.

Pos.CarDriverCarBest lapGap
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’40.26321
22Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’40.3890.12626
33Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’40.4030.14027
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’40.7550.49227
55Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’40.8010.53825
66Felipe MassaFerrari1’41.2600.99717
714Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’41.3401.07723
88Nico RosbergMercedes1’42.1301.86726
915Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’42.1511.88828
1019Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’42.3772.11426
1118Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’42.6332.37026
129Romain GrosjeanRenault1’42.6852.42229
1310Vitaly PetrovRenault1’43.1182.85513
1412Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’43.2552.99229
157Michael SchumacherMercedes1’43.3893.12624
1617Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’44.4124.14928
1716Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’44.4844.22118
1820Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’44.5654.30227
1921Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault1’44.8984.63525
2023Vitantonio LiuzziHRT-Cosworth1’46.3856.12227
2122Daniel RicciardoHRT-Cosworth1’46.5326.26928
2224Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’48.0247.76120
2325Robert WickensVirgin-Cosworth1’48.5518.28823
2411Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-CosworthNo time3

2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “Button quickest in first session at Abu Dhabi”

  1. Good to see the Frogs doing OK. Hope it bodes well for next year. Will Bianchi have a go too this year ?

    1. I don’t think there are any plans for Bianchi to appear during a Friday session. However, he is driving at the young driver tests.

      I’m not so sure Grosjean’s time is really representative, because Vitaly Petrov was forced to abandon his car late in the session with a technical fault, and most drivers do their fastest laps right at the end since everything else is set-up work.

      1. @Prisoner-Monkeys Grosjean’s best lap was done with over 15 minutes to go, and Petrov did have a good chance at the end to beat it and couldn’t

        Well done to Romain!

        1. I agree with you @ed24f1, that Grosjean did respectably. He was up to 5th on speed with the other cars running at that same time, before droppin to 9th at the end of that stint when others came on track

          Massa and Alonso were the only ones to go out right at the end of the session on the development softs, so it is a bit worrying for Ferrari to see they are still quite far from the 2 best cars despite track evolution.

          1. maybe Ferrari are not running blown diffusers at it’s maximum as they maybe testing for 2012. Maybe they are trying to setup cars as close to 2012 spec as possible to collect more data & come back stronger this year…

        2. Well done Vergne as well! Both did well not only compared to their team mates but also compared to the rest of the field.
          Wickens is comprehensively finding it difficult, but he’s only 5 tenths off Glock, and being last of those who set a time is not so bad considering the Virigins are behind the HRTs for now.

  2. Force india looks a bit quicker here,,,

    1. But unless they can get, err, 4th and 5th respectively for both the last two race, then it’s too little to late. (To catch Renault).

    2. @nikhil this track will suit force india because of its slow corners bit similar to singapore gp. fI known to perform well at high downforce circuits.

  3. I wonder if we will see tha return of teammates sharing / alternating seats again nex year. I mean Renault do have à lot to choose from and somehow I think it fits with them.

    1. @verstappen I doubt it very much – it was such a conspicuous failure when Red Bull tried it with Klien and Liuzzi in 2005, they basically gave up on it.

      1. I know, I’m not a fan of it either, but for some reason I find it fitting with everything happening now at Renault / NewLotus.

        And it’s basically an extension of the scheme now tried at HRT and Lotus: you give drivers some opportunities to drive on fridays and then some races.

        Experience is just so hard to get, these days.

        A rotating scheme might give the same opportunity for a team to evaluate two drivers and give them experience, while at the same time making sure that both drivers feel comfortable, instead of scared, not knowing what will happen at the next weekend.

        And I think with Klien / Liuzzi, they just didn’t communicate about it very well: ‘Both drivers will drive some races and then we’ll see…’, thus negating the positive effect of knowing what to expect.

  4. is that Rubens 8th engine that failed?

    1. I doubt it as he was using it on Friday. It’ll most likely be an old engine.

    2. On the commentary they mentioned that Ruben still has one more engine that hasnt been used, the engine that died was at the end of its cycle

  5. Only 2 comments. Does nobody care now that the championship is over. I look foward to reading the comments. Damn

    1. @Saiesh Don’t worry, things will bet busier. There’s never an awful lot you can say about practice.

  6. looks like the ferrari’s had a modification that didn’t work , alonso and massa both having the same problems …back to the old in practise 2 ?

  7. As a frenchman, i am happy to see two fellow countrymen on track at the same time. It feels quite a while ago when that happened for the last time.
    I hope Grosjean gets a seat at LRGP. I don’t know JEV, nor Charles Pic, who is meant to drive for Marussia next year.
    As an Anglophile, I’d love to see the MacLarens get a 1-2 though !

    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s quali !

    1. We have a lot in common mon pote.

  8. Does anyone know what sort of programmes the new kids on the block are likely to be running? I guess the team still want useful information for the remainder of the weekend but surely they need to be able to differentiate good and bad performance?

  9. I was happy to see Robert Wickens out there today. As a Canadian, I was super excited to see one of my countrymen out driving an F1 car. Considering it was because of another Canadian driver, Jacques Villeneuve, that I started watching F1, I’ve been following Wickens’ progress too, and mark my words, we’ll see him again in F1 soon enough.

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