Hamilton spins but leads Rosberg in first practice

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix first practice

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Lewis Hamilton shaded title rival Nico Rosberg after the first 90 minutes of running at Yas Marina.

Hamilton set the early pace using the ultra-soft tyres before improving his time on the hardest available compound. With track temperatures hovering around the mid-thirties Hamilton ended the first practice session with a 1’42.869 on the soft tyres.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice in pictures
Team mate Rosberg lapped within two-tenths of Hamilton when the pair were on ultra-softs but did not improve his time on the soft tyres. However he did set his personal best time in the middle sector on the harder rubber.

The session wasn’t completely trouble-free for Hamilton. The Mercedes driver had a brief spin at the exit of turn six, a move Felipe Massa had performed a few moments earlier. Manor test driver Jordan king also had a spin at the same corner.

The Red Bull drivers spent the entire session on the soft tyres and both lapped within half a second of Hamilton’s time. The Ferrari pair used the same rubber but Sebastian Vettel was over a second behind and Kimi Raikkonen in excess of a second and a half a drift. The two red cars were separated by Sergio Perez’s Force India, on ultra-softs.

Carlos Sainz Jnr was eighth-quickest for Toro Rosso. However team mate Daniil Kvyat lost a significant amount of running as the team suffered the latest in a series of punctures.

Massa and Marcus Ericsson completed the top ten with Force India tester Alfonso Celis next, well off Perez’s time.

Romain Grosjean ended the session 12th after being plagued by more braking problems and having a spin at turn one.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’42.869 27
2 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’43.243 0.374 30
3 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’43.297 0.428 25
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’43.362 0.493 26
5 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’44.005 1.136 26
6 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’44.155 1.286 22
7 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’44.556 1.687 26
8 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’44.685 1.816 20
9 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’45.039 2.170 26
10 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’45.168 2.299 19
11 34 Alfonso Celis Force India-Mercedes 1’45.476 2.607 25
12 8 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’45.600 2.731 13
13 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber-Ferrari 1’45.778 2.909 17
14 21 Esteban Gutierrez Haas-Ferrari 1’45.925 3.056 19
15 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’45.940 3.071 30
16 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1’46.219 3.350 32
17 20 Kevin Magnussen Renault 1’46.372 3.503 20
18 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’46.379 3.510 20
19 94 Pascal Wehrlein Manor-Mercedes 1’46.458 3.589 28
20 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Honda 1’47.127 4.258 10
21 42 Jordan King Manor-Mercedes 1’47.558 4.689 26
22 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2’01.989 19.120 4

First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’42.869

+0.374 Nico Rosberg – 1’43.243

+0.428 Max Verstappen – 1’43.297

+0.493 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’43.362

+1.136 Sebastian Vettel – 1’44.005

+1.286 Sergio Perez – 1’44.155

+1.687 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’44.556

+1.816 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’44.685

+2.170 Felipe Massa – 1’45.039

+2.299 Marcus Ericsson – 1’45.168

+2.607 Alfonso Celis – 1’45.476

+2.731 Romain Grosjean – 1’45.600

+2.909 Felipe Nasr – 1’45.778

+3.056 Esteban Gutierrez – 1’45.925

+3.071 Valtteri Bottas – 1’45.940

+3.350 Jolyon Palmer – 1’46.219

+3.503 Kevin Magnussen – 1’46.372

+3.510 Fernando Alonso – 1’46.379

+3.589 Pascal Wehrlein – 1’46.458

+4.258 Jenson Button – 1’47.127

+4.689 Jordan King – 1’47.558

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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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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16 comments on “Hamilton spins but leads Rosberg in first practice”

  1. That’s probably the top 4 come Sunday evening.

    1. Agreed.

  2. I’m surprised with Williams – I thought the two straights would help them come higher up, and in better contention with Force India. Their speed trap figures were also poor, they were only 10th – even beaten by a Renault. Hope FP2 has them running better, at a more representative time/temperature.

    1. It’s not that surprising since, force India have beaten Williams in majority of the tracks that was said to favour Williams. moreover fi has done well in Abu Dhabi in recent times.

    2. @phylyp
      It is normal for Williams to be nowhere on Friday. Just a question of how they approach things, apparently. They’re not going to reveal their true potential before FP3.

      1. Cheers, nase.

  3. Mclaren looking like they’re back to 2015 form after a year of tremendous “progress”.

    I cannot find words to express how big a failure I consider the entire Mclaren Honda project.

    1. @todfod Come mate.. Keep the faith. Compared to where there last season it’s tremendous progress for the season as a whole.

      In wouldn’t go as far as saying the project is a failure… Not yet. I think Honda will turn up with the goods next year… It’s up to Mclaren to maximize their chassis. With a half decent car, Fernando will be in the hunt for the upper echelon of points, possibly podiums.

      I still stand by my prediction that Mclaren will finish the 2017 season ahead of Ferrari.

      1. @jaymenon10 @lockup

        Well, they were 2.4 seconds behind the pole lap here last year, so let’s see where they stand this year. I think their progress has to be measured relative to their competitors. Sure, they’ve improved reliability this year, but that’s expected when you’ve made a PU that wasn’t even capable of finishing a race weekend.

        It’s great to see you both with optimism for next year’s PU and aero, but I have my doubts. Even if they do introduce a plus size PU, it will be a new design that is around 3 years behind it’s competitors in terms of development and optimisation.

        I guess the glimmer of hope is whether they can outperform every other team on aero next year… It’s a long shot… but I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Another podium-less season for them next year could spell disaster.

    2. Yup @todfod, just have to hope that the totally new ‘plus-size’ PU next year is up to par finally. And there is the fact that McLaren did come up with the 2017 aero apparently, so hopefully Prodromou has an idea what to do with it.

      1. It’s no just Prod. Goss and Oatley are heavily involved as well.

  4. I don’t like to criticise because I think you do a great job, and I know it’s a long lap plus this session is certainly not a substantive pointer for exact pace but I think Max shaded Dan , Lewis blitzed Nico ,wishful thinking on my part but it looked great when I ignored all the obvious parameters.

  5. Started like this last year I recall, with Ham up in FP1. Hopefully Ros can bring it back like he did in ’15 to make the fight more interesting. It will be a bit of yawn fest otherwise.

    1. The way this race can be interesting is if Rosberg has an awful start on Sunday and drops down to lets say 15th. Then watch him work his way through.

      1. A proper fight between the two would be good as well. Wishful thinking though I suppose. Although they are very close in FP2 it seems.

  6. Really excited about this race! Red Bulls will play a big part, I look forward to see it. And to see if Rosberg can actually beat Hamilton on track. If he can out drive him, it will definitely be the best way to take the title. I’ve been a little disappointed during the last few races and hope we get a fight for the race win here as well as the actual championship

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