Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2022

Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two as practice begins in Abu Dhabi

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix first practice

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Lewis Hamilton set the pace in the opening practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend ahead of team mate George Russell.

The two Mercedes drivers were fastest from Charles Leclerc and the two Red Bulls of Sergio Perez and Liam Lawson, who stepped into Max Verstappen’s car for the opening hour.

The final first practice session of the season was also the one that featured the most guest rookie drivers, with Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich getting his first run out in a 2022 Formula 1 car in Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin. IndyCar driver Patricio O’Ward got a chance to drive Lando Norris‘ McLaren with Pietro Fittipaldi stepping into Mick Schumacher’s Haas. Liam Lawson got a chance to drive Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, Robert Shwartzmann took over Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Ferrari, Jack Doohan was handed Fernando Alonso’s Alpine and Logan Sargeant got another run in Nicholas Latifi’s Williams. Finally, veteran Robert Kubica got his final run out of the season in Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo.

When the session began, O’Ward immediately reported a problem with his McLaren on his first lap out of the pits. He was brought in at the end of his out lap while McLaren worked on a fix in order to get him out onto the track. Eventually, after 20 minutes in the garage, O’Ward was sent out onto the circuit for his first genuine run.

Perez set the initial pace on the soft tyres with a 1’28.159, just over half a second quicker than Leclerc’s Ferrari. Lawson used the hard tyres to move into third position, six-tenths slower that Perez’s best on the softs, until he was replaced by Sargeant’s Williams on soft tyres.

Sargeant briefly brought out the yellow flags at turn one when he spun under braking, looping his Williams around 360 degrees and ending up with his nose lightly pressing the barrier. After reversing out of the barrier, Sargeant recovered to the pits with only his tyres appearing to have suffered damage. He was sent back out onto the track shortly after.

Alexander Albon went fastest for a moment with the soft tyres, until his best time was beaten by Valtteri Bottas and then by Perez, who improved to a 1’26.967. Leclerc beat Perez’s time by less than a tenth of a second to go quickest, before Hamilton used a fresh set of soft tyres to set the new fastest lap with a 1’26.633. Mercedes team mate Russell could not match his team mate’s time on his push lap, but was still quicker than Leclerc and Perez to move into second place.

The chequered flag signalled the end of the session, with Hamilton head a Mercedes one-two at the top of the times. Leclerc ended the session third fastest, less than half-a-tenth behind Russell, with the two Red Bulls of Perez and Lawson fourth and fifth. Sebastian Vettel was sixth fastest in the Aston Martin, ahead of Shwartzman in the second Ferrari. Daniel Ricciardo, Bottas and Albon rounded out the top ten positions.

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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix first practice result

144Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’26.63321
263George RussellMercedesW131’26.8530.22029
316Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’26.8880.25522
411Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’26.9670.33422
536Liam LawsonRed BullRB181’27.2010.56822
65Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’27.2680.63520
739Robert ShwartzmanFerrariF1-751’27.4290.79623
83Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’27.6190.98621
977Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’27.6551.02222
1023Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’27.8401.20726
1110Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’27.8451.21228
1231Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’27.8911.25827
1322Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’27.9911.35827
1488Robert KubicaAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’28.0641.43122
1545Logan SargeantWilliams-MercedesFW441’28.0981.46523
1620Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’28.1421.50919
1751Pietro FittipaldiHaas-FerrariVF-221’28.2041.57125
1828Pato O’WardMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’28.3501.71722
1982Jack DoohanAlpine-RenaultA5221’28.4841.85124
2034Felipe DrugovichAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’28.6722.03923

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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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11 comments on “Hamilton leads Mercedes one-two as practice begins in Abu Dhabi”

  1. Lawson is not too far from Perez, that’s a solid start from him I guess (though Verstappen possibly would be in the Russell/Leclerc bracket, which would make it another tenth extra).

  2. We are all saying good bye to Seb Vettel this weekend, but just a small shout out and maybe good bye to another F1 legend, Robert Kubica possibly just drove his last official F1 session. P14 to the first and only Pole in Formula One. It will be up to his sponsors now whether he continues in F1 as a reserve or test driver.

    1. Petition to vote seb DOTD!!

  3. How light was Lawsons car as he was faster than perez in the speed trap

  4. Interesting.. a rookie taking P5 using MV’s car. Is he really that good or has this car something different/special?

  5. Lawson not only was so close to Perez but also did his time with hards and Perez was on softs. At least this is what the article here says.. i know its not race or anything but its very good result imo.

    1. @bluechris With a difference between the hards and the softs of (more than?) one second on average, I am guessing the article is incorrect. Hamilton used a fresh set of softs for the fastest lap, so that would mean that Lawson would have been comfortably quicker than Hamilton, but that does not sound probable.

  6. Robert Shwartzmann showing us that despite being Russian, Nikita Mazepin could have still competed this year, had his drive been based on talent and not only on money!

  7. Are there any car numbers, between 1 and 99, that haven’t been used yet? (And zero, of course)

  8. Oh my lord a Verstappen Hamilton rematch at this track would be insane. I’m just thinking back to how hard my heart pounded every time the lights went on last year. I’ve never seen a season that intense since maybe 2010/2011.

    1. Indeed, was a very intense fight all year.

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