Vettel tops Abi Dhabi opening session

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuitae

As in most recent Grand Prix, the field seems once again closely matched at the front, with Sebastian Vettel narrowly topping the first free practice session at Abu Dhabi. Lewis Hamilton was second fastest at little more than a tenth, while Verstappen was similarly close in third.

The three-team top 3 was followed up by Raikkonen and Bottas, making Daniel Ricciardo the only man out of order, as he was down in 10th in the second Red Bull RB13.

Force India's Sergio Perez was 6th fastest, ahead of McLaren's Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne. The Spanish McLaren driver notably didn't appear in the first half of the 90-minute session, but he was quickly on the pace and eventually completed more laps than his team mate.

Felipe Massa ended up 9th, a position he has become accustomed to recently.

Early on in the session, Raikkonen appeared on track with a plethora of testing devices on his car. The most obvious being a pitot array just behind one of the rear wheels of his Ferrari car.

During the session, several were a little bit too gready through the corners, with Ricciardo repeatedly going very wide and out of the track limits. Giovinazzi and Russell were caught out by tailwinds under braking, but only Romain Grosjean hit the barriers, and thereby caused damage to the rear end of his Haas.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarTimeGapLaps
15Sebastian VettelFerrari1:39.006-23
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:39.126+0.120s25
333Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:39.154+0.148s15
47Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:39.518+0.512s22
577Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:39.741+0.735s30
611Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:40.293+1.287s24
714Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda1:40.522+1.516s20
82Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Honda1:40.569+1.563s15
919Felipe MassaWilliams Mercedes1:40.723+1.717s27
103Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:40.773+1.767s29
1135George RussellForce India Mercedes1:41.131+2.125s26
128Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:41.306+2.300s24
1318Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes1:41.581+2.575s27
1410Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1:41.646+2.640s29
1555Carlos SainzRenault1:41.748+2.742s23
1694Pascal WehrleinSauber Ferrari1:41.752+2.746s26
1727Nico HulkenbergRenault1:41.864+2.858s26
1850Antonio GiovinazziHaas Ferrari1:42.065+3.059s21
199Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:42.344+3.338s28
2028Brendon HartleyToro Rosso1:42.585+3.579s35