Lewis Hamilton claims early edge by topping Abu Dhabi Grand Prix first practice

Lewis Hamilton topped the times ahead of Nico Rosberg in Friday's opening practice ahead of this weekend's title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton led Mercedes-GP teammate Nico Rsoberg by 0.374 seconds in the first practice session on Friday. Luca Bruno / AP Photo
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Lewis Hamilton took the early advantage by topping the times ahead of his Mercedes-GP teammate and world championship leader Nico Rosberg in Friday’s opening practice ahead of this weekend’s title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The defending three-time world champion clocked a best lap time of one minute and 42.869 seconds to outpace Rosberg by 0.374 seconds at the Yas Marina circuit in the UAE capital.

Dutch teenager Max Verstappen was third ahead of his Red Bull Racing teammate Daniel Ricciardo, the pair just four-tenths of a second off the pace and only one-tenth behind Rosberg.

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German Rosberg, 31, needs only to claim a podium finish in Sunday’s race to clinch his first drivers world title. He leads Hamilton by 12 points ahead of the 21st and final race of the season.

Briton Hamilton can take the title if he wins the race and Rosberg fails to take a podium finish.

German Sebastian Vettel was fifth fastest for Ferrari, 1.1 seconds adrift of the leading pace, ahead of Mexican Sergio Perez of Force India, Finn Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari, Mexican Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso, retirement-bound Brazilian Felipe Massa of Williams and Swede Marcus Ericsson of Sauber.

The session featured few incidents, but Russian Daniel Kvyatt suffered a puncture on his Toro Rosso car and Frenchman Romain Grosjean struggled with his Haas and spun off the circuit before recovering.

The second session due to be run later Friday will be in cooler conditions as the sun goes down over the spectacular venue.

For more from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, including exclusive interviews, information guides, videos and much more, visit our dedicated microsite.

FIRST PRACTICE TIMES

1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes-GP: 1.42.869

2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes-GP: 1.43.243

3. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull Racing: 1.43.297

4. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull Racing: 1.43.362

5. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari: 1.44.005

6. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India: 1.44.155

7. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari: 1.44.556

8. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso: 1.44.685

9. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams: 1.45.039

10. Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber: 1.45.168

11. Alfonso Celis (Mexico) Force India: 1.45.476

12. Romain Grosjean (France) Haas: 1.45.600

13. Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber: 1.45.778

14. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Haas: 1.45.925

15. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams: 1.45.940

16. Jolyon Palmer (Britain) Renault: 1.46.219

17. Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) Renault: 1.46.372

18. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren: 1.46.379

19. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) Manor: 1.46.458

20. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren: 1.47.127

21. Jordan King (Britain) Manor: 1.47.558

22. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso: 2.01.989

* Agence France-Presse

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