F1: Silver Storm; Hamilton Leads Mercedes One-Two in Abu Dhabi Friday Practice

RaceChaser Staff Featured, Formula One, International, Sprints & Midgets 0 Comments

YAS ISLAND, Abu Dhabi — official release — Mercedes photo —

Mercedes ruled the roost in Abu Dhabi on Friday, with Lewis Hamilton outrunning teammate Nico Rosberg in both practice sessions ahead of Sunday’s double points finale.

The Briton topped the first session with a lap of 1:43.476 seconds ahead of Rosberg’s 1:43.609 second circuit, while their nearest challenger in that session was Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso — a whopping 1.7 seconds off the pace in third.

Hamilton followed up that drive by setting quick lap for the day with a fastest time of 1:42.113 seconds — which was just 0.083 seconds faster than Rosberg’s 1:42.196 second clip under the twilight skies.

“It’s been a good Friday,” Hamilton said after his run concluded. “We made good steps forward with the setup but, as always, there is still more time to be found. We’ll keep chipping away at it and look to improve in every area possible but the car feels great — the best I’ve ever driven here without a doubt.”

While Rosberg has said he is looking for Williams to push through and separate himself and his title rival Hamilton on Sunday, after the evening session it could be a McLaren that gets in on the act.

Kevin Magnussen lapped his MP4-29 in 1:42.895 seconds for third in the twilight session. That closed the staggering gap between the Silver Arrows and the chasing pack from FP1 and also suggested that revisions wrought by former Red Bull aerodynamicist Peter Prodromou might already be beginning to have a beneficial effect for the Woking-based team.

The Red Bulls were in the top six in both sessions, with Sebastian Vettel heading teammate Daniel Ricciardo in FP2 as they sandwiched Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. In the last race of both his reign as world champion and his career with the team, Vettel lapped in 1:42.959 seconds for fourth overall — compared to Bottas’s 1:43.070 and Ricciardo’s 1:43.183.

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