Lewis Hamilton began the title deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend on the front foot by topping the times in Friday practice at the Yas Marina Circuit.
The Brit edged his championship rival and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in both 90 minute sessions with his fastest time arriving in the final outing of the day.
Hamilton appeared to have an edge over Rosberg throughout the day although only 0.083s separated the pair at the end of Practice 2.
The championship leader set the session best 1:42.113s effort on super soft tyres.
While the Mercedes pair proved to be in a class of their own, McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen was the best of the rest in third, a full seven tenths adrift of the pace.
Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel was fourth fastest ahead of the leading Williams of Valtteri Bottas.
Daniel Ricciardo ended the day a second shy of Hamilton in sixth in front of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Fernando Alonso’s final grand prix weekend with Ferrari has started slowly with the Spaniard suffering a suspected engine problem which saw him fail to post a time in Practice 2.
Jenson Button also suffered problems with his McLaren with a hydraulic issue hampering his morning run, before ending the day in eighth.
Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat and Felipe Massa rounded out the top 10.
Caterham’s return to the track saw them occupy familiar positions at the bottom of the timesheets with Kamui Kobayashi 18th and new recruit and F1 debutant Will Stevens in 19th spot. The latter did manage to improve in the second session.
FIA Formula 3 champion Esteban Ocon also made his grand prix weekend debut for Lotus with the Frenchman replacing Romain Grosjean in morning practice. Adderly Fong also made an appearance in Adrian Sutil’s Sauber in Practice 1.
Grosjean, who announced this week he will remain at Lotus next year, will incur a 20 place grid penalty for an engine, turbo charger and MGU-H unit change. This will be his sixth power unit of the season.
Officials have also confirmed the qualifying procedure will change following the reappearance of the Caterham squad. Five cars will now be eliminated from Q1 and Q2 instead of four, a rule which had been in place for the last two races.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Free Practice 2 Results
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1:42.959s||+0.846s||33|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-Renault||1:43.183s||+1.070s||32|
|9||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:43.546s||+1.433s||38|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:43.746s||+1.633s||37|
|13||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:44.068s||+1.955s||32|
|14||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:44.157s||+2.044s||39|
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Free Practice 1 Results
|4||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Renault||1:45.334s||+1.858s||30|
|5||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-Renault||1:45.361s||+1.885s||23|
|6||Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:45.718s||+2.242s||17|
|7||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso-Renault||1:45.835s||+2.359s||32|
|9||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:45.983s||+2.507s||23|
|10||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:46.030s||+2.554s||24|