Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel was fastest in opening practice this morning for this weekend's F1 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Vettel set the quickest time, a 1 minute 42.760 seconds, near the end of the one and a half hour session and that left him over half a second up on Lewis Hamilton, who was 'best of the rest' for McLaren.
The session got off to a slow start and with a rain shower about 30 minutes before FP1 began – remarkable considering how little precipitation the country gets - a number of runners began by using the intermediate tyres. It soon started to dry out though, although it wasn't until just over the half way mark that Vitaly Petrov posted the first time. The Russian held top spot for a while too, until the Red Bulls restored normality heading into the final third of practice.
Meanwhile, after the top two, Jenson Button was third - 0.416 seconds off his McLaren team-mate, even though he complained about the front locking. Mark Webber was fourth, only fractionally slower and the last man in the 1m 43s, although he won't have been too pleased to be just over a second off his team-mate.
Robert Kubica put Renault up in the mix again and was fifth, with current championship leader, Fernando Alonso having to settle for sixth on a 1m 44.121s. Away from the top six, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg came in seventh and ninth respectively for Mercedes, sandwiching the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi in P8. Nick Heidfeld was also on the pace for Sauber and rounded out the top ten.
Felipe Massa was eleventh in his Ferrari F10, another poor session for the Brazilian, with early pace setter Petrov and Rubens Barrichello twelfth and thirteenth. Barrichello stopped out on track in his Williams at the end of the session, assumingly due to some sort of mechanical issue.
Of the rest Force India's Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi came in 14th and 15th, while Nico Hulkenberg split the Toro Rosso's and was 17th, with Jaime Alguersuari in front and Sebastien Buemi behind.
Towards the tail-end of the pack, Timo Glock set the pace for the 'new boys', his best a 1m 48.450s. That left him almost 1.5 seconds off P18 and 0.022 seconds up on Jarno Trulli's Lotus. Lucas di Grassi came in 21st followed by the Hispania's of Bruno Senna and Christian Klien. Lotus test and reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy brought up the rear on what was his fifth run this year in Friday practice. He was 1.4 seconds off Klien and 8.9 seconds off the ultimate pace.
To see the full times from F1 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Free Practice 1 at the Yas Marina Circuit: CLICK HERE.