Valtteri Bottas set the fastest time of day one at the Abu Dhabi F1 test as McLaren barely ran its Honda power unit.

Having been quickest in the morning session, Bottas set a time of 1:43.396 in the afternoon at Yas Marina to ensure he stayed top ahead of his fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen ended the day almost half a second adrift of Bottas, with new Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel watching on from the team's garage after being introduced to Ferrari members.

Nico Rosberg returned to his Mercedes just two days after losing out to team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the drivers' world championship, setting the third quickest time on a productive day which saw him complete 114 laps.

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While Rosberg was clocking up the miles, McLaren were struggling to get its Honda-powered MP4-29H/1X1 to run, with Stoffel Vandoorne not emerging at all in the morning session. In the afternoon, the car finally hit the track but Vandoorne returned to the pit lane with the engine already switched off, crawling back to the McLaren garage. On its second out lap the car stopped and Vandoorne ended the day with just three laps to his name.

Fourth quickest was Jolyon Palmer, who delivered a good time despite being limited to just 36 laps by a number of issues which saw him cause two red flags. Palmer caused the second stoppage of the day due to an engine problem and then spent the majority of the middle of what he admitting was at times a "frustrating" day sat in the Force India garage as he also stopped on his next out lap after lunch.

Carlos Sainz Jr was fifth in the Red Bull, his drive coming as a result of winning the Formula Renault 3.5 championship this season. Sixth was Will Stevens, who set a best time just over two seconds off the ultimate pace as he looked to continue his progress with Caterham after a solid grand prix debut over the weekend.

There were a number of red flags throughout the day, with Max Verstappen causing the first of them very early in the morning session. On just his second lap, Verstappen ran wide and hit the wall at Turn 19, with Toro Rosso later confirming a front suspension issue was to blame.

Verstappen ended up setting the slowest of all the times posted on the opening day, with his best lap of 1:47.194 being the best part of a second slower than Charles Pic and Marcus Ericsson ahead of him, with the latter making his Sauber debut ahead of a race seat next season.


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"Dear Ron,
Very enlightening seeing the new Honda PU run (or, rather, not run). Kevin and I tossed a coin about next year - I won - I'm leaving for WEC. All the best, Jenson"