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Lewis Hamilton has led Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in the opening free practice session in Abu Dhabi to take an early advantage ahead of their F1 world title decider.

With Rosberg holding a 12 point advantage Hamilton's best chance to overhaul the German is by winning in Abu Dhabi and hoping his team-mate misses the podium. The British driver has started on the front foot by leading in both ultra-soft and soft tyre runs.

The reigning F1 world champion ended the session with a best time of 1m 42.869s and almost four-tenths faster than his title rival.

Hamilton could also be given hope Red Bull and Ferrari can join the fight at the front with Max Verstappen in third just 0.054s off Rosberg.

Daniel Ricciardo ensured Red Bull stepped ahead of Ferrari placing his RB12 in fourth fractionally behind his team-mate but almost 0.7s up on Sebastian Vettel.

Force India's Sergio Perez split the two Ferraris by taking sixth place late on from Kimi Raikkonen, while Carlos Sainz once again impressed for Toro Rosso in eighth on the timesheet.

Starting his final F1 race weekend before his retirement, Felipe Massa placed his Williams ninth as Sauber's Marcus Ericsson jumped into the top ten with a late flyer.

Force India's reserve driver Alfonso Celis Jr ended his FP1 outing 11th in a low-key session while Haas driver Romain Grosjean continued to be plagued by braking issues as he suffered a couple of spins.

Felipe Nasr grabbed 13th in his Sauber ahead of Esetban Gutierrez, with the pair vying for the single Suaber race seat for 2017, as Valtteri Bottas could only manage 15th for Williams.

The two Renaults of Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen followed ahead of Fernando Alonso and Pascal Wehrlein.

Jenson Button's 'final' FP1 session was cut short prematurely by a Energy Recovery System issue but stayed ahead of Manor's reserve driver Jordan King.

It was a miserable opening session for Daniil Kvyat whose FP1 was ended inside the first 15 mintues by a left-rear tyre blowout to be stuck in last place.


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