Max Verstappen headed up a one-two finish for Red Bull Racing in the opening Formula 1 practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday, beating teammate Daniel Ricciardo by four-tenths of a second.

Two weeks on from the disappointment of his defeat to Lewis Hamilton in Brazil, Verstappen sent out an early warning shot at the Yas Marina Circuit as he finished over a second clear of the recently-crowned world champion.

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Verstappen completed two fast runs on Hypersoft tyres, recording a best lap of 1m38.491s to finish 0.454 seconds clear of Ricciardo in second place, with Red Bull showing its might in the tight final sector of the track.

Valtteri Bottas finished as the best of the rest for Mercedes, nine-tenths of a second back from Verstappen in third place, while Hamilton took P4, a further one-tenth of a second behind.

Hamilton sported #1 on the front of his car through the session after receiving permission from the FIA to make the change for this weekend in Abu Dhabi. It marked the first use of the number since the final race of the 2014 season.

Esteban Ocon finished as the leading midfield driver in fifth place ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, while the Ferrari pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel followed in seventh and eighth place respectively, both having opted against pushing for fast runs on the Hypersofts.

Sporting a tribute to the outgoing Fernando Alonso on his helmet, Carlos Sainz Jr. finished ninth in FP1 for Renault, with Romain Grosjean completing the top 10 for Haas.

The session saw Robert Kubica enjoy his third practice outing of the season with Williams, continuing his preparations for his 2019 race drive. The Pole finished the session 4.5 seconds off the pace in P20.

Antonio Giovinazzi was the only other FP1 stand-in, replacing Charles Leclerc at Sauber. The Italian finished the session 16th, two-tenths of a second clear of teammate Marcus Ericsson.

Ericsson was the only driver to get caught up in an incident through FP1, spinning at the first corner. The Sauber driver nudged the barrier on the left-hand side of the circuit after spinning across the track, damaging his front wing, but was able to continue in the session after a trip to the pits.

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