F1 Raceweek: Advantage Hamilton (and Rosberg) in Abu Dhabi


Lewis Hamilton drew first blood at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but his title rival Nico Rosberg looked in championship form in Friday's first practice.

Double-defending champion Hamilton was much quicker than his Mercedes colleague, but Rosberg only needs to be faster than everyone else and there was little to suggest that the Silver Arrows will be anything but their dominant selves at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Both Mercedes faced the wrong way at times in the session, though Rosberg's spin was perhaps more costly than Hamilton's earlier one.

The Briton lost his back end at turn six in the opening stages, but still ended the first runs with close to a two-tenths of a second advantage, while Rosberg lost it at the final corner when both had bolted on soft tyres, meaning he could not greatly improve on his top time and Hamilton ended FP1 with a three-tenths lead.

Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were within a tenth of Rosberg's time - though the Silver Arrows are notorious for keeping plenty of power held back on Fridays.

Rosberg has been warned that Red Bull will do him no favours come raceday, but managing the gap to the ambitious pair should not be difficult on this evidence.