Grosjean quickest in opening practice

Grosjean quickest in opening practice

Formula 1

Grosjean quickest in opening practice

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Romain Grosjean thrust Lotus to the top of the times with a late charge in opening practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Amid all the focus on his teammate Kimi Raikkonen’s relationship with the squad, Grosjean bucked the usual Friday morning trend by waiting until the closing moments to set his best time.

Grosjean’s 1m44.241s lap put him 0.192 seconds clear of Lewis Hamilton, who would normally have expected to stay up front after winning the traditional mid-session dice for top spot.

No one set a flying lap for the first half hour, and it was near the hour mark before the Mercedes and Red Bulls really raised the bar. Hamilton emerged on top for Mercedes at that stage, 0.066sec ahead of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull. The world champion had a slight scare at the end of the session, when he misjudged his entry to the Red Bull pit stall and required some evasive action from his crew as he locked up.

Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber beat Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes to fifth, with the in-the-spotlight Raikkonen seventh.

Paul di Resta put Force India in an encouraging seventh place. His teammate Adrian Sutil moved aside for James Calado this time. The GP2 title contender was 14th. Other “Friday drivers” in action were Caterham’s Heikki Kovalainen and Marussia’s Rodolfo Gonzalez, who were 20th and 22nd.

The McLarens ended up eighth and 10th, split by the Williams of Pastor Maldonado.

Ferrari had a low-key start, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa 12th and 17th.

  Pos Driver                Team                      Time       Gap     Laps 1. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault             1m44.241s           20 2. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes                  1m44.433s  +0.192s  22 3. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault          1m44.499s  +0.258s  18 4. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault          1m44.712s  +0.471s  18 5. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                  1m44.741s  +0.500s  23 6. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault             1m44.929s  +0.688s  21 7. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes      1m45.040s  +0.799s  19 8. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes          1m45.099s  +0.858s  19 9. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault          1m45.150s  +0.909s  2310. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes          1m45.331s  +1.090s  1911. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari            1m45.378s  +1.137s  2112. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                   1m45.440s  +1.199s  1713. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault          1m45.823s  +1.582s  2114. James Calado          Force India-Mercedes      1m45.924s  +1.683s  1915. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari            1m46.068s  +1.827s  1716. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari        1m46.114s  +1.873s  2117. Felipe Massa          Ferrari                   1m46.124s  +1.883s  1718. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari        1m46.126s  +1.885s  2019. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault          1m47.600s  +3.359s  2120. Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault          1m47.670s  +3.429s  2121. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth         1m47.723s  +3.482s  2222. Rodolfo Gonzalez      Marussia-Cosworth         1m49.565s  +5.324s  21

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