02/11/12 - 09:00
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Yas Marina Circuit • Free Practice 1

Free Practice 1

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Thanks for your company throughout the first session of practice. The second session gets under way from 12:45, so rejoin me for that. In the meantime, let me know what you made of the first sighters at the Yas Marina Circuit - you can get in touch with me via


Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets after free practice one at the Yas Marina Circuit, with his 1:43.285 seeing him lead the way from team-mate Jenson Button. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel was third fastest, while Fernando Alonso pips Mark Webber with his final lap to finish fourth in the session.


As we come to the end of the first session of practice in Abu Dhabi, no one is really trying to improve at this stage. Maldonado hits a new kerb very hard, but the car is unscathed.


Button complains again about rear locking as he brakes, and his team are very anxious to put that right as he communicates with them over the radio.


Vettel runs very, very wide at turn 17, but the gigantic run-off areas on this Yas Marina circuit enable the Championship leader to get back on track very comfortably.


McLaren tell Hamilton that they are expecting 1:47.5 laps from him now, which is four seconds off his best.


Hamilton, Button, Vettel and Webber are all simply consolidating now with their tyres over 10 laps old following their early runs.


Hamilton is reassured by his team as he continues to fly round, and he is targeting specific lap times now to preserve his tyres.


Schumacher and Alonso are in the pits, with Maldonado and Bottas also back in the garage.


Hamilton's 1:43.285 still sees him top the timesheets, with Button in second for McLaren. Vettel and Webber are right behind in terms of times in their Red Bulls.


Perez has a bit of a shocker as he looks to enter the pits, makes a mistake with his line, and has to bail back onto the circuit - he is not enjoying this session too much.


Alonso is on the track, but it appears that he is gathering data for his team as he is well off the pace - a full 1.689s with Hamilton pulling away.


Hamilton continues to lead the way in this opening session of free practice, with all drivers on the medium tyres. The softs will come out in FP2.


Ah yes, the apologetic hand of Schumacher! He signals to Glock to acknowledge cutting him and holding up the Marussia at turns eight and nine.


Hamilton consolidates his lead as he clocks a 1:43.285, and he is pushing his McLaren very hard through all three sectors.


Hamilton has just set a 1:43.449 and is now 0.699s clear at the top of the timesheets. Webber now has bright paint highlighting his front wing, too.


Button is now thriving on the short straights in the final sector, and he sets the second fastest time with a 1:44.148.


Vettel goes second fastest with a 1:44.643, and Alonso is now 1.098s off. Vettel's Red Bull has bright paint on the right side of his front wing, with changes being made.


Hamilton goes fastest now with a tremendous opener, and he hits the ground running with a 1:44.001. He takes a hefty chunk off Alonso's previous leading time.


Perez remains in his car as his mechanics work frantically on a few minor changes, but he looks set to be back out shortly.


It is now Fernando Alonso who tops the timesheets with a 1:45.099, and the margin is 0.210s with a lot of drivers still yet to make their mark.


McLaren have also taken to Twitter to talk about gear ratios: "Ratio changes take too long during the session, so they're done at the end of the day - but we usually arrive with a good base set-up."


We are passed the halfway point in this opening session of practice, and the drivers to have not yet recorded a time, are: Glock, Hulkenberg, Button, Vettel, Hamilton and van der Garde.


Schumacher is now fastest on a 1:45.309, with Bottas just 0.092s off that pace in second and Bianchi third with a time of 0.460.


BREAKING NEWS: Ferrari used one of its four curfew exceptions this morning as mechanics arrived at the track early. A report issued by F1 technical delegate Jo Bauer said that staff involved in the operation of the car were within the confines of the track during the curfew time, which starts at 4am and finishes at 10am.


There is now an awful lot of work going on with Hulkenberg's Force India after his complaints of a rather warm cockpit.


There's finally more action on the track now as Bottas and Bianchi lead the timesheets in the Williams and Force India, respectively.


Bottas has now gone fastest with a 1:46.085, and Hulkenberg's issues are with his seat getting "very, very hot" in the Force India. It's very, very hot outside, too.


Vergne gets down to a 1:46.708 in the Toro Rosso, while Hulkenberg reports a few issues back to his Force India team.


Maldonado goes second fastest, and he's just completed his fourth lap of the session so far. Bottas also makes progress in the Williams with a 1:47.308.


McLaren have reportedly made a few modifications to their side pods - that is on Hamilton's car, not on Button's. Vergne continues to lead the way.


We're 30 minutes in, and Vergne's 1:47.117 tops the timesheets with Chilton second fastest so far, having completed six laps so far.


Vergne is finally out on the track, and quick middle and final sectors see him set a 1:48.885 which is as close to a flying lap as we have seen thus far.


Massa is sitting down relaxing and sipping energy drinks right now, while Hulkenberg is laughing in the Force India garage. Hamilton continues to strut around the pits.


Qing Hua of HRT has completed four laps, with Schumacher and Rosberg having three to their name early on. It remains extremely quiet out on the track.


Ferrari's mechanics are still applying the finishing touches to a new nose on Alonso's car, while Red Bull are working frantically on Webber's car. Chilton is now back in the garage.


Chilton and Ma are the only drivers on track at the moment, and the Brit has just set a lap time of 2:27.380, but he was doing constant speed testing.


Alain Prost is chatting to Mark Webber, while Lewis Hamilton is on his pit walk. It's all very low key at the moment.


The track has suddenly gone incredibly quiet, and it is just the Marussias and Alonso still out there - very subdued right now.


Ferrari are not too busy to Tweet, of course: "First installations laps completed by both drivers and Fernando is doing one more now."


It is currently 45 degrees, by the way! That is likely to be as high as we will encounter this weekend, but the sun is blazing down.


Webber's installation lap has prompted a great deal of work being done on his car, and the Australian will be in the garage for a while it seems!


Massa is clattering the kerbs as he continues on his exploratory laps, and he is certainly not shying away from pushing his Ferrari early on.


The teams also have the soft compound Pirellis here in Abu Dhabi, but they will not be used until the second session of practice - medium tyres are on all the cars right now.


Massa will be working on a number of new updates this weekend, and he stays out for a second lap in his Ferrari.


Only Rosberg, Kobayashi and Kovalainen are still in the pits as the drivers head out in glorious sunshine in Abu Dhabi.


Kimi Raikkonen is the first man on track this weekend in his Lotus, and the engines are fired up as free practice one gets under way.


We'd love to get some of your thoughts on this circuit - it seems to divide opinion in the paddock, and among spectators. What do you make of the Yas Marina?


Fernando Alonso believes pushing Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull 'to breaking point' in the remaining grands prix of 2012 will be key to turning the Formula 1 title race around.


We took an in-depth look at this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. If you have yet to pore over it all, here is our


Welcome to live text commentary of the first free practice session at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix's Yas Marina Circuit.