Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel takes top spot ahead of Lewis Hamilton
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News November 24, 2017 Updated: 9:55 PM
ABU DHABI -- Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel finished on top ahead of newly crowned champion Lewis Hamilton in the first free practice session for Sunday's Abu Dhabi grand Prix.
Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull are all hoping to mix it up this weekend for the final race of the season. Hamilton finished second with a time of 1:39.126 and was 0.120s off Vettel. Max Verstappen finished third for Red Bull Racing
"It’s been a good Friday, but I’m happy that it’s the last one of the season. We got lots of laps in today and made good progress with the balance of the car. We have a bit of work to do, but I feel like we’re quite competitive here," said Hamilton.
Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth and 0.223s ahead of Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas in fifth. Force India driver Sergio Perez took sixth ahead of the McLaren pair of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne in seventh and eighth. Felipe Massa, who prepares for his final race in F1 this weekend, finished ninth with Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo took tenth.
Outside the top ten places was GP3 champion George Russell, who got some more seat time behind the wheel of Esteban Ocon's car to finish 11th for Force India. Hass driver Romain Grosjean finished 12th having a spin at Turn 19 and making light contact with the barrier. His car suffered minor damage and was able to rejoin the session.
F1 rookie Lance Stroll took 13th for Williams ahead of Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly in 14th. Renault's Carlos Sainz took 15th while Sauber's Pascal Wehrlein split the Renault's finishing 16th with Nico Hulkenberg in 17th.
"I think it will be touch and go tomorrow and hopefully we can squeeze a bit more out of the car to get where we want to be and give us the best chance for Sunday’s race," said Hulkenberg.
Italian talent Antonio Giovinazzi finished 18th for Haas as while sitting in for Kevin Magnussen.
"It’s been really great for me to be in the car and try to help the team. It was a good last session for me. I hope the team is really happy with the job that I did. That was always my first target when I started these FP1 sessions. Now the season is done. We’ll see what we can do next year," said Giovinazzi.
Marcus Ericsson finished 19th in the second Sauber. Pierre Gasly's teammate Brendon Hartley will unfortunately have another tough weekend as he looks to receive a 10-spot grid penalty after having his MGU-H replaced before the start of the session.