Hamilton fires first salvo in Abu Dhabi

Hamilton fires first salvo in Abu Dhabi
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during the first practice session on Friday.

Abu Dhabi - Brit sounds early warning to teammate Rosberg by clocking fastest times in practice

By James Jose

Published: Fri 25 Nov 2016, 9:19 PM

Last updated: Fri 25 Nov 2016, 11:24 PM

Lewis Hamilton was fined ?1000 for speeding in the pit lane during practice but that would have mattered little for the Briton as he sounded out the first warning shot to his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg that he won't go down without a fight.
The triple F1 world champion was the quickest man at the Yas Marina Circuit on Friday, to top the timesheets in both the free practice sessions in the lead up to the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The 31-year-old, 12 points behind Rosberg in the title tilt, brushed aside an incorrect adjustment on the front wing, to whip up a best time of 1:40.861 seconds, 0.079 seconds quicker than Rosberg, in the evening's second practice session.
Hamilton, who also had a spin in the first free practice, put to shade his fastest time in free practice last year.
The Briton had, earlier in the afternoon, logged the best time of 1:42.869 seconds, 0.374 seconds faster than Rosberg.
Rosberg had a timing of 1:40.940 seconds in the second session after coming up with a 1:43.243 seconds in the first.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who seemed to have reported a gearbox problem on the team radio, late in the session and had to stop his car at Turn 18, was the third quickest with a time of 1:41.130 seconds, 0.269 seconds behind Rosberg. The four-time world champion earlier had a best time of 1:44.005 seconds. That timing gave him fifth position in the first session.
Rising star Max Verstappen, who followed up his brilliant drive at Interlagos last time out with the third best time in the first session, dropped a spot to fourth with a time of 1:41.389 seconds, 0.528 seconds slower than Vettel.
The 19-year-old, who has had one win and seven podium finishes since joining the Milton Keynes-based team at the Spanish Grand Prix, had earlier logged 1:43.297 seconds in the first segment.
Verstappen's teammate Daniel Ricciardo was fifth with a time of 1:41.390 seconds. The Australian had been fourth quickest during the first session by coming up with a 1:43.362 seconds.
Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen was sixth, followed by compatriot Valtteri Bottas, driving for the Williams.
Force India, who are tussling for fourth in the Constructors' Championship with Williams, saw their Mexican-German pairing of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg come in eighth and ninth quickest respectively.
Brazilian Felipe Massa, who will contest his 250th and last Grand Prix on Sunday, rounded off the top 10.
McLaren-Honda duo Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, who too, like Massa, will be racing for the last time, were 11th and 12th respectively.
Button, who was cheered on by his mum Simone Lyons as well as his girlfriend American model Brittny Ward, had a troubled evening session with his team forced to make a power unit change on the MP4-31.
Meanwhile, Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat, who was the first man out on the track in the first practice session, endured twin punctures to his rear left tyre in both the sessions.

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