Romain Grosjean set the benchmark in this morning’s Free Practice One session ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. At the circuit where lotus took their first win with Kimi Raikkonen last year, Grosjean put in a late lap which put him firmly two tenths clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. The newly crowned four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel was third ahead of team-mate Mark Webber. Nico Rosberg was fifth for Mercedes, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen who only turned up on Friday morning, boycotting the Thursday media engagements due to a spat with the team that has spilled over from the Indian Grand Prix. Paul di Resta was seventh with McLaren’s Jenson Button and William’s Pastor Maldonado hot on his tail. Sergio Perez rounded out the top ten.
Nico Hulkenberg was eleventh for Sauber with Fernando Alonso surprisingly off the pace for Ferrari in twelfth. Valtteri Bottas was faster than expected for Williams and finished the session thirteenth, while James Calado took fourteenth while filling in for Adrian Sutil. Esteban Gutierrez was fifteenth while Felipe Massa finished sixteenth, sandwiched between the Toro Rosso’s of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo. Charles Pic was nineteenth while Giedo van der Garde gave up his Caterham to Heikki Kovalainen, who finished twentieth. Jules Bianchi was twenty-first ahead of Rodolfo Gonzalez, the Marussia reserve driver who took FP1 from Max Chilton.