Advantage Hamilton in Abu Dhabi practice

Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:11am EST
 
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By Alan Baldwin

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton claimed an early advantage over Mercedes team mate and title rival Nico Rosberg on Friday with the fastest lap in practice for Formula One's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Briton, chasing his second title, was quickest in the afternoon and after-dark floodlit sessions at the glittering Yas Marina circuit that hosts Sunday's decisive 'duel in the desert'.

The bragging rights were limited, however, by the slender margin between the two with Hamilton 0.133 faster in the first session and a mere 0.083 in the cooler evening conditions.

He produced his best lap of one minute 42.113 after nightfall.

"I've just got to drive the way I usually do and what will be will be," said Hamilton. "I feel good in the car. Undoubtedly, there is more time to find so I've got to go and chip away at it tonight."

The other drivers waged a familiar battle to be best of the also-rans, but with an even greater gap than usual.

Spaniard Fernando Alonso, preparing for his last race with Ferrari, was third quickest in the opening session but a massive 1.7 seconds off Hamilton's pace.

Hamilton leads Rosberg by 17 points but, with double on offer for the first time, the specter of mechanical failure hangs over Sunday's race.   Continued...

 
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives during the first practice session of the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi November 21, 2014. REUTERS/Caren Firouz