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“You will never know the feeling of a driver when winning a race. The helmet hides feelings that cannot be understood.” (Ayrton Senna)

Hamilton quickest in Abu Dhabi as title showdown begins

Hamilton quickest in Abu Dhabi as title showdown begins

s the title deciding race of the 2014 Formula One World Championship got underway at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, championship leader Lewis Hamilton seized the early initiative by taking top spot in the opening practice session.

The Briton recorded a lap of 1:43.476 to finish 0.133s ahead of title rival Nico Rosberg. Hamilton enters the weekend 17 points ahead of Rosberg, who has to win the race to stand any chance of winning the title. However, should Rosberg win, Hamilton could finish second and still take the title.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who yesterday confirmed that he is to quit the team at the end of the season, finished a distant third, 1.7 seconds behind pacesetter Hamilton.

The gap back to third place might have less had Williams’ running not been cut short when both its cars suffered identical body work failures.

Felipe Mass completed just seven laps before part of his FW36’s right sidepod came loose and he was forced back to the pits. Team-mate Valtteri Bottas, with one more lap on the board, suffered the same issue. Neither car would run again in the session, with the team later blaming a new cooling configuration for the issue.

Behind Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, who was yesterday confirmed as the Spaniard’s replacement at Ferrari, finished fourth ahead of Red Bull Racing team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne were sixth and seventh respectively for Toro Rosso, while Bottas’ best time was still good enough for eighth place, albeit nearly 2.5s down on Hamilton’s lap. Sergio Perez finished ninth ahead of Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.

 

Pos No Driver Team Time/Retired Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:43.476 32
2 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:43.609 0.133 31
3 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:45.184 1.708 22
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:45.334 1.858 30
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:45.361 1.885 23
6 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:45.718 2.242 17
7 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:45.835 2.359 32
8 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:45.913 2.437 8
9 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:45.983 2.507 23
10 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:46.030 2.554 24
11 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:46.049 2.573 23
12 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:46.131 2.655 23
13 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:46.549 3.073 7
14 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:46.556 3.080 28
15 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:46.711 3.235 31
16 31 Esteban Ocon Lotus-Renault 1:47.066 3.590 29
17 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:47.235 3.759 8
18 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:47.971 4.495 24
19 37 Adderly Fong Sauber-Ferrari 1:48.269 4.793 25
20 46 Will Stevens Caterham-Renault 1:50.684 7.208 14


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