By Alan Davies
, Sports reporter
Friday, November 11, 2011
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton was third fastest in first practice for the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as McLaren colleague Jenson Button set the pace.
The 26-year-old Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver from Hertfordshire was one of the quickest throughout the session around the spectacular Yas Marina Circuit in the United Arab Emirates this morning (Friday).
Button topped the timesheets in the Persian Gulf with a flying lap of one minute 40.263 seconds, with Hamilton 0.140 seconds adrift with a 1m 40.403s.
Mark Webber’s Red Bull split the two McLaren men, with double F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel fourth.
Then came the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.
Earlier in the session, after completing his installation lap, Herts-born F1 star Hamilton quickly set the then fastest time with a best of 1m 43.552s.
He chipped the quickest time down to a 1m 42.617s, and with the track getting faster, Hamilton improved to a 1m 41.846s.
Hamilton said over the team radio: “The track is going to get better.”
A fantastic lap from Button put him top with a 1m 40.955s but Hamilton went even quicker with a 1m 40.466s.
The McLaren pitwall told Lewis: “You are the fastest car on the circuit.”
Hamilton later said: “Car feels pretty okay.”
With just over an hour of the session gone, Hamilton topped the timesheets ahead of Button, with the Red Bull pairing of Vettel and Webber third and fourth respectively.
Hamilton set another fastest lap with a 1m 40.403s before being usurped again by his McLaren team-mate, with Button clocking a 1m 40.263s.
That proved to be the quickest of the morning, with the McLarens and Red Bull the fastest cars out on track.
Qualifying for the 2011 Abu Dhabi day-night race starts at 1pm GMT on Saturday.
The grand prix starts at 1pm on Sunday.