Abu Dhabi GP P1: Lewis Hamilton makes quickest start at 2015 finale
World champion sets early Yas Marina pace by a tenth from team-mate Rosberg; Host of teams trial 2016 parts; Early-afternoon conditions unrepresentative for twilight qualifying and race
By James Galloway in Abu Dhabi
Last Updated: 27/11/15 5:22pm
Lewis Hamilton began the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP weekend in perfect style by setting the pace from Nico Rosberg in Practice One.
The world champion has been beaten by his Mercedes team-mate in the two races since wrapping up the 2015 championship in Austin last month, but has made clear his determination to end his third title-winning campaign with an 11th win of the year.
In a session in which numerous teams tested 2016-specific parts, Mercedes claimed their habitual timesheet one-two with Hamilton outpacing Rosberg by 0.141s with a best lap of 1:43.754.
Despite setting the pace, Hamilton did not appear completely happy around the stop-start Yas Marina Circuit yet. Having requested changes to his W06's seating position and steering wheel at the start of the session, the Briton then suggested over the radio "the car is not feeling good" during his final run.
Ferrari again provided Mercedes' closest opposition, but Kimi Raikkonen was over seven tenths of a second adrift in third place, as Sebastian Vettel wound up fifth. Daniil Kvyat was fourth for Red Bull on the morning team boss Christian Horner confirmed the former champions did finally have an engine deal in place for 2016.
With the opening session taking place at the height of the afternoon's heat at the Middle Eastern venue - track temperatures reached a high of 34 degrees - conditions were unrepresentative compared to those which will greet teams in qualifying and the race, which take place at 5pm local time over the weekend.
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Ahead of F1's winter on-track shutdown, and a one-day Pirelli tyre test on Tuesday in which new parts cannot be trialed, a number of teams took the opportunity to test developments which are likely to appear on their 2016 cars.
McLaren, desperate for a return to form next season after a dismal first year back in tandem with Honda, evaluated a new rear suspension, while Force India tested a new front wing. Lotus, meanwhile, ran a revised nose on their E23.
Lotus' build-up to the race weekend has again been fraught with financial problems, with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone reportedly forced to step in to pay the team's bills to the circuit's officials.
Having been given dispensation to delay the scrutineering of their cars until Friday morning, Lotus only initially ran with Pastor Maldonado as Romain Grosjean's car, which Jolyon Palmer was again taking over for P1, sprung a water leak.
The team eventually managed to get Palmer out on track for the closing 10 minutes, however. Maldonado, who tested the new nose box, did finish in the top 10, ahead of the Williams and McLaren cars.
Practice One timesheet
1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1:43.754
2. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:43.895
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:44.500
4. Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, 1:44.702
5. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1:44.742
6. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:44.751
7. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 1:44.893
8. Sergio Perez, Force India, 1:44.934
9. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 1:45.314
10. Felipe Massa, Williams, 1:45.433
11. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:45.603
12. Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, 1:45.718
13. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:45.773
14. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:45.865
15. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 1:46.115
16. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 1:46.220
17. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 1:46.407
18. Jolyon Palmer, Lotus, 1:46.501
19. Will Stevens, Manor, 1:48.836
20. Roberto Merhi, Manor, 1:49.888
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