MOTORSPORT : Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button formed a British one-two in first practice for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button formed a British one-two in first practice for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Last year’s world champion and the driver who deposed him 12 days ago in Brazil were separated by just 0.096 seconds after the opening 90 minutes of track action at the stunning �800million Yas Marina circuit.
If the current rumours eventually prove to be true, Hamilton and Button may even be team-mates at McLaren next season should the latter fail to agree a new deal with Brawn GP.
For now they remain on opposing sides and both looked the part as they set about tackling a venue F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone feels will never be beaten.
Naturally, there was a settling-in period for all the drivers, with Jaime Alguersuari in his Toro Rosso the first to post a timed lap of one minute 57 seconds.
Come the conclusion of the session, Hamilton had just managed to dip under one minute 44 seconds, with the best of his 18 laps timed at 1:43.939, with Button in close attendance at 1:44.035.
Sebastian Vettel, looking for a small degree of consolation for this season by finishing second behind Button in the standings, was third quickest, 0.214secs behind Hamilton.
Button’s team-mate Rubens Barrichello finished just 0.054secs behind Vettel on the 5.554km track, and 0.268secs adrift of Hamilton, with the top four easily clear of any of their rivals.
BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld was fifth overall, but 0.728secs down, followed closely by Sebastien Buemi in his Toro Rosso and Adrian Sutil for Force India.
Brazilian Grand Prix winner Mark Webber was eighth, with the top 10 completed by Alguersuari and Toyota’s Jarno Trulli.