F1 championship leader Hamilton strikes first in Abu Dhabi

BY foxsports • November 21, 2014

Lewis Hamilton edged Formula One title rival Nico Rosberg in the first practice session of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday.

The British driver posted a best lap of 1 minute, 43.476 seconds at the Yas Marina circuit to finish .133 seconds faster than his Mercedes teammate as both stayed out for more than 30 laps in dry and sunny conditions.

Fernando Alonso, preparing for his final race for Ferrari, was third, .1708 behind. Sebastian Vettel, who is leaving Red Bull to replace Alonso at Ferrari next year, was .1858 behind in fourth.

There is a second practice scheduled for later Friday, and a third on Saturday before qualifying.

Hamilton, who is bidding for his second F1 title, leads Rosberg by 17 points. But with double points available in Sunday's race, the German driver can secure his maiden F1 title if he wins and Hamilton finishes third.

Mercedes has crushed the competition this season, winning 15 of 18 races and securing 17 pole positions so far.

It was a tough session for Williams, with Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas completing only eight laps and Brazilian driver Felipe Massa managing just seven as loose bodywork affected both cars.

British driver Jenson Button also went back to garage early in what could be his final race for McLaren. The 2009 champion's future remains uncertain, with Alonso expected to replace him next season.