Lewis Hamilton drew first blood in the battle for the championship, beating teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg to the fastest time in practice for Sunday's title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton. Pic/AFP.
Hamilton, who had also led Rosberg in the opening afternoon session, lapped the 5.5 kilometer-long Yas Marina Circuit in one minute 42.113 seconds in the twilight to end the day a narrow 0.083 seconds ahead of the German.
Kevin Magnussen, eleventh in the opening session, was third for McLaren but nearly a second adrift. Hamilton leads Rosberg by 17 points heading into Sunday’s title decider, with double points on offer for the first time, and needs only to finish second to clinch the world championship even if his title rival wins.
With Mercedes set to be the team to beat this weekend as they have been all season, Rosberg’s title hopes rest on winning the race and another driver splitting him and Hamilton. But from the pace they displayed yesterday, the chances of anyone challenging the Mercedes appear slim and they, barring any reliability problems, looks set to take a record 16th win of the season and extend their benchmark for one-two finishes to 12.