New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

2013 Abu Dhabi GP: First practice

2013-11-01 13:24

FIRST LAP NUTCASE DAYS OVER: Romain Grosjean sets the pace during the first practice session ahead of the 2013 Abu Dhabi GP. Image: AP

ABU DHABI, UAE - Romain Grosjean put Lotus on top of the timesheets during the first practice session ahead of the 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Grosjean, comfortably faster than team mate Kimi Raikkonen who won the 2012 race, lapped the Yas Marina circuit in the searing afternoon heat with a best time of 1min44.241 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton, winner in 2011 and twice on pole at the circuit, was second quickest for Mercedes and just 0.192 slower than Grosjean.


Sebastian Vettel was 0.258 off the pace on a slippery track that, with track temperatures hovering around 40 degrees, will be far cooler during the day-to-night race.

Raikkonen, who triggered speculation about his relationship with the team when he failed to appear for media activities at the circuit, finally turned up and was sixth fastest with a lap of 1min44.929.

Grosjean has beaten Raikkonen in the last two races and finished on the podium in the last three.

Vettel, who became the sport's youngest quadruple champion when he won in India in October 2013, is chasing his seventh successive race victory to equal Michael Schumacher's 2004 streak.

Schumacher’s record is the longest winning run of the modern era, with a record of nine GPS set by Alberto Ascari during the 1952 and 1953 seasons.

Red Bull have already clinched their fourth successive constructors' title and the focus is now on whether anyone can stop Red Bull winning the last three races of 2013.

Vettel has won two of the four races held so far in Abu Dhabi, including 2010 when he clinched his first championship.

Mark Webber, Vettel's team mate, was fourth quickest with Nico Rosberg fifth for Mercedes in a session that started slowly and without a timed lap in the first half hour.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who had been the only man mathematically capable of making Vettel wait for the title in India, was 12th with team mate Felipe Massa 17th.

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit:
First practice session

1 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min44.241
2 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min44.433
3 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min44.499
4 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min44.712
5 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min44.741
6 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus  1min44.929
7 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India 1min45.040
8 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min45.099
9 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams  1min45.150
10 Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 1min45.331
11 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Sauber 1min45.378
12 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min45.440
13 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 1min45.823
14 James Calado (Britain) Force India 1min45.924
15 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber 1min46.068
16 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min46.114
17 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min46.124
18 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min46.126
19 Charles Pic (France) Caterham  1min47.600
20 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham  1min47.670
21 Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia  1min47.723
22 Rodolfo Gonzalez (Venezuela) Marussia  1min49.565

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Abu Dhabi weekend
Read more on:    lotus  |  2013 abu dhabi gp  |  kimi raikkonen  |  motorsport  |  racing  |  f1

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