Lewis Hamilton has taken first blood in the duel in the desert against team mate Nico Rosberg, out-pacing the German by 0.374 seconds while Max Verstappen finished in third.

Rosberg set the pace early in the session as both Mercedes drivers opted to run the ultra-soft tyre at the beginning of the session with a 1:43.873 over a tenth quicker than Hamilton. Rosberg improved on his time his second time around to jump close to a second from Hamilton’s best, until the Briton registered a time of 1:43.051 to go quickest.

Both drivers improved later on in the session on the soft compound tyre, with Hamilton’s 1:42.869 the benchmark for the rest of the field.

Toro Rosso again found themselves dealing with a puncture on one of their cars, as Daniil Kvyat’s left rear tyre began to deflate just as he passed the pit entry,

He was forced to limp around the circuit until the tyre detached itself and posed too much of a damage threat to the car, seeing the Russian pull off down an escape road which ended his session.

Further spins and mishaps occurred in a rather processional first practice session as the drivers began to lay grip around the sandy and green Yas Marina circuit.

Jordan King, who repaced Esteban Ocon for FP1, spun his Manor after losing the rear and making contact with a bollard. The car didn’t receive any damage and King was able to continue the session, where his best time saw him finish last of the timed runners.

Williams’ Felipe Massa was also caught out by the slippery conditions as the Brazilian spun at Turn 5, while Hamilton replicated Massa’s spin at the same corner a few minutes later.

Brake issues again plagued Romain Grosjean, as his Haas lost the rear on two occasions into heavy braking zones. The Frenchman was able to catch his car both times and continue, however, on the third failure his car spun at high speed and stopped just before the tech-pro barrier at Turn 1.

Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth ahead of former team mate Sebastian Vettel, while Sergio Perez split the two Ferraris as he finished ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in his Force India.

Carlos Sainz was next in eighth running the super soft tyre finishing ahead of Massa on the softs, while Marcus Ericsson snuck his Sauber into 10th position ahead of Alfonso Celis, who deputised for Nico Hulkenberg.

Image via XPB Images

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Josh Kruse

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