All the talk in Abu Dhabi was of driverless racing cars following the announcement Formula E was about to launch a new series called “Roborace”.
But in Formula One there are still no replacements for the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who once again dominated practice proceedings before Sunday’s grand prix, where they will chase a record 12th one-two of the season.
The world champion, a winner here in 2011 and again last year, was quicker in the morning run, when he beat Rosberg by 0.141sec. Rosberg set the pace early on before Hamilton posted the fastest time with 30 minutes to go and no one was able to topple him.
Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) was third quickest, ahead of Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat and Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari).
In the afternoon run it was Rosberg’s turn to finish top. The German, who has won pole position on the past five races, finished 0.138sec ahead of Hamilton after the drivers switched to Pirelli’s super-soft tyres.
The Mercedes drivers were followed by Sergio Pérez (Force India), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) and Kvyat.
Lotus passed scrutineering after being granted a waiver on Thursday following the late arrival of their cars in the paddock because of financial troubles but still had a difficult session.
Their reserve driver Jolyon Palmer, who is due to replace Romain Grosjean next season, had to sit out all but the final 12 minutes as the team worked to fix a water leak. Grosjean did 27 laps in the later session.
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