Bottas best in 1st practice for Abu Dhabi GP; Vettel crashes

Bottas best in 1st practice for Abu Dhabi GP; Vettel crashes

Not since July has Lewis Hamilton been at the front of the grid for a Grand Prix.

Hamilton edged out his teammate Valtteri Bottas to the front of the grid, but with the Mercedes drivers locking out the front row, there is a wonderful opportunity ahead for Hamilton to finish the season with a flourish.

The British driver has been with Mercedes since 2013 and taken five of his six titles with them but the team principal Toto Wolff confirmed that he believed a move to Ferrari was credible.

"It feels a lot longer than since the German Grand Prix", said world champion Hamilton.

"It is the first compliment I have had from Ferrari in 13 years", said Hamilton, 35 in January.

"So, I have zero problem, a racing driver will always try to be in the quickest possible vehicle, and the quickest possible auto is always going to try to have the best racing driver in there". It is positive and it is never a waste of time to be nice to someone.

"A driver of that level will always know he can make an impact in a team".

Leclerc, speaking before the stewards met to consider Ferrari's alleged fuel irregularity, said: "I'm extremely happy about this year". I think for a company like Daimler to allow a shareholding from their managing partners, including myself, is not something that came easily, and the relationship has got stronger since then. His current contract at Mercedes runs out after the 2020 season and contract negotiations will soon start if they haven't already.

"It's been a while", admitted Hamilton afterwards as he celebrated career pole 88.

"I actually sat next to Mattia when he said that, in the press conference, and he was asked the question what he thought about Lewis, and he said he has the highest of esteems about Lewis", Wolff said.

The fans watching as the sky darkened and the floodlights flickered on saw no overtaking, except for Verstappen's clean move on Charles Leclerc's Ferrari on Lap 33. I believe, anything is possible, we have a very good vehicle.

This year's trip was so special, so different, but I'm forever grateful for the lessons learned. "I am absolutely open to everybody exploring options". My priority would be to continue this successful journey.

"Spa was a bit of weird weekend because obviously on the Saturday it was very sad because I lost one of my friends in a crash. but at the end it was my first victory in F1".

Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull ahead of the two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel with Alex Albon taking sixth in the second Red Bull.

The third victor of Abu Dhabi Vettel, who will start with soft tires as opposed to the two Mercedes, Red Bulls and Leclerc, also had his opinion on the disappointing qualifying finish.

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