Abu Dhabi GP: Nico Rosberg tops practice ahead of Lewis Hamilton

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer at Yas Marina
Abu Dhabi GP: Nico Rosberg sets fastest time in practice two
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Venue: Yas Marina Circuit Dates: 27-29 November
Coverage: Live BBC TV, radio and text coverage of the race. Full details here.

Nico Rosberg turned the tables on Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to top second practice at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton had been fastest by 0.141 seconds in the first session, but Rosberg pipped the world champion by 0.138secs in the second session.

The two Mercedes were well clear of the rest of the field, headed by Force India's Sergio Perez, 0.627secs back.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was fourth, ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

While Mercedes appear untouchable on one-lap pace, there were hints that Ferrari might be able to take the fight to them in the race.

Sebastian Vettel has won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on three occasions

Ferrari are often more competitive relative to the champions when the softer of the tyres are in use - as they are this weekend with the grippiest combination of soft and super-soft.

Kimi Raikkonen looked especially competitive, making the super-softs last particularly well for a long run that on average was as fast as Rosberg's, despite being twice as long.

Inside F1: Abu Dhabi Friday practice

Rosberg said he was on the back foot for the weekend because he was using an engine that had a higher mileage than the one in Hamilton's car.

This is because he suffered an engine failure at the Italian Grand Prix back in September that put him out of sync on engine usage.

"It has been a good start to the weekend, even though Lewis did not show his pace on one lap. It is clear that he still has some reserve," he said. "Today is not the real picture.

"In general it is going to be difficult because I have an extremely old engine - the one I have has a lot of miles on and that is costing me straight-line speed.

"So it is going to be a difficult weekend as a result. I just have to go quicker in the corners."

While the season winds to a close with little at stake on the track, off track the action is frantic, with attention focused on the complicated situation unfolding around Renault, its engine supply to Red Bull and buy-out of Lotus.

A contract between Red Bull and Renault for the two to continue in 2016 has been signed, but not publicly announced.

Abu Dhabi GP: Lewis Hamilton fastest in practice one

Meanwhile, Renault is in dispute with F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone over the payments due to it for its return as a constructor and it has yet to finalise its takeover of Lotus, who are threatened with administration if a deal is not completed by 7 December.

On track, where the session was held as day turned into night as the race will be on Sunday, there was encouraging news for Lotus.

Pastor Maldonado set the 10th fastest time, behind Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat, Raikkonen, Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren's Fernando Alonso.

Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were 11th and 12th.

Bottas is one of the few competitors with anything at stake this weekend - he is one place ahead of Raikkonen in fourth in the drivers' championship and said he would like to secure that position on Sunday for the bragging rights of beating a driver in a faster car in the championship.

Full practice results

Abu Dhabi GP coverage details

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