Despite the organizers' efforts to clean the track prior to the F1 action on Friday, the first part of the practice session saw plenty of drivers having grip problems (Jenson Button and Kamui Kobayashi each recorded spins). The championship big guns only entered the action from mid-session on, with Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber all posting some quick times of their own.
Only a few minutes to the end of the session, the drivers finally made use of the rubber line set up by the F1 machineries and improved their times lap after lap. It was time for new F1 champion Button to show his skills on the Yas Marina Circuit, as he immediately climbed the top spot of the time charts with a blistering 1m44.524.
From that point on, it was to be a battle in two between Button and Hamilton, as the British duo exchanged positions on top of the standings until the very last corner of P1. In the end, it was the McLaren driver who managed to emerge as Practice 1 leader, less than one tenth of a second ahead of his Brawn GP rival.
Third place belonged to Sebastian Vettel, while his rival for the runner-up position in the overall classification Rubens Barrichello went on to finish 4th. BMW's Nick Heidfeld completed the Top 5, ahead of Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi and Force India's Adrian Sutil. The overall Top 10 was completed by Mark Webber, Jaime Alguersuari and Jarno Trulli.
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Giancarlo Fisichella were nowhere to be seen inside the Top, finishing 15th and 18th respectively.
Here are the overall results of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Practice 1:
01. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) 1:43.939
02. Jenson Button (Brawn-Mercedes) 1:44.035
03. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) 1:44.153
04. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn-Mercedes) 1:44.207
05. Nick Heidfeld (BMW-Sauber) 1:44.667
06. Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 1:44.687
07. Adrian Sutil (Force India-Mercedes) 1:44.688
08. Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault) 1:44.805
09. Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 1:44.955
10. Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 1:44.958
11. Robert Kubica (BMW-Sauber) 1:44.988
12. Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren-Mercedes) 1:45.123
13. Nico Rosberg (Williams-Toyota) 1:45.649
14. Kazuki Nakajima (Williams-Toyota) 1:45.679
15. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 1:45.704
16. Fernando Alonso (Renault) 1:45.865
17. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Force India-Mercedes) 1:46.239
18. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ferrari) 1:46.267
19. Kamui Kobayashi (Toyota) 1:46.364
20. Romain Grosjean (Renault) 1:46.411