Lewis Hamilton topped the times in the first free practice session of the Abu Dhabi weekend as drivers went about setting their cars up for the 21st and season ending race here on Sunday evening. The reigning world champion finished three tenths ahead of his title rival and Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg.

Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull, the young Dutchman a fraction of a second quicker than his Aussie teammate, Daniel Ricciardo.

Sebastian Vettel was fifth for Ferrari ahead of Force India's Sergio Perez, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Carlos Sainz in the Toro Rosso.

The outgoing Felipe Massa was ninth fastest for Williams with Marcus Ericsson rounding out the top ten for Sauber.

With half an hour of the session remaining, Jenson Button was told by his McLaren team to back off and come into the pits. The Brit, in his final final first free practice session, asked if he could assist with anything to which he was told to simply bring it back slowly. He did that and his session was over.

The second ninety minute free practice session will get underway in two hours time.