ABU DHABI -- Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen led the way on the opening morning Pirelli's Abu Dhabi test of its 2018 tyre compounds, while Fernando Alonso hit the wall with his McLaren.
In a test headlined by the return of Robert Kubica with Williams, Raikkonen led the way in the red Ferrari, setting a 1:37.763 to lead by the mid-way point. The test is to assess Pirelli's 2018 range of tyres.
A red flag in the morning was prompted by Alonso hitting the wall at Turn 19, damaging his front wing and delaying his running in the morning. The Spaniard returned to the circuit after the team's lunch break in what will be his final day of driving a Honda-powered McLaren before the team's switch to Renault in 2018.
Alonso's McLaren was one of two orange and black cars on the circuit on Tuesday, with Oliver Turvey driving another in a blind Pirelli test. McLaren had been due to complete two days of testing for the manufacturer at Interlagos after the Brazilian Grand Prix but it was cancelled due to security concerns. Reigning Formula 3 champion Lando Norris will be in the car on Wednesday completing the same test.
Headline times are rarely representative in tests, with teams working through various programmes and collecting a wide sample of data. Behind Raikkonen was the Haas of Romain Grosjean and Renault's Hulkenberg, though they were 1.5s and 2s slower respectively.
Daniel Ricciardo finished the opening segment of the day 2.1s adrift in the Red Bull. Next up was world champion Lewis Hamilton, given a day in the W08 despite being known as a reluctant tester, who completed 54 laps in the car he guided to this year's world championship. The Englishman did not complete any of Pirelli's tyre tests last year when it was assessing its bigger, chunkier 2017 tyres, which led to suggestions this year that Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel benefitted from their own focus on that programme.
Nikita Mazepin completed 51 laps in the morning for Force India, ahead of Kubica in the Williams. Unlike the rest of the field, Kubica's test is also significant because it is expected to help dictate the team's decision about whether to sign the Polish driver -- who has not raced in F1 since suffering life-threatening injuries in 2011 -- to a full-time drive in 2018.
The man who once rated Kubica as the best driver he ever competed against, Alonso, was next on the timing screens ahead of Turvey. Marcus Ericsson finished 10th for Sauber, while Sean Gelael's quickest time was 7.8s shy of the benchmark set by Raikkonen.