Yas Practice 2: Vettel owns the first night as McLaren chase
2 November, 2012
Nov.2 (GP247) Just as day had turned to night over Yas Marina Circuit, Sebastian Vettel bolted on a set of Pirelli, yellow band, soft tyres and scorched to the top of the timing screens to end the first day of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend fastest of all.
The world championship leader’s lap of 1 minute 41.751 seconds was good enough to ensure that the Red Bull driver left the marina on a high, confident that his rivals have not made great inroads on the pace that technical guru Adrian Newey (and his team) have been able to extract from the RB8 in recent races.
Lewis Hamilton, who was fastest in the morning session, ran the German close, topping the timing screens for the first hour when everyone was running the harder compound Pirelli tyres, The McLaren driver comfortably quickest during this phase.
At around 5.45 pm local time, which would coincide with Q3 on Sunday just about everyone was out on the softer tyres. Perhaps because the track was cooling with day turning to night, most struggled to get heat into the tyres on the first lap of their runs. In fact many struggled to go faster than they were able to do with the hard tyres when the sun shone.
Third fastest was Jenson Button albeit over half a second down on the top two times. Nevertheless McLaren have shown that they can chase and maybe even match the Red Bull’s around the marina based circuit.
Mark Webber was fourth fastest making, but endured niggles during the course of the ninety minutes including the recurrence of the sparking from the under-tray of the RB8. An affliction that first surfaced during the Indian GP weekend. He also sat out the final minutes of the session with a mechanical issue which may have been KERS related.
Up next were the Lotus pair with Romain Grosjean 0.32 seconds up on teammate Kimi Raikkonen. The Enstone boys showing a good turn of speed early on, which appeared to have eluded them in the more recent races.
Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were seventh and eighth respectively. Notably world championship contender Alonso was 0.836 seconds down on Vettel’s best, although he was fastest on the heavy fuel runs – but these can be deceptive for obvious reasons – who had how much in the tank?
The Maranello team had a new front wing, new barge boards and revised rear wing end plates, which both drivers evaluated during the course of the two sessions. Nevertheless they have some work to do ahead of qualifying and the race to make all the bits work together.
Pastor Maldonado was fastest of the Williams duo, setting the ninth best time, with Bruno Senna 11th. The latter sat out the morning session as Valterri Bottas took over his cockpit.
Sandwiched between between the Williams’ on the timing sheets, was Sauber’s Sergio Perez with the tenth best time.
Mercedes pair Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were out of the top ten, ending the session 12th and 14th respectively.
Practice 2 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Friday, 2 November 2012
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:41.751||34|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:42.466||0.715||21|
|13||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:43.255||1.504||34|
|15||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:43.578||1.827||34|
|23||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:46.707||4.956||26|
- Media gushing with admiration for ‘perfect, unassailable, invincible’ Vettel
- No penalty for Vettel after celebration donuts in Abu Dhabi
- Vettel: I don’t know if there’s a secret. I’ve got traction control – that’s what they said
- Webber: I challenged for a few victories this year but wasn’t strong enough when it counted
- Red Bull: We’ll be pushing as hard to try and repeat a perfect performance
- Red Bull: It’s going to be a fascinating race where tyres will be critical
- Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying: Webber turns tables on Vettel as Red Bull dominates
- Vettel to race with gold laden helmet to celebrate fourth F1 world title
- Vettel: I am not going out there for statistics, believe me I love racing
- Red Bull: It wasn’t a bad feeling for the first day