Yas Marina Practice 2: Vettel tops as Red Bull are dominant in the twilight zone
1 November, 2013
As if Red Bull were going to let off now that they have bagged both the 2013 F1 drivers’ and constructors titles… instead they are rubbing salt into the wounds of their rivals by ending one-two on the time sheets at the end of the second free practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, the only one which starts in daylight and ends at night under floodlights.
Around the halfway mark of the 90 minutes session, with a set of the Pirelli soft tyres bolted on - offering about 1.5 seconds extra when compared to the white band mediums – Sebastian Vettel powered around the plush Yas Marina Circuit in a best time of 1:41.434 which was a mere 0.056 of a second up on teammate Mark Webber.
Best of the rest, in third, was Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes, who is looking the most likely to take the fight to the fizzy drinks outfit. His teammate Nico Rosberg was fifth fastest.
Splitting the Silver Arrows on the timing screens was Kimi Raikkonen, who put aside the apparent strife within Lotus, to clock the fifth best time. The Finn will be looking to emulate the victory he scored at the same venue last year.
Raikkonen’s teammate Romain Grosjean, who was fastest in FP1, never did a hot lap run and parked his Lotus early with what appeared to be a recurring brake problem that has previously plagued the E21. Grosjean ended the session 12th.
McLaren appeared to have found some performance, at least on day one around the marina based circuit, with Sergio Perez and Jenson Button ending the day sixth and seventh respectively. The Woking based squad are desperate to finish on the podium in at least one of the last three races. The last time the Woking based squad endured a season without a single podium finish was back in 1980…
Fernando Alonso was best of the Ferrari powered brigade, but clearly the Reds were struggling on the opening day in Abu Dhabi, with Felipe Massa in tenth. The pair mixing it with relative minnows Sauber who share the same power plant. Nico Hulkenberg was ninth and Esteban Gutierrez finished the session 11th.
Paul di Resta looked strong in FP1, finishing seventh in the session. But by FP2 the Force India cars seemed to have fallen down the order with the Scot 13th and teammate Adrian Sutil (who sat the first practice for James Calado) down in 15th.
Di Resta’s session was further compromised by what appeared to be a brake failure.
There was relatively little drama in the 90 minutes, apart from a piece of Marussia brake cooling system detaching and coming to a rest on the side of the track. It was removed by a brave marshal.
Reflecting on the first day at Yas Marina it is apparent that Red Bull still have the momentum and are going to be hard to stop in qualifying and probably in the race too, with Mercedes and Lotus chasing. But it will be a brave punter who wages a bet against the recently crowned quadruple Formula 1 World Champions.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Free Practice 2 – Friday, 1 November 2013
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:41.335||35|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:41.490||0.155||32|
|13||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:42.806||1.471||27|
|15||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:42.998||1.663||27|
|19||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:44.138||2.803||35|