Yas Marina Practice 3: Golden boy Vettel taunts rivals with mega lap
2 November, 2013
Sebastian Vettel has clearly not taken his foot off the throttle despite having wrapped up his fourth successive Formula 1 World Drivers’ title less than a week ago, because he was again the class of the field in the final free practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend.
On a scorching hot afternoon, he powered his Red Bull RB9 around the swanky Yas Marina Circuit in a best time of 1:41.349. He was 0.222 seconds faster than anyone else while wearing a special edition gold laden helmet to celebrate world title number IV. The German ace seemed to taunt his rivals; ‘catch me if you can’
Vettel’s best time came in the final half dozen minutes of the 60 minutes session, on a set of yellow band Pirelli soft tyres, which were around two seconds faster than the harder Medium compound. After that performance, it is clear that his eleventh race win of the season beckons.
Teams had to cope with hot conditions – track temperatures hovering in the upper forties and ambient temperatures in the high thirties. This ismarkedly different to what will be experienced in the twilight quali session and in the race.
Behind Vettel, Mark Webber was second fastest, suggesting that the World Champions have a handy piece of kit at their disposal to do the business both in qualifying and in the race.
Around a quarter second off the benchmark pace were the Mercedes duo with Lewis Hamilton third quickest and Nico Rosberg next up in fourth.
Romain Grosjean was fifth fastest in the long wheel-base Lotus E21, which was half a second up on teammate Kimi Raikkonen who ended ninth, having requested the use the shorter wheel-base Lotus ( The car is about 10cm shorter) in Abu Dhabi.
McLaren appear to have uncovered some pace in Abu Dhabi, with Jenson Button managing the sixth best time, although Sergio Perez ended down in 18th.
Also performing way above their division are Sauber with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez seventh and eighth respectively. The pair are the fastest of the Ferrari powered herd.
Jean Eric Vergne rounded out the top ten in the (Ferrari powered) Toro Rosso.
Out of the top ten, and evidently struggling for rear grip were both the ‘works’ Ferraris with Fernando Alonso 11th and Felipe Massa 14th, the Reds are not having a pleasant weekend at Yas Marina in the shadow of Ferrari World theme park.
The pecking order heading to qualifying is clear: Red Bull have the momentum, with Mercedes likely to challenge if either driver can dig deep and deliver a special lap, while Lotus are there or thereabouts and Sauber seems capable of a surprise. Ferrari? Who knows?
Vettel for his eighth pole of the season? Don’t bet against it…
Subbed by AJN.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Free Practice 3 – Saturday, 2 November 2013
|1||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:41.349||19|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:41.571||0.222||17|
|12||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:42.681||1.332||23|
|17||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||1:42.989||1.640||22|
|19||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||1:44.472||3.123||20|