Abu Dhabi GP: Lewis Hamilton on top as Sebastian Vettel hits trouble
|By Jamie O'Leary||Saturday, November 3rd 2012, 11:09 GMT|
Lewis Hamilton set the pace in final practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix while Formula 1 world championship leader Sebastian Vettel's preparations were severely hampered by a brake problem.
Hamilton sailed to the top of the timesheets on his first flying lap of the Yas Marina circuit in 1m44.264s, and continued to bring his marker down, the McLaren driver ending up on 1m42.130s.
That time, which came on soft-compound Pirelli tyres, was significantly only 0.148 seconds faster than he managed on medium rubber.
While Hamilton's team-mate Jenson Button and Red Bull's Mark Webber were going second and third fastest, 0.290s and 0.613s adrift of the 2008 world champion respectively, Vettel was sat in the pits and looking unlikely to take to the track.
The double world champion's Red Bull mechanics were seen working busily on his RB8's braking system during the session, and completed the job to allow Vettel to take to the track with a little under five minutes of the hour remaining.
The German's only true flying lap - completed after the chequered flag had flown - put him third on the timesheets, 0.4s behind Hamilton. Significantly, he also managed to set the best time in sector two.
His lap knocked Webber back to fourth with Force India's Nico Hulkenberg fifth and Romain Grosjean sixth in the best of the Lotus cars, the Frenchman losing track time late on as his front brakes were bled in the pits.
Pastor Maldonado had a brief stint at the head of the times, but slipped back to seventh for Williams. Fernando Alonso, Vettel's closest threat for the world title, Kimi Raikkonen and Paul di Resta completed the top 10.
Raikkonen nearly collided with Webber right at the end of the session as the Red Bull, travelling slowly, turned sharply into the pits as the Lotus was closing in rapidly before the final corner.
The only other incidents of note came when Hamilton locked his right-front wheel with a few minutes remaining and ran off the track, missing Turns 4-5, and when Narain Karthikeyan ran wide at Turn 16 earlier on.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap Laps 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m42.130s 18 2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m42.420s + 0.290s 17 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m42.614s + 0.484s 7 4. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m42.743s + 0.613s 18 5. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m42.750s + 0.620s 19 6. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m43.015s + 0.885s 18 7. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m43.064s + 0.934s 19 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m43.133s + 1.003s 15 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m43.184s + 1.054s 22 10. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m43.338s + 1.208s 19 11. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m43.480s + 1.350s 17 12. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m43.571s + 1.441s 20 13. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m43.593s + 1.463s 20 14. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m43.635s + 1.505s 19 15. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m44.010s + 1.880s 22 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m44.025s + 1.895s 18 17. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m44.071s + 1.941s 19 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m44.149s + 2.019s 19 19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m45.301s + 3.171s 22 20. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m45.879s + 3.749s 19 21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m46.036s + 3.906s 19 22. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m46.261s + 4.131s 22 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m46.554s + 4.424s 20 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m47.032s + 4.902s 22 All timing unofficial