Yas Practice 3: Hamilton fastest, problems for Vettel
3 November, 2012
Nov.3 (Apex) Lewis Hamilton and McLaren turned the tables overnight on arch rivals Red Bull, as the 2008 world champion topped the timing sheets at the end of the final free practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, while Sebastian Vettel sat out most of the session with a brake problem but nevertheless set the third best time in a final run at the very end of the session.
Hamilton dominated one hour at the Yas Marina Circuit in the blazing sun, and was remarkably quick with the medium Pirelli tyres, although his best time – of 1 minute 42.130 seconds – was set with the yellow band soft option tyre, it was not much faster than he achieved with the harder compound tyre.
Closer to Hamilton than he has been most of the weekend was Jenson Button, who ended up second on the timing sheets 0.290 seconds down on his teammate.
Up next were the Red Bull pair, Vettel only really getting half a dozen minutes right at the end to stretch the RB8. The rest of the time it was up on stilts as mechanics changed the front brake calipers.
Nevertheless when he did get going it took him no time to get right up there. Teammate Mark Webber was fourth fastest.
Romain Grosjean was fastest of the Lotus duo with the sixth best time, with Kimi Raikkonen ninth on the timing screens when the chequered flag dropped.
Seventh fastest was Pastor Maldonado in the Williams, with teammate Bruno Senna down in 17th.
Ferrari appear to be all over the place this weekend, either a ploy to hide their true potential or really struggling to match the pace setters with the current raft of upgrades. Fernando Alonso was eighth fastest, with Massa 11th.
Both Mercedes were out of the top ten with Nico Rosberg a tad faster than Michael Schumacher, the Silver Arrows 13th and 14th respectively.
All signs suggest a McLaren versus Red Bull slug-fest in qualifying and perhaps even in the race, with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel leading the charge for their respective teams.
Subbed by AJN.
Free Practice 3 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit – Saturday, 3 November 2012
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:42.614||0.484||7|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:42.743||0.613||18|
|5||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:42.750||0.620||19|
|10||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:43.338||1.208||19|
|23||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:46.554||4.424||20|
- Yas Practice 2: Vettel owns the first night as McLaren chase
- Buddh Practice 3: Vettel tops again but rivals close the gap
- Yeongam Practice 2: Vettel tops as Red Bull takes control
- Valencia Practice 2: Vettel fastest, but midfield teams showing strongly
- Shanghai Practice 3: Hamilton fastest from Button