Tough session for Vettel

  • Last Updated: November 3 2012, 11:55 GMT

Sebastian Vettel endured a nerve-wracking final practice session in the build-up to qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel: Managed just two laps

The reliability issue title rival Fernando Alonso had perhaps been praying for materialised in the closing 60-minute outing at the Yas Marina circuit where McLaren's Lewis Hamilton again led the way for the sixth time in 12 attempts over the four years at this track.

Vettel completed nothing more than two installation laps before then spending all bar the final four minutes in the Red Bull garage as the team worked on a brake problem.

On the medium-compound Pirelli tyres, the slightly slower but more durable rubber, Hamilton posted a top time of one minute 42.148secs, before all teams switched to a blast on the softs in the late stages.

Hamilton appeared on course to better Vettel's best of Friday when he set a 1:41.751 when he was quickest in the first two sectors.

However, he was forced to ease up in the final sector and finish with a timesheet-topping 1:42.130, 0.290secs ahead of team-mate Jenson Button.

As for Vettel, it was touch and go as to whether he would make it out on track, but his team performed wonders to ensure he had a shot on the soft tyres.

Even with his limited running as he managed just two quick laps, the 25-year-old reigning double world champion still posted the quickest middle sector to finish third overall, half a second behind Hamilton.

As for Alonso, there is likely to be concern in the Ferrari garage, particularly as the team broke the FIA curfew - a period of time when mechanics are not allowed to work on the car - for a second straight day.

The Spaniard, who trails Vettel by 13 points following the German's run of four successive victories, could only manage eighth quickest and was a second down on Hamilton, something he cannot repeat in qualifying if he is to have any chance in tomorrow's race.

Sandwiched in between himself and Vettel were Mark Webber in his Red Bull, the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg, Lotus' Romain Grosjean and Williams of Pastor Maldonado.

Behind Alonso were Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus and Paul di Resta in his Force India, the Scot appearing happier after his team opted for a change of chassis given his recent issues and without a point in his last three races, finishing 1.2secs down.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was 11th, 1.350secs adrift, underlining the problems faced by his team, with Sergio Perez 12th in his Sauber.

Mercedes are also struggling as Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were down in 13th and 14th, around 1.5secs down, with Kamui Kobayashi 15th in his Sauber.

At the rear of the field was Narain Karthikeyan in his HRT, nearly five seconds adrift and half a second behind team-mate Pedro de la Rosa.


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