Hamilton quickest as Vettel suffered brake issues

The Final practice has been done and dusted now and despite being it less exciting it seemed as if there was no one catching the Mclaren pair and Vettel. Over in Abu Dhabi, the clear skies and scorching sun upped the  track temperature to 47-degree before the start. The direct tail winds were after turn 9 informed Pic’s engineer and a big train of cars lined up to get things underway as lights flashed green Raikkonen led the pack out of pit exit.

With no GPS system, Raikkonen had an additional task of tackling the traffic on his own. As the clock went past seven minutes, Alonso headed out on track for his installation run. Kobayashi set the early lap in and improved on it to clock a  1:45.628s ahead of Karthikeyan and Pic. Grosjean locked up his front wheel into Turn 7 and taken too much of kerb in sector 2. His team-mate Raikkonen was the first driver moved into 1:44s on medium tyres while Senna went ninth quickest.

Sauber’s Perez lifted himself upto p2 ahead of Grosjean, Kobayashi and Maldonado. While one-third of the afternoon session got over, Raikkonen topped the list from Perez, Grosjean, Kobayashi, Maldonado, Ricciardo, Vergne, Petrov, Glock and Resta rounded out the top 10. Senna gently put more miles on clock to work his way up to p4. At the 22nd minute, Hamilton flew past by the pitlane to take the lead while Grosjean slated in behind him with a reasonable lap. Maldonado replaced Hamilton with a two tenths advantage though very shortly.

Desperate Kimi landed hard while bouncing off the kerbs and went quickest overall in the next run improving his time by a second – quickest in all but the final sector. In the mean time, Alonso stepped into his Ferrari, strapped and ready to  get go. Webber improved his time by 1.3 seconds to go fifth ahead of Ferrari’s Massa while Hulkenberg in similar fashion moved up to seventh. Webber beat Maldonado on his next lap to go second fastest behind Hamilton, clocking 1:43.849s.

With only half the session left to play, the standings: Hamilton, Webber, Maldonado, Hulkenberg, Schumi, Raikkonen, Massa, Senna, Grosjean and Rosberg.

After Alonso’s disappointing lap where he was no way as quick as top 5, Hamilton put on another fast lap eight tenths off Vettel’s best time on Friday. Perez fell backwards to fourteenth while Fernando found a tenth or two to go as high as third. It’s obvious that Hamilton eying Vettel’s Friday time as he reduced the gap further to half a second. With 24 minutes remaining, Button of Mclaren headed out to try and match his pace with Hamilton.

Webber disposed Alonso off third while Button made quick amends to jump up to second behind his Mclaren team-mate.

After 40 minutes: Hamilton, Button, webber, Alonso, Maldonado, Hulkenberg, Massa, Resta, Kimi, Schumacher, Rosberg, Senna, Romain, Perez, Kobayashi, Vergne, Ricciardo, Kovaleinen, Petrov and Glock completed top 20.

But wait, where was Vettel? He’s still sitting quite in his garage. Time to bolt the yellow side wall tyres for all the drivers as session was getting to its end, Button lined up three tenths off the pace behind Hamilton but ahead of Grosjean and Maldonado. Schumacher jumped two places to 12th and Rosberg found nearly half second to move up eighth while Senna was two seconds down on Hamilton in tenth.

With only ten minutes left and running, only Rosberg, Ricciardo, Vergne and De la Rosa were out on track. Vergne aborted his run and headed into the pits. The track was emptied and its temperature saw a six degree fall. Hulkenberg headed back on to post a lap time, Maldonado pursued him only to be blocked by a Toro Rosso on the start-finish straight in his flying lap.

While the clock was ticking, Hamilton locked up his car and went straight on to the escape road. Raikkonen was a second shy to go fourth fastest while Alonso clocked a lap good enough for sixth. Button improved on his mark but two tenths down to stay in second. With only a little over a minute to go, Vettel disposed Webber for third with an impressive middle sector that remained fastest. Grosjean and Hulkenberg were right in the mix as well.  Raikkonen nearly came into collision with Webbber while entering the pitlane  at the end. Vettel was severely hampered by brake problems as it seemed.


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