Vettel leads final Abu Dhabi practice

Vettel leads final Abu Dhabi practice

Formula 1

Vettel leads final Abu Dhabi practice

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Sebastian Vettel topped the final free practice session ahead of qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leading another Red Bull one-two.

Vettel and the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen took it in turns to top the times in the early going on the harder tyre.

Raikkonen was the first to dip under 1m44s, then Vettel moved ahead with a 1m43.795s.

Mark Webber went second fastest before Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg moved to challenge the Red Bulls for Mercedes.

As track conditions improved, the duo moved ahead of Vettel just after the halfway mark, with Rosberg ahead.

Vettel and Rosberg then alternated in front, with Rosberg recording 1m43.465s with around 20 minutes to go.

Webber also moved ahead of Vettel, but the newly crowned world champion was set to improve before hitting traffic in the final sector.

Marussia driver Jules Bianchi then spun exiting Turn 1 and hit the barriers, preventing further improvements for several minutes.

Everyone subsequently switched to the softer Pirelli tyre for their low-fuel runs.

Button was the first to strike, with a lap in 1m41.956s. He was soon surpassed by Hamilton, but still ended up sixth as McLaren continued its decent Abu Dhabi form.

Vettel finally took the honours with a 1m41.349s lap, all but matching his best from free practice two, in the final three minutes.

Hamilton had a big moment at the last corner as he tried to improve, and ended up being pipped by a late charge from Webber.

Behind Rosberg, Romain Grosjean’s Lotus was fifth fastest, while both Saubers proved competitive, Nico Hulkenberg finishing seventh, one spot ahead of Esteban Gutierrez.

Raikkonen had a minor moment in the final 20 minutes and ended up ninth.

Ferrari continued to struggle on both the hard and soft tyres, Fernando Alonso ending up 11th, Felipe Massa 14th.

Pos  Driver               Team/Car              Time       Gap      Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel     Red Bull-Renault      1m41.349s           19
 2.  Mark Webber          Red Bull-Renault      1m41.571s  +0.222s  17
 3.  Lewis Hamilton       Mercedes              1m41.580s  +0.231s  18
 4.  Nico Rosberg         Mercedes              1m41.721s  +0.372s  19
 5.  Romain Grosjean      Lotus-Renault         1m41.832s  +0.483s  19
 6.  Jenson Button        McLaren-Mercedes      1m41.956s  +0.607s  19
 7.  Nico Hulkenberg      Sauber-Ferrari        1m42.055s  +0.706s  19
 8.  Esteban Gutierrez    Sauber-Ferrari        1m42.282s  +0.933s  19
 9.  Kimi Raikkonen       Lotus-Renault         1m42.387s  +1.038s  18
10.  Jean-Eric Vergne     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m42.457s  +1.108s  21
11.  Fernando Alonso      Ferrari               1m42.516s  +1.167s  15
12.  Paul di Resta        Force India-Mercedes  1m42.681s  +1.332s  23
13.  Valtteri Bottas      Williams-Renault      1m42.698s  +1.349s  19
14.  Felipe Massa         Ferrari               1m42.702s  +1.353s  16
15.  Daniel Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m42.727s  +1.378s  18
16.  Pastor Maldonado     Williams-Renault      1m42.798s  +1.449s  18
17.  Adrian Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  1m42.989s  +1.640s  22
18.  Sergio Perez         McLaren-Mercedes      1m43.142s  +1.793s  15
19.  Giedo van der Garde  Caterham-Renault      1m44.472s  +3.123s  20
20.  Charles Pic          Caterham-Renault      1m44.728s  +3.379s  21
21.  Max Chilton          Marussia-Cosworth     1m45.621s  +4.272s  20
22.  Jules Bianchi        Marussia-Cosworth     1m47.506s  +6.157s  15

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