• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP2

Lewis Hamilton hits the front in free practice 2

ESPNF1 Staff
November 12, 2010

Lewis Hamilton ramped up the intensity before Saturday's all-important qualifying session by setting the fastest time of the second session of free practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver, still in with a slim mathematical chance of the title, clocked a best effort of 1:40.888 to finish ahead of title rivals Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber as the sun began to set on the spectacular Yas Marina setting.

Despite the sudden drop in temperature, the lap times from the first practice session improved as the track rubbered in, Hamilton going fastest before his time was bettered by Alonso and Vettel. With soft tyres the order of the day, Hamilton then jumped to the top of the timesheets once again with a 1:40.888. It proved to be enough and it will be interesting to see if the McLaren man can throw a spanner in the works of the title favourites on Saturday.

However, the times at the top were slightly skewed by a yellow flag during the top drivers' hot laps and Webber and Vettel making mistakes on one of their runs. Alonso complained of oversteer on his fast laps, adding, "I don't know what we can do" over the team radio.

If the opening practice session was something of a dull affair, the evening proved more eventful, Lewis Hamilton nearly colliding with Bruno Senna's HRT at the end of a flying lap. The incident is being investigated by the stewards but would most likely result in a monetary fine rather than a sporting penalty.

Adding to the drama, Jaime Alguersuari spun his Toro Rosso at turn 19, causing the yellow flag at a crucial time for his rivals and leaving his car stranded on the circuit. A few laps later Felipe Massa ground to a halt, his Ferrari running out of fuel possibly due to a pick-up problem.

Outside the four title contenders, Robert Kubica was 0.688 seconds off Hamilton in fifth with Massa setting a respectable lap for sixth before his car stopped. Vitaly Petrov confirmed Renault's pace with the seventh fastest time, ahead of Jenson Button who again struggled with the front wheels locking under braking in his McLaren.

Tonio Liuzzi made a welcome appearance in the top 10 in his hastily-prepared chassis for this race - his race chassis was written off in Brazil - and Nico Rosberg rounded off the top ten, 0.024 ahead of his Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher.

At the bottom of the timesheets, Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock battled it out for supremacy among the three new teams. As it stands, with Lotus leading Virgin in the championship courtesy of a higher race finish, it looks as though Richard Branson is going to lose out on his bet to Tony Fernandes and be forced to dress as a stewardess on an Air Asia flight.