• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP3

Vettel quickest ahead of qualifying

ESPNF1 Staff
November 13, 2010
Sebastian Vettel was quickest of all in FP3 © Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel scored a psychological advantage ahead of Saturday's all important qualifying session by setting the fastest time of the final session of free practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver clocked a quickest lap time of 1:41.252 to finish ahead of team-mate Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso on a sunny afternoon at the Yas Marina circuit.

It was the drivers' last chance to find the optimum balance ahead of qualifying and it was clear that the McLarens were fastest in sector two but Red Bull had the edge in sector three. All the lead cars appeared to be carrying a reasonably heavy fuel load, meaning the gaps between the drivers may not be representative of their true pace.

Alonso and Ferrari appeared confident despite being outpaced by all three championship rivals. The Spaniard set his best time earlier in the session and then sat back in the garage as Vettel, Webber and Hamilton thrashed it out in the final five minutes.

Jenson Button appears to have found a better pace in his McLaren with the fifth fastest time, but he is still visibly struggling with the balance and ran wide in sector three on his final attempt. The McLarens and Renaults are using their efficient F-ducts to their advantage in sector two, which is made up of two long straights.

Vitaly Petrov in particular has a good top-end speed and set the sixth fastest time ahead of team-mate Robert Kubica in ninth. Splitting the two Renaults were the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, with less than a tenth of a second separating the two Germans.

Felipe Massa again struggled with his Ferrari and finished the session 12th fastest, behind the Sauber of Nick Heidfeld and Nico Hulkenberg's Williams.

At the back of the grid, the two Lotuses led the battle of the new teams.