• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP3

Hamilton dominates final practice

ESPNF1 Staff
November 12, 2011
Lewis Hamilton was over 0.4s faster than any other driver in final practice © Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton set a blistering pace in the final practice session at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, beating the Red Bulls by 0.427s over a single lap ahead of qualifying.

Hamilton hooked up several quick laps on the soft tyres, finding masses of time in the twisty final sector which is traditionally Red Bull territory. Sebastian Vettel got closest but came across traffic in the final sector of his final lap, although he was losing the most time to Hamilton along the high-speed straights in sector two.

Mark Webber was third fastest overall but was quickest in the first two sectors combined, losing 0.4s to Hamilton in the final sector alone. Jenson Button, who continued to make adjustments to his car throughout the session, was fourth fastest and within a tenth of the two Red Bulls.

Fernando Alonso pushed hard but simply did not have the same level of grip in the final sector as the McLarens and Red Bulls and found himself fifth, 0.685s off Hamilton. After focusing on race pace on Friday, Nico Rosberg showed what he was capable of with the sixth fastest time, albeit over a second off Hamilton.

Felipe Massa had another tricky session and had to settle for the seventh fastest time. For his soft tyre laps Ferrari reverted to using a Singapore-spec front wing after struggling with violent vibrations with a development wing on Friday. Massa's best time was just 0.246s faster than Adrian Sutil, but that's as much a sign of the Force India's strength at this circuit as a black mark against the Ferrari driver.

Paul di Resta also looked quick in the second Force India, pulling himself to within a 0.1s of Sutil, who has looked quicker all weekend. Michael Schumacher rounded out the top ten but was 1.962s off the pace and again struggled to make the chicanes at the end of the long straights on occasion.

The Renaults look as though they will struggle to make Q3 this evening, with Bruno Senna 11th fastest and Vitaly Petrov slower than the two Saubers in 14th. The Toro Rossos also appear to be struggling with the 15th and 16th fastest times in final practice.

Heikki Kovalainen showed some promise in the Lotus by clocking a time faster than Rubens Barrichello, although the Williams only completed five laps due to an oil leak. Meanwhile, the second Lotus of Jarno Trulli did not set a time due to a gearbox problem.