• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP2

Vettel heads Hamilton in FP2

ESPN Staff
November 2, 2012
Sebastian Vettel was less than 0.2s quicker than Lewis Hamilton © Sutton Images

Sebastian Vettel edged out Lewis Hamilton as the pair finished half a second ahead of the rest of the field in second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton had once again set the pace during the opening part of the session on medium tyres, but when drivers switched to the softs as the floodlights took effect it was Vettel who took top spot with a 1:41.751. He was 0.168s quicker than Hamilton's best time on the soft tyres after the McLaren driver only went marginally quicker than his run on the medium tyres. Vettel also made the unusual choice of switching back to the medium compound tyres for his practice start at the end of the race.

Jenson Button was third quickest on a 1:42.412 as McLaren remained competitive, with Mark Webber a close fourth on a 1:42.466. However, Webber did not enjoy the smoothest session as his running came to a premature end with a cooling issue that manifested itself as a puddle of fluid in flowing from his car as it left the garage.

The Lotuses of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Riakkonen were fifth and sixth fastest, ahead of Fernando Alonso, who seemed to struggle for one-lap pace despite a raft of upgrades on his car. His long-run pace was faster than the Red Bulls and McLarens, but so much so that Martin Whitmarsh was led to believe that the Ferrari must have been on a lower fuel load than its rivals.

Williams' Pastor Maldonado and Sauber's Sergio Perez resumed their usual positions at the slower end of the top ten, 1.2s off Vettel's pace but ahead of the Force Indias and Mercedes. Nico Rosberg could only manage the 12th fastest time and Michael Schumacher was 1.516s off the pace in 14th.

However, with fuel loads unknown the grid may well take a different shape after qualifying on Saturday evening.