Abu Dhabi GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report

McLaren on top in Abu Dhabi

Lewis Hamilton, Abu Dhabi GP 2011

Lewis Hamilton, Abu Dhabi GP 2011 

 © Active Pictures

Lewis Hamilton (1:39.586) and Jenson Button (1:39.785) topped the second free practice in Abu Dhabi, with McLaren looking strong in a session that saw both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso go off into the barrier at Turn 1.

Vettel's incident happened with around half an hour of the session remaining, with the world champion getting out again towards the end of practice after the lightly damaged Red Bull RB7 was returned to the pits. Vettel ended the session sixth quickest (1:40.132).

Alonso went off with 23 minutes remaining but still finished up third quickest (1:39.971), a hundredth faster than team mate Felipe Massa (1:39.980), who once again ran with a front wing that displayed distinct 'fluttering' tendencies.

Marl Webber (1:40.104) was fifth quickest, the Australian having a quick spin at Turn 19 some 35 minutes into the session.

Michael Schumacher's Mercedes (1:40.553) set seventh quickest time, the seven times champion also having a number of off track excursions. Team mate Nico Rosberg, meanwhile, finished the session down in 20th place after conducting a long run of 32 laps on the soft (option) Pirelli as he concentrated on race strategy.

Although we won't see the true picture until FP3, it does seem as if the McLarens will be in the pole position fight. The teams had two extra sets of soft tyres to play with as Pirelli conducted some testing with a new specification soft in preparation for 2012.

Motorsport boss Paul Hembery explained that this rubber was in fact a tenth of a second slower than the soft compound tyre available for the race as Pirelli concentrates on trying to achieve more resistance to heat/blistering. It's reasonable to assume therefore, that the quickest one- lap times were set on tyres designated for use in the race and are representative.

The Force Indias of Adrian Sutil (1:40.951) and Paul Di Resta (1:41.021) were eighth and ninth quickest respectively, with Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber (1:41.490) completing the top 10.

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