F1 Abu Dhabi FP1&2 Results & Report: Vettel, Hamilton Lead Title Contenders Friday

What Happens When It’s a Slightly Surprising Saturday

9:34am EST — It was a Friday of title contenders at the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi, with the long-shots leading both practice sessions. Sebastian Vettel (1:42.760) had a substantial lead over Lewis Hamilton in the first session, marred by a morning rainshower, that led to a damp and then dry track in the desert. Hamilton (1:40.888) was quicker than second fastest Vettel in the second session, though the odd man out was a surprisingly quick Fernando Alonso, sixth in the first session and third fastest after leading the second session. Typically, Ferrari and Alonso are well down the order on Friday, waiting until Saturday to pounce, but it was not the case for the final round of 2010. Mark Webber was fourth fastest in both sessions, just a thousandth slower than Alonso in the second.

Vettel (1:42.760) was quickest in the first session, leading Hamilton, Button, Webber, and Kubica as the fastest five, with Alonso a quicker then usual on Friday sixth fastest. In a surprise bit of weather for the desert, the circuit was damp at the beginning of the first practice session of the final race of the 2010 season after a bit of morning rain in Abu Dhabi, recalling the season opening MotoGP Qatar race postponed until Monday two or three years ago. It dried moderately quickly though remained damp in patches. Both McLaren and Red Bull were switching out parts on their four cars, with new bits to test. Webber was running with the vis-flow paint on his Red Bull. Still, there weren’t any particularly faster times until thirty minutes remained. As has become usual, Vettel’s pace was fastest, though Hamilton was close until the very end of the session, when Vettel was able to drop into the 1:43s, where no one could match him. He ended the session six tenths faster than Hamilton, a second faster that third fastest Button. Barrichello stopped on track at the end of the session with not word as to the reason why. Multiple drivers did go off during the damp, but only over the asphalt run-off areas.

Times at the End of FP1:

Driver Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel 1:42.760 18
2. Lewis Hamilton 1:43.369 +.609 16
3. Jenson Button 1:43.785 +1.025 19
4. Mark Webber 1:43.840 +1. 080 19
5. Robert Kubica 1:44.080 +1.320 19
6. Fernando Alonso 1:44.121 +1.361 17
7. Michael Schumacher 1:44.199 +1.439 19
8. Kamui Kobayashi 1:44.604 +1.844 18
9. Nico Rosberg 1:44.718 +1.958 19
10. Nick Heidfeld 1:44.737 +1.977 19
11. Felipe Massa 1:45.160 +2.400 18
12. Vitaly Petrov 1:45.445 +2.685 21
13. Rubens Barrichello 1:45.474 +2.714 15
14. Adrian Sutil 1:45.552 +2.792 20
15. Tonio Liuzzi 1:45.585 +2.825 14
16. Jaime Alguersuari 1:46.003 +3.243 20
17. Nico Hulkenberg 1:46.644 +3.884 19
18. Sebastien Buemi 1:47.105 +4.345 22
19. Timo Glock 1:48.450 +5.690 19
20. Jarno Trulli 1:48.472 +5.712 17
21. Lucas di Grassi 1:49.375 +6.615 13
22. Bruno Senna 1:49.590 +6.830 18
23. Christian Klien 1:50.274 +7.514 17
24. Fairuz Fauzy 1:51.705 +8.945 18

Hamilton (1:40.888) finished the second session on top of the timesheets, leading Vettel, Alonso, Webber, and Kubica as the fastest five. It was a generally uneventful session, with Alonso and Hamilton fighting for the fastest lap early on, only for Hamilton to take the lead and not relinquish it with the only lap in the 1:40s range. Felipe Massa, sixth fastest, was out of the session with twenty minutes left, apparently having run out of fuel. There were a few spins and off-track excursions, but all were saved by the large asphalt run-off areas at the Yas Marina circuit. Vettel was nearly two tenths off Hamilton’s pace, with Alonso another almost two tenths, though Webber was just a thousandth slower than the points leader.

Many of the drivers were straight out in the second Friday practice session, with times set early. Ten minutes into the session, Alonso (1:42.474) led Button, Hamilton, Schumacher, Barrichello, Liuzzi, Rosberg, Alguersuari, and Hulkenberg as the fastest ten. Hamilton and Button had led in the very early minutes. Hamilton was again tops just after the ten minute mark by eight tenths over Alonso. Massa was up into third fastest soon after. Nearly fifteen minutes in and only Webber, Vettel, Kobayashi, and Kubica had yet to set times though all had completed an installation lap. Alonso quickly returned the favor to go fastest, a bit unusual of the second Friday practice, as the Ferrari driver is typically well down the order during the first practice and in the middle of the top ten in the second before a much quicker Saturday practice and qualifying. Nearly twenty minutes into the hour and a half session had most of the drivers back in their garages after one long run and Alonso (1:41.473) leading Hamilton, Massa, Button, Webber, Schumacher, Kubica, Liuzzi, Rosberg, and Petrov as the fastest ten, 1.6s covering all of them. Webber had been sixth fastest his first run before moving up to fifth. He was joined by Vettel in sixth on the German’s first run. Hamilton was just under two tenths slower than Alonso.

Ten minutes later and with the session one third done some of the drivers were returning to the track, though both Ferraris were “changing rear wings. Fernando will go back to FP1 wing, Felipe will have the lower downforce,” according to the team on Twitter, with both also on the harder tire compound. The quickly rejoined the running, which had Alonso, Hamilton, Kubica, Webber, and Button as the fastest five. Vettel was eighth fastest. Alonso bettered his time by nine thousandths to be a neat two tenths faster than Hamilton with fifty minutes left. Webber was second fastest and just under nine hundredths slower than Alonso at the halfway mark of the session. Vettel had moved up to fifth fastest. Button and Massa were sixth and seventh fastest, which might indicate an inability to go fast enough to be a major help to their respective championship fighting teammates. Of course, on Friday, one never knows.

Hamilton, though was under investigation after the session. Whilst planning to dive into the pit lane, he came across Bruno Senna on the racing line and the pit entrance. The Briton jinked to the right to go around him, going well off the circuit before diving across Senna’s bow and crossing the white line to enter the pits. Hulkenberg was the first to attempt a lap on the softer tires, dropping from 1:42.449 to 1:42.758 in the darkening landscape. The practice sessions had been moved back to better approximate the day-into-night conditions of the race.

“Fernando went back to the lower downforce rear wing…and both Felipe and Fernando are going out now on softs,” according to Ferrari with just over a half hour to run. Vettel had slid into second fastest, just seven hundredths off of Alonso’s time. Massa had a spin on his brand-new tires. Hamilton went fastest at the half hour remaining mark, leading Alonso, Vettel, Webber, and Kubica with a 1:41.213 while Alguersuari was sitting backwards in a tiny run-off area having spun and nearly hit the wall at Turn 19, but he saved it and was merely stuck with an un-moving car. Alonso bettered his time, though could not be faster than Hamilton with the local yellow slowing his and others’ laps. He was only a tenth slower than Hamilton, until the Briton posted an extremely fast 1:40.888. Webber also had a bit of an off-track excursion, though it made little difference with all the asphalt run-offs. With just over twenty minutes left in the session, Massa had pulled off the track, scuppering yet more of the soft tire, high-speed runs that might have been occurring. He had been running sixth fastest, while Ferrari only said that it had been “a technical issue. ” In a radio transmission that was later played, Massa said the car had run out of fuel.

Vettel went second fastest with a 1:41.145 just under the twenty minute mark, leaving Hamilton leading, with Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Kubica, Massa, Petrov, Button, Liuzzi, and Rosberg the fastest ten. Of the top ten, only Petrov and Vettel were on the track with fifteen minutes left, though others joined them. After quite a bit of ribbing on Twitter, Ferrari noted, “There was a fuel issue on Felipe’s car but we need to wait for the car back in the garage to be more precise…Fernando is out on soft tyres and high fuel for the final run.” In the final few minutes, it was all about soft tires and high fuel, as Alonso was running, so the times did not change.

Final Times at the End of FP2:

Driver Time Gap Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton 1:40.888 25
2. Sebastian Vettel 1:41.145 +.257 28
3. Fernando Alonso 1:41.314 +.426 29
4. Mark Webber 1:41.315 +.427 29
5. Robert Kubica 1:41.576 +.688 31
6. Felipe Massa 1:41.583 +.695 21
7. Vitaly Petrov 1:42.096 +1.208 31
8. Jenson Button 1:42.132 +1.244 28
9. Tonio Liuzzi 1:42.203 +1.315 31
10. Nico Rosberg 1:42.222 +1.334 29
11. Michael Schumacher 1:42.246 +1.358 29
12. Nico Hulkenberg 1:42.449 +1.561 32
13. Adrian Sutil 1:42.535 +1.647 21
14. Kamui Kobayashi 1:42.768 +1.880 26
15. Rubens Barrichello 1:42.914 +2.026 37
16. Nick Heidfeld 1:42.950 +2.062 34
17. Jamie Alguersuari 1:43.128 +2.240 17
18. Sebastien Buemi 1:43.584 +2.696 33
19. Heikki Kovalainen 1:45.180 +4.292 36
20. Timo Glock 1:45.259 +4.371 31
21. Jarno Trulli 1:45.612 +4.724 35
22. Lucas di Grassi 1:46.053 +5.165 29
23. Christian Klien 1:47.210 +6.322 32
24. Bruno Senna 1:47.434 +6.546 28

1 Comment

  1. I am so happy that Vettel won the Championship. Alonso just didn’t deserve it, because Ferrari once again used Teamorder to have him win this year. Well it didn’t work out that way.

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