While the track temperatures may have cooled in the Abu Dhabi evening, Lewis Hamilton has set things alight by going quickest in Friday’s second practice session at Yas Marina, heading a McLaren 1-2 a session where Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso both crashed out at Turn 1.
With the opening session earlier today delivering plenty in the way of spins and wild off-track moments, the evening’s running under a full moon proved little different as drivers explored the limits of adhesion on the slippery track surface.
The 90-minute session saw a host of names take turns at the top of the timing sheets, although eventually it would be the McLaren pair of Hamilton and Jenson Button who would lock out the top-two spots before the field switched to heavier fuel-load running.
Despite claims that it had resolved its build quality issues with Felipe Massa’s front wing after the Indian Grand Prix, Ferrari’s newer-spec front wing again flailed alarmingly with the Brazilian behind the wheel, throwing up plenty of sparks along the track’s two longest straights.
The front-running Red Bull drivers also had their own dramas: Mark Webber spun at Turn 19, before Vettel lost control at Turn 1 and slid gently into the barriers. Marshals recovered his car back to the pit lane, and he was impressively able to rejoin the field with ten minutes to go.
Just fifteen minutes after Vettel’s accident, Fernando Alonso went off at the same corner, although his accident was more damaging to his Ferrari, ruling him out of action for the rest of the day.
Despite this, he’d still managed the third-fastest time of the session, while team-mate Massa was fourth-fastest.
Continuing the Noah’s Ark treatment – signifying how clearly car-dependent this weekend will be – the Red Bulls were next up, followed by Michael Schumacher’s Mercedes GP and and both Force India runners. Nico Rosberg’s sister Mercedes was 20th-fastest, with the German running a different programme.
2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||1:39.586||31|
|2.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-26||+ 0.199||30|
|3.||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 0.385||20|
|4.||Felipe Massa||Ferrari F150° Italia||+ 0.394||34|
|5.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 0.518||35|
|6.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Renault RB7||+ 0.546||26|
|7.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes GP W02||+ 0.967||34|
|8.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 1.365||34|
|9.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM04||+ 1.435||37|
|10.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 1.904||34|
|11.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C30||+ 1.979||34|
|12.||Sébastien Buemi||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 2.094||33|
|13.||Vitaly Petrov||Renault R31||+ 2.361||31|
|14.||Jaime Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari STR6||+ 2.397||34|
|15.||Bruno Senna||Renault R31||+ 2.783||36|
|16.||Rubens Barrichello||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 3.212||35|
|17.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Cosworth FW33||+ 3.324||34|
|18.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus Renault T128||+ 3.976||36|
|19.||Jarno Trulli||Lotus Renault T128||+ 4.464||38|
|20.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes GP W02||+ 4.679||41|
|21.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 5.900||34|
|22.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Virgin Racing Cosworth MVR-02||+ 6.556||32|
|23.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 6.663||21|
|24.||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT F1 Cosworth F111||+ 6.742||34|
[Image via Sutton Images]