Sebastian Vettel led a Red Bull Racing 1-2 in Friday's second practice session at Abu Dhabi

Order was restored in Friday’s second practice session at the Yas Marina Circuit, with a Red Bull Racing 1-2 that was led by Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel was one-tenth of a second faster than teammate Mark Webber, and three-tenths faster than Lewis Hamilton, who finished the session third-quickest in his Mercedes.

It was a similar story when the teams performed their long runs. Red Bull was consistently recording times in the 1m46s range, where as rivals Mercedes and Lotus could only manage best times of mid 1m47s. On this basis, it looks set to be another race poised to be dominated by the bulls.

The twilight session – with its conditions much more representative of what will be present in Saturday’s qualifying and Sunday’s race – gave teams much more of an understanding on tyres and car performance. The air and track temperature had dropped quite a bit since FP1; track temperature dropped from 47°C to 38°C between the two sessions.

McLaren's set-up choices could make them a player in Sunday's raceInterestingly, McLaren took a different set-up approach by running a slimmer rear wing to improve straightline speed, thus topping the speed trap. The lack of downforce means they will be considerably slower in in the high-speed final sector of the lap, however they will be incredibly hard to pass in a straight line, which could cause headaches for front running teams on different race strategies.

There were a brake failures throughout the session. Max Chilton’s brake duct fell off his Marussia at Turn 11, while Paul Di Resta suffered a puncture that cut into the inside wall of his front left tyre, possibly also caused by a faulty brake duct. Romain Grosjean’s session was interrupted when his front right brake disc shattered.

Unlike India, we won’t be seeing drivers dive for the pits after two laps as the soft compound performs much better at the Yas Marina Circuit. Expect around 12-15 laps to be run before the first pit stop for those starting on the softer Pirelli rubber.

After a slow opening practice session, Fernando Alonso managed to place his Ferrari in the top ten with the eighth-fastest time, just ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in the Sauber, with the German looking good to collect some decent points come Sunday after retiring from a points-paying position a week ago in Delhi.

Aside from the Red Bulls’ incredible race-simulation pace, the only driver who looked close to catching them was Kimi Raikkonen, who was setting times in the mid to low 1:47s on his high-fuel runs.

Webber closed the gap to Vettel down to one-tenth of a second in his qualifying-style simulation, but was faster in the long runs by session’s end, giving Vettel something to worry about.

Saturday’s final practice session at the Yas Marina Circuit gets underway at 2pm local time (GMT +4), followed by qualifying at 5:00pm.

2013 Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 2 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:41.335   35
2. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:41.490 + 0.155 32
3. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:41.690 + 0.355 37
4. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:41.726 + 0.391 42
5. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:41.758 + 0.423 41
6. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:42.006 + 0.671 36
7. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:42.010 + 0.675 31
8. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:42.171 + 0.836 31
9. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:42.324 + 0.989 41
10. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:42.440 + 1.105 36
11. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:42.509 + 1.174 39
12. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:42.607 + 1.272 18
13. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:42.806 + 1.471 27
14. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:42.952 + 1.617 36
15. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:42.998 + 1.663 27
16. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:43.152 + 1.817 29
17. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:43.271 + 1.936 36
18. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:43.565 + 2.230 36
19. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:44.138 + 2.803 35
20. Jules Bianchi FRA Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:44.459 + 3.124 35
21. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 1:44.525 + 3.190 38
22. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:45.565 + 4.230 27

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Richard Bailey

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Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.