Sebastian Vettel again led the way on the timesheets at Abu Dhabi

Sebastian Vettel has carried his Friday practice form into Saturday’s final practice session ahead for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The German led another Red Bull Racing 1-2 on the timesheets, beating teammate Mark Webber to top spot by 0.222 seconds.

The timing of the last practice session presented conditions which will bear little resemblance to the twilight qualifying session in a few hours time, making it difficult to get a true picture of who will potentially be able to challenge the Red Bulls over the three qualifying mini-sessions.

Nonetheless, the entire field still took up the opportunity to put in more laps than are usually seen in the one-hour hit-out, with most choosing to put some extra miles on Pirelli’s Medium compound tyre, the harder of the two dry-weather sets on offer.

Vettel was quickest of the pack during this phase of running, keeping Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg at bay before the grid switched to the Soft-compound tyres for some qualifying-style simulations.

The soft tyre running was shortened further courtesy of a spin for Jules Bianchi at Turn 2, which triggered a localised yellow flag and prevented some of the runners from putting in a truly representative flying lap.

Despite this, Vettel still continued his dominance with a fastest lap time of 1:41.349, while teammate Webber moved into second place on the timing screens, ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton, while Rosberg fell to fourth-fastest.

Romain Grosjean bounced back from his Friday practice woes – where a brake disc shattered – to finish the session a solid fifth-fastest, ahead of Jenson Button’s McLaren and the impressive Saubers of Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez.

The Ferraris were again off the paceKimi Räikkönen – who has been under the media spotlight this weekend like never before – was ninth-fastest, with Jean-Éric Vergne rounding out the top-ten in his Toro Rosso, showing much improved speed from what was witnessed on Friday.

The worrying sign was the lack of pace coming from the two Ferraris – as was the case in Friday’s first practice session – neither Fernando Alonso nor Felipe Massa able to crack the top ten. Alonso finished eleventh-fastest, while Massa was three spots further adrift.

Down at the bottom of the timing monitors, the Caterhams were comfortably quicker than the Marussia duo of Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi, with Giedo van der Garde beating teammate Charles Pic to the tune of 0.156 seconds on the stopwatch.

Qualifying gets underway at 5:00pm local time (GMT +5).

2013 Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 3 Session Times:

Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel DEU Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:41.349   19
2. Mark Webber AUS Red Bull Racing Renault RB9 1:41.571 + 0.222 17
3. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:41.580 + 0.231 18
4. Nico Rosberg DEU Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04 1:41.721 + 0.372 19
5. Romain Grosjean FRA Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:41.832 + 0.483 19
6. Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:41.956 + 0.607 19
7. Nico Hülkenberg DEU Sauber Ferrari C32 1:42.055 + 0.706 19
8. Esteban Gutiérrez MEX Sauber Ferrari C32 1:42.282 + 0.933 19
9. Kimi Räikkönen FIN Lotus F1 Renault E21 1:42.387 + 1.038 18
10. Jean-Éric Vergne FRA Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:42.457 + 1.108 21
11. Fernando Alonso ESP Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:42.516 + 1.167 15
12. Paul di Resta GBR Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:42.681 + 1.332 23
13. Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams Renault FW35 1:42.698 + 1.349 19
14. Felipe Massa BRA Scuderia Ferrari F138 1:42.702 + 1.353 16
15. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8 1:42.727 + 1.378 18
16. Pastor Maldonado VEN Williams Renault FW35 1:42.798 + 1.449 18
17. Adrian Sutil DEU Force India Mercedes VJM06 1:42.989 + 1.640 22
18. Sergio Pérez MEX McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 1:43.142 + 1.793 15
19. Giedo van der Garde NED Caterham Renault CT03 1:44.472 + 3.123 20
20. Charles Pic FRA Caterham Renault CT03 1:44.728 + 3.379 21
21. Max Chilton GBR Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:45.621 + 4.272 20
22. Jules Bianchi FRA Marussia Cosworth MR02 1:47.506 + 6.157 15

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.