• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - FP3

Vettel and Webber fastest again, Mercedes best of the rest

ESPN Staff
November 2, 2013
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Sebastian Vettel continued in dominant form at this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by setting the fastest time of the final practice session ahead of qualifying.

Vettel was 0.222s faster than his closest rival, Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber, while Lewis Hamilton mustered a time 0.231s off Vettel's best while visibly pushing the limits of his car's performance. Nico Rosberg confirmed Mercedes position as best of the rest by finishing the session fourth fastest and a tenth clear of Lotus driver Romain Grosjean.

The Lotus was clearly running a high level of downforce as it was off the pace in sector two but quick in the twisty final sector. That suggests the team is confident of Grosjean's chances of qualifying high up the grid as his low straight-line speed will make it tricky to overtake on Sunday.

Jenson Button will have taken some pride in finishing the session sixth fastest and 0.607s off Vettel, while the Saubers of Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez also showed impressive form in seventh and eighth. Kimi Raikkonen, who reverted to the short wheelbase version of his Lotus on Saturday, could only manage the ninth fastest time ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso in tenth.

Ferrari continued to struggle for pace, with Fernando Alonso 11th fastest and Felipe Massa 14th. With the Saubers and McLarens looking competitive this weekend there is a genuine risk the Ferraris could struggle to make the top ten in qualifying, which will be a serious blow in the team's fight for second in the constructors' championship.

The session again saw several drivers stray off the circuit as they struggled for grip, but none did in quite as dramatic a fashion as Jules Bianchi. The rear of his Marussia snapped away from him at high speed in Turn 1, spinning him into barrier and out of the session. It was not immediately clear if the accident was due to driver error or an issue with the car.

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