Lewis laps up Abu Dhabi third

2012-11-03 15:50

ABU DHABI, UAE - Briton Lewis Hamilton topped the times for McLaren in Saturday's third free practice session for this weekend's Abu Dhabi Formula 1 GP.

The 27-year-old former World champion, who will move  to Mercedes in 2013r, clocked a best time of 1min42.130 at the end of a one-hour session that he dominated ahead of his team mate and compatriot Jenson Button.

Defending World champion and current series leader Sebastian Vettel produced the third-fastest lap in the final seconds after being stranded in the Red Bull garage for most of the session for work on the rear brakes.


He finally joined the fray with only three minutes remaining and without a timed flying lap on the board but produced his familiar speed as he leapt from last to third.

His nearest championship rival, double champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, was only eighth-fastest and team mate Brazilian Felipe Massa 11th on the day after the Italian team had broken F1’s curfew for the second successive night. This rule defines the hours when the teams are not permitted to be in the paddock working and Ferrari has now used up two of their permitted four breaks in the space of as many days.

Alonso has been given a revised front wing, new under-chassis barge boards and rear wing to use at the Yas Marina circuit but appeared to struggle to produce a fast lap time in third practice.

Vettel's brief cameo of speed was a crushing psychological blow to Alonso and Ferrari as he appeared to find the pace of car and circuit almost immediately in searing heat that produced an air temperature of 32 degrees and a track temperature of 44.


Only McLaren produced the speed and consistency to emerge as real challengers with a hope of ending Red Bull's roller-coaster run of dominance and wreck their hopes of a fourth consecutive front-row lockout, a feat most recently achieved by McLaren back in 1998.

Nico Hulkenberg, moving to Sauber for 2013, was fifth fastest for Force India ahead of the leading Lotus of Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado of Williams and eighth-placed Alonso. Kimi Raikkonen was ninth in the second Lotus ahead of Paul di Resta in the second Force India, Massa, and McLaren-bound Mexican Sergio Perez of Sauber.

The Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and seven-times champion Michael Schumacher were 13th and 14th.

2012 Abu Dhabi F1 GP Third free practice times
1 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren 1min 42.130
2 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren 1min42.420
3 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull 1min42.614
4 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull 1min42.743
5 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India 1min42.750
6 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus 1min43.015
7 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams 1min43.064
8 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 1min43.133
9 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus 1min43.184
10 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India 1min43.338
11 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 1min43.480,
12 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber 1min43.571
13 Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes 1min43.593
14 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes 1min43.635
15 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber 1min44.010
16 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Toro Rosso 1min44.025
17 Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams 1min44.071
18 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Toro Rosso 1min44.149
19 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham 1min45.301
20 Timo Glock (GER) Marussia 1min45.879
21 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia 1min46.036
22 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Caterham 1min46.261
23 Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) HRT 1min46.554
24 Narain Karthikeyan (IND) HRT 1min47.032