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Practice One - Vettel sets strong early pace 12 Nov 2010

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB6.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 19, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 12 November 2010 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB6.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 19, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 12 November 2010 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 19, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 12 November 2010 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 19, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice Day, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 12 November 2010

For a while the gap between Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren was a tantalizing 0.192s. But then with two minutes of this morning’s hour and a half session left the German slammed in a lap fully 0.609s faster than the 2008 champion. It was a serious message, even at this early stage of proceedings.

Vettel’s penultimate best was 1m 43.177s to Hamilton’s 1m 43.369s, but then he cut down to 1m 42.760s to leave rivals open-jawed.

McLaren’s Jenson Button was third fastest in the other MP4-25 on 1m 43.785s, which pipped Mark Webber’s 1m 43.840s in the second Red Bull. They were the only four drivers below 1m 44s, though Renault’s Robert Kubica and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso got close with 1m 44.080s and 1m 44.121s respectively.

Michael Schumacher’s improved form continued as he lapped his Mercedes seventh fastest in 1m 44.199s, then there was a bit of a jump to Kamui Kobayashi’s 1m 44.604s for BMW Sauber which left the Japanese driver eighth ahead of Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg on 1m 44.718s and BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld on 1m 44.737s.

Felipe Massa was 11th in the second Ferrari on 1m 45.160s, chased by Renault’s Vitaly Petrov on 1m 45.445s, Williams’ Rubens Barrichello, who stopped out on track at the end of the session, on 1m 45.474s, and the two Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi on 1m 45.552s and 1m 45.585s respectively.

Jaime Alguersuari was again Toro Rosso’s faster runner, on 1m 46.003s, ahead of Brazil hero Nico Hulkenberg on 1m 46.644s in the Williams and Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi on 1m 47.105s.

Timo Glock was the fastest new team runner for Virgin with 1m 48.450s ahead of Jarno Trulli’s Lotus (1m 48.472s) and his own team mate Lucas di Grassi on 1m 49.375s. Bruno Senna’s was the faster HRT on 1m 49.590s, ahead of Christian Klien on 1m 50.274s. At the back came Fairuz Fauzy (deputising for the session for Heikki Kovalainen in the second Lotus), on 1m 51.705s.

Practice began on a damp and slippery track after a shower in the previous Porsche practice session, and several drivers went off then, and later when it had dried fully. These included Fauzy, Hamilton, Glock, Schumacher, Rosberg, Alguersuari, Petrov, Klien, Vettel and Massa, though going off the road here really just means exploring the huge run-off areas.

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