Final practice - Red Bull show their hand 13 Nov 2010
As many of their rivals suspected they would, Red Bull found a little bit more pace in Saturday afternoons final practice session in Abu Dhabi, and Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber set the fastest times of the weekend. The German lapped in 1m 40.696s, and the Australian was just 0.133s adrift with 1m 40.829s.
Lewis Hamilton was unable to match yesterdays 1m 40.888s but was third fastest for McLaren on 1m 41.280s, with Fernando Alonso fourth for Ferrari on 1m 41.490s and Jenson Button fifth on 1m 41.578s. The outgoing champion was much happier with his MP4-25s balance and was on a faster lap when he ran wide in the final sector.
Vitaly Petrov had the faster Renault, the Russian posting sixth fastest time in 1m 41.689s to pip Michael Schumachers Mercedes by a thousandth of a second as the German lapped in 1m 41.690s. Their team mates were close by, with Nico Rosberg next on 1m 41.729s and Robert Kubica on 1m 41.877s. Nick Heidfeld completed the top 10 for BMW Sauber with 1m 41.893s ahead of Nico Hulkenbergs Williams on 1m 41.934s and Felipe Massas Ferrari on 1m 41.978s.
Rubens Barrichello was 13th in the second Williams on 1m 42.316s from BMW Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi on 1m 42.566s and the Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi on 1m 42.587s and 1m 42.858s respectively. Jaime Alguersuari completed the runners below 1m 43s with 1m 42.993s for Toro Rosso. His partner Sebastien Buemi was next on 1m 43.344s, with Heikki Kovalainen heading the heated new team battle with 1m 44.876s for Lotus. Behind the Finn, team mate Jarno Trulli just headed Timo Glocks Virgin, 1m 45.048s to 1m 45.050s, with Bruno Senna turning a strong 1m 45.490s from Lucas di Grassi on 1m 45.629s in the second Virgin and Sennas HRT team mate Christian Klien on 12m 46.464s.
Thus the scene is set for one of the most crucial qualifying sessions of the year, with the Red Bulls starting as favourites and Hamilton and McLaren as the dark horse.
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