Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Yas Marina, 2012

Hamilton quickest as brake problem delays Vettel

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix third practicePosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Yas Marina, 2012McLaren headed the final practice session in Abu Dhabi with almost half a second in hand over Red Bull.

But Sebastian Vettel only managed a single flying lap after missing much of the 60 minutes due to a braking problem.

Lewis Hamilton set a string of laps and comfortably headed the times early in the session. As was the case on Friday, McLaren were comfortably quickest on medium tyres, Hamilton over a second quicker than the next non-McLaren.

That was Romain Grosjean’s Lotus, who was 1.113s slower than Hamilton but had visible damage on his front-right tyre from a lock-up when he was pushed back into the pits.

Vettel spent much of the session in the pits. After taking to the track for his first run he returned to the garage where the Red Bull mechanics went to work on his brakes.

Hamilton only managed to improve his time by 0.018s after switching to the soft tyres. He missed an opportunity to set another timed lap as the chequered flag came out before he could begin one. “I wish you’d told me earlier,” he said to his engineer.

Even so Hamilton ended up quickest ahead of his team mate. Vettel’s single flying lap was good enough to put him third ahead of team mate Mark Webber.

Nico Hulkenberg was fifth for Force India ahead of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.

For the second day running Ferrari had broken the curfew as they worked on their car. Fernando Alonso ended the session in eighth place, one second slower than Hamilton. Kimi Raikkonen and Paul di Resta completed the top ten.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’42.130 18
2 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’42.420 0.290 17
3 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’42.614 0.484 7
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’42.743 0.613 18
5 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’42.750 0.620 19
6 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’43.015 0.885 18
7 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’43.064 0.934 19
8 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’43.133 1.003 15
9 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’43.184 1.054 22
10 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’43.338 1.208 19
11 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’43.480 1.350 17
12 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’43.571 1.441 20
13 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’43.593 1.463 20
14 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’43.635 1.505 19
15 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’44.010 1.880 22
16 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’44.025 1.895 18
17 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’44.071 1.941 19
18 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’44.149 2.019 19
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’45.301 3.171 22
20 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’45.879 3.749 19
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’46.036 3.906 19
22 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’46.261 4.131 22
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’46.554 4.424 20
24 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’47.032 4.902 22

Combined practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 FP3 Fri/Sat diff Total laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’44.050 1’41.751 1’42.614 +0.863 64
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’43.285 1’41.919 1’42.130 +0.211 73
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’43.618 1’42.412 1’42.420 +0.008 72
4 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’44.542 1’42.466 1’42.743 +0.277 61
5 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’45.743 1’42.500 1’43.015 +0.515 72
6 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’45.422 1’42.532 1’43.184 +0.652 65
7 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’44.366 1’42.587 1’43.133 +0.546 67
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’45.587 1’43.255 1’42.750 -0.505 73
9 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’45.567 1’42.823 1’43.480 +0.657 74
10 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’45.115 1’42.998 1’43.064 +0.066 82
11 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’45.811 1’43.106 1’43.571 +0.465 78
12 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’43.191 1’44.071 +0.88 53
13 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’45.194 1’43.200 1’43.593 +0.393 75
14 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’44.694 1’43.267 1’43.635 +0.368 74
15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’43.578 1’43.338 -0.24 53
16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’45.722 1’43.689 1’44.010 +0.321 74
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’46.708 1’45.073 1’44.025 -1.048 63
18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’46.649 1’44.260 1’44.149 -0.111 70
19 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’45.245 1’46.261 +1.016 58
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’47.418 1’45.782 1’45.301 -0.481 78
21 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’45.347 25
22 Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1’45.769 22
23 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’47.891 1’46.589 1’45.879 -0.71 76
24 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’46.674 1’46.036 -0.638 41
25 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’48.354 1’46.707 1’46.554 -0.153 68
26 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’47.406 1’47.032 -0.374 57
27 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’48.887 22
28 Ma Qing Hua HRT-Cosworth 1’50.487 20
9 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault No time 3

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

39 comments on “Hamilton quickest as brake problem delays Vettel”

  1. Alonso hoped unreliability from Red Bull but for sure it wouldn’t mean now :D

  2. clap, clap, clap, well done Ferrari, those updates and the double curfew braking are really paying off in this sensible part of the season!
    They are tottally lost…

    1. In the past, Ferrari have structured their practice programmes slightly differently to the other teams, focusing on one-lap pace before FP3 rather than during it so as to keep a few tenths of a second to themselves for qualifying.

      1. As it seems Ferrari will be fighting the Lotus, Maldonado and Hulkenberg instead of RB and Mclarens, just don´t understand, so much talk and so little results… quite the opposite in RB garage.

        1. You have no idea what Ferrari’s testing programme was, and nor do you know what they spent all their time working on during both curfew breaks, so how can you say with any certainty that they have failed simply because Alonso was slower than his rivals in a one-hour practice session?

          1. I think that Keith post answers to your question.

          2. It’s pretty evident PM and we shall see it in less than 2 hours time. Ferrari are clearly on the backfoot

          3. @pnunocosta

            I think that Keith post answers to your question.

            No, Keith posted a Twitter update from Ferrari’s official account. Which is never proof of anything, because Ferrari have a history – and indeed, something of a reputation – of never giving a straight answer, downplaying their advantages and overstating their shortcomings.

          4. “You have no idea what Ferraris testing program was” All night putting new parts on and the next night taking them off ?

    2. They’re expecting a “tough” qualifying:


      Sixth-fastest team in FP3 – not a good sign.

      1. That´s my point, Ferrari are admittedly developing the car to make it stronger in qualifying and turns out the opposite. This just shows that technically they are weak. They also may still have a few tenths in the bag but not by chance 1″.

        1. I think it’s better to wait for qualifying, before drawing conclusions.

          1. @andae23 – Precisely. The rules dictate that qualifying must take place in the same conditions as the race where possible. Rain, of course, can change this, but it’s the reason why qualifying and the race are held at the same time of day. With Abu Dhabi being a twilight race, qualifying takes place much later in the day when ambient conditions are cooler, and so too is the track surface.

  3. I don’t believe for a second that Red Bull are in any genuine trouble.

    1. @prisoner-monkeys Pace wise neither do I. That Vettel was able to lap within less than .5s on one lap after those problems is cause for concern for everyone else. Plus, Hamilton didn’t set the world on fire with those softs, albeit owing to a chequered flag.

      1. Still hope we will have some Vettel – Hamilton battle for pole. But for the race, can’t see anyone matching McLaren pace on medium. Even if they don’t improve on the softs, they are still as quick as anyone else such the margin is big on medium

      2. This is why I was just rolling my eyes, listening to the BBC team trying to ramp up tension over “will Vettel get out there or won’t he?!”. At this point in the season, with the Red Bull where it is, I don’t see that mattering too much.

  4. And the McLarens are a second faster than everyone else (barring maybe Vettels RBR) on the Medium tyre, despite the Red Bull being the best car, and far superior to the rest of the field.


    1. @xjr15jaaag
      That’s because they hit all the apexes, apparently!

  5. Abu Dhabi looks set for a thriller from the c’ships perspective :)

    1. Not sure if serious…

  6. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
    3rd November 2012, 11:17

    An interesting result. If their one-lap pace is this strong, I can actually see McLaren trying to qualify on medium tyres. They can do a longer first stint on a compound they know they have pace on, before switching over to the softs (seemingly their weakness) during the middle of the race, when they are less vulnerable to attacks from other drivers.

    1. @bobthevulcan

      I can actually see McLaren trying to qualify on medium tyres.

      But because of the ‘top ten tyre rule’, this would mean them starting the race on medium tyres that have already done half-a-dozen or so laps.

      Plus the soft tyres are faster for them, just not by very much, and they’re lasting pretty well.

      1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
        3rd November 2012, 12:28

        McLaren’s medium-compound pace is comparable to other teams’ soft compound pace, and the mediums are more durable, so having a slightly worn set of them at the race start wouldn’t be that much of a disadvantage. Furthermore, Sauber have shown that fitting the “option” tyre near the end of the race can pay dividends in terms of making up track position (like Perez at Monza).

        1. @bobthevulcan, Might work if you had a straight-line speed advantage, otherwise the risk of being stuck behind a fast starting mid-field car/driver is too great.

  7. Ferrari have reportedly asked the FIA for clarification on Red Bull’s latest gizmo, a system that allows them to redistribute water and fuel throughout the car to change the weight distribution. Which might cause some headaches, because the weight distribution was standardised for all cars last year.

    Mind you, I’m expecting the outcome of this to be no different to the holes/slots debate from Monaco, the easy-adjust ride height in Canada, and the throttle mapping in Germany, and end with the FIA taking no further action against Red Bull except to ask them to remove the system because it hovers in a grey area between the letter and the spirit of the rules.

    1. Sorry, here is the proper URL for the article.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys oops, I think this one is wrong too.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys thanks. I heard the news but didn’t know detail. Is this system linked to Webber’s trouble in yesterday?

          1. I’ve no idea. Wasn’t really following it yesterday.

    2. Here they explain that Red Bull is allowed to do that because it prevents reliability issues. A team asked FIA if they could use the same system, but FIA didn’t allow them because their engine doesn’t have any reliability issues.

  8. Really disappointing from a championship perspective. Like someone said above, so much talk, so little action from the Ferrari garage. Two curfew breaks, more updates and yet another tweet declaring that it’ll be “a tough qualifying.”

    Nice one guys.

    On the other hand, nice to see the Mclarens up there. Hope they’re competitive this weekend.

    1. On the one hand, they did say they wouldn’t be able to make much progress in the one-week gap between India and Abu Dhabi. On the other hand, Lotus seem to have managed it.

  9. I dont see anyone coming close to Lewis in S3. He is mighty out there. Was a nice change to see RBR having issues with Seb’s car from a championship perspective.

    Ferrari are a disaster. Guess who might be regretting signing a contract till 2016!!

    An evening quali means cooler temperatures and will intensify quali between Lewis and Seb.

    On a final note, I enjoyed watching fps more in Abu Dhabi than in India or any other country. Scenic view matters!!

    1. Was a nice change to see RBR having issues with Seb’s car

      Because we haven’t seen that before this season. :P

    2. @neelv27 too bad the track doesnt live up to the ambience….Hope this race is more fun to watch

  10. Well we have seen it. Valencia, Monza fp3 and the race itself and kers issue for Mark in India. So, we can cross our fingers for an RBR reliability issue for Seb to spice up the championship as Ferrari on their own can’t beat Seb anymore and this weekend, Fernando has to finish ahead of Seb or else champagne corks will be popping out in cowboy style in Texas :p

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