Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel topped the timing screens during the final practice session of the weekend ahead of the Grand Prix in Abu-Dhabi. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen was one tenth of a second behind. During the session, the Mercedes AMG Petronas team did not show their pace.
Vettel’s top time was a 1:40.775, he set the time whilst on a set of ultra-soft tyres. Ferrari were looking to be very competitive during the session, although the conditions are not very representative to those that will be for qualifying and the race as they take place earlier in the day when temperatures are higher.
Max Verstappen looks strong over long runs around the Yas Marina circuit, the youngster split the two Ferrari’s on the timing screens. Kimi Raikkonen finished the session in third, just two tenths behind teammate Vettel. Lewis Hamilton finished in fourth, just one tenth ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg in fifth. The Brit was reporting to the team that he had issues with his brakes, mainly the front right. The two Mercedes drivers did not come out onto the circuit until the final few minutes of the session to post their flying lap times.
Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo finished the session in sixth, nine tenths of a second off the pace of his teammate in second. The Australian driver did not appear much until the later stages of the session.
Sahara Force India’s Sergio Perez finished the session in seventh, one tenth ahead of teammate Nico Hulkenberg. The German had a fuel system issue which was only spotted once they started up the car at the beginning of the session, meaning he only joined the track half way through the session.
Williams Martini Racing’s Valtteri Bottas finished in ninth, just one tenth behind the Force India duo. Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez finished in tenth ahead of McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso, who was a further three tenths behind in eleventh. Renault Sport’s Jolyon Palmer finished the session in twelfth. Four tenths behind was fellow Brit Jenson Button for McLaren-Honda in thirteenth.
William’s Felipe Massa finished in fourteenth, the Brazillian looked to be struggling as he span the car on a number of occasions as he pushed it to the limits. Just behind was teammate Romain Grosjean, who again had issues to complain about to the team.
Renault Sport’s Kevin Magnussen finished in sixteenth, one tenth clear of Manor Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein in seventeenth. It was Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat who had no luck as he experienced two punctures on the left rear. The punctures on the car were being caused by wheel failures, being caused by the suspension under cornering load. Toro Rosso are still unsure what the exact issue is. Both drivers spent the majority of the session in the pit lane as engineers tried to get to the bottom of the problem and try to rectify it. Carlos Sainz immediately spun the STR11 at turn eighteen when he did get out on to the track. Sainz finished in eighteenth.
Sauber’s Felipe Nasr finished in nineteenth ahead of Esteban Ocon. Kvyat was left down in twenty-first after suffering his issues. Marcus Ericsson finished the session in twenty-second.
©Fay Tilley 26th November 2016.