Yas Marina Practice 3: Golden boy Vettel taunts rivals with mega lap 2 November, 2013 Sebastian Vettel fastest in FP3 wearing a special edition gold helmet Sebastian Vettel has clearly not taken his foot off the throttle despite having wrapped up his fourth successive Formula 1 World Drivers’ title less than a week ago, because he was again the class of the field in the final free practice session of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend. On a scorching hot afternoon, he powered his Red Bull RB9 around the swanky Yas Marina Circuit in a best time of 1:41.349. He was 0.222 seconds faster than anyone else while wearing a special edition gold laden helmet to celebrate world title number IV. The German ace seemed to taunt his rivals; ‘catch me if you can’ Vettel’s best time came in the final half dozen minutes of the 60 minutes session, on a set of yellow band Pirelli soft tyres, which were around two seconds faster than the harder Medium compound. After that performance, it is clear that his eleventh race win of the season beckons. Lewis Hamilton third fastest in FP3 Teams had to cope with hot conditions – track temperatures hovering in the upper forties and ambient temperatures in the high thirties. This ismarkedly different to what will be experienced in the twilight quali session and in the race. Behind Vettel, Mark Webber was second fastest, suggesting that the World Champions have a handy piece of kit at their disposal to do the business both in qualifying and in the race. Around a quarter second off the benchmark pace were the Mercedes duo with Lewis Hamilton third quickest and Nico Rosberg next up in fourth. Romain Grosjean was fifth fastest in the long wheel-base Lotus E21, which was half a second up on teammate Kimi Raikkonen who ended ninth, having requested the use the shorter wheel-base Lotus ( The car is about 10cm shorter) in Abu Dhabi. Romain Grosjean was fifth fastest McLaren appear to have uncovered some pace in Abu Dhabi, with Jenson Button managing the sixth best time, although Sergio Perez ended down in 18th. Also performing way above their division are Sauber with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez seventh and eighth respectively. The pair are the fastest of the Ferrari powered herd. Jean Eric Vergne rounded out the top ten in the (Ferrari powered) Toro Rosso. Out of the top ten, and evidently struggling for rear grip were both the ‘works’ Ferraris with Fernando Alonso 11th and Felipe Massa 14th, the Reds are not having a pleasant weekend at Yas Marina in the shadow of Ferrari World theme park. The pecking order heading to qualifying is clear: Red Bull have the momentum, with Mercedes likely to challenge if either driver can dig deep and deliver a special lap, while Lotus are there or thereabouts and Sauber seems capable of a surprise. Ferrari? Who knows? Vettel for his eighth pole of the season? Don’t bet against it… Subbed by AJN. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Free Practice 3 – Saturday, 2 November 2013 Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps 1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:41.349 19 2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:41.571 0.222 17 3 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:41.580 0.231 18 4 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:41.721 0.372 19 5 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:41.832 0.483 19 6 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:41.956 0.607 19 7 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:42.055 0.706 19 8 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:42.282 0.933 19 9 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:42.387 1.038 18 10 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:42.457 1.108 21 11 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:42.516 1.167 15 12 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:42.681 1.332 23 13 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:42.698 1.349 19 14 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:42.702 1.353 16 15 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:42.727 1.378 18 16 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:42.798 1.449 18 17 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:42.989 1.640 22 18 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:43.142 1.793 15 19 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:44.472 3.123 20 20 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:44.728 3.379 21 21 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:45.621 4.272 20 22 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:47.506 6.157 15 Related NewsF1 boss predicts 2014 title will be decided before double points finaleAbu Dhabi circuit chief defends double points F1 season finaleAnger as FIA announces double points for Abu Dhabi season finale to spice up showAlonso reveals he suffered numbness and headaches after Abu Dhabi impactMedia gushing with admiration for ‘perfect, unassailable, invincible’ VettelAlonso: My back is in pain because it was a big hit, but I still have all my teethAlonso to have more medical checks after Abu Dhabi impactNo penalty for Vettel after celebration donuts in Abu DhabiLotus set to confirm team saving Quantum deal this weekFerrari: We leave Abu Dhabi aware that we have limited the damage Alonso_is_Slow Wankonnen outpaced… Bob Wheeler “Golden boy Vettel taunts rivals with mega lap” that headline shows how petty the so-called journalists and editors on this site can be. Vettel was doing his job. jeff Up again at 5 am here in the States. 11 minutes till quality, don’t know if I should turn the coffee pot off. Probably won’t maybe there is a chance anyone but Seb can win this thing. Silly season and boring at the same time. Looking forward to 2014. Bob Wheeler Jeff….maybe you should stick to Roller Derby and NASCAR. Tamburello_1994 Don’t mean to pile on but what the hell is “quality”?