Sebastian Vettel is gunning for his fifth win of the season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Getty Images
Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the second practice followed by Lewis Hamilton at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Friday.
Vettel clocked 1 minute, 41.751 seconds for Red Bull on the 5.6-kilometer (3.5-mile) Yas Marina circuit, .168 seconds quicker than Hamilton. Hamilton's McLaren teammate Jenson Button was third followed by Vettel's teammate Mark Webber.
Vettel's strongest challenger Fernando Alonso of Ferrari struggled to keep pace. He managed to finish only seventh fastest, .836 slower than Vettel. He also lost time when he went off the track. The other remaining challenger, Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus, was sixth. The practice in dry conditions was largely without incident though several drivers briefly left the track and two spun out. Among them was Vitaly Petrov of Caterham.
Ferrari break curfew
Ferrari broke an F1 curfew at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to help Fernando Alonso in his title battle with Red Bull's championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
Formula One technical delegate Jo Bauer reported in a statement on Friday that the Italian team had used up one of their four allowed exceptions.
He said the Ferrari mechanics had been "within the confines of the circuit during the six-hour period which commenced at 0400".
A Ferrari spokesman said the staff had arrived after daybreak and, extolling the quality of the team's espresso coffee machine, suggested with a smile that they had simply wanted to enjoy a "nice Italian breakfast".
Abu Dhabi is the only GP to run from daylight into the night and the late start means the curfew at Yas Marina runs from 0400 to 1000 local.
Mercedes have failed to score a point in the three races since Lewis Hamilton made his decision to join them next season but the McLaren driver says their slump has only made him more determined. "It makes me even more driven to help them score points," he said.