Lewis Hamilton predicts Red Bull will be fastest after Vettel tops Abu Dhabi P2
Mercedes driver ends Friday third fastest behind Red Bull duo
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 04/11/13 8:28am
Lewis Hamilton fears there will be no stopping World Champion Sebastian Vettel in this weekend's Abu Dhabi GP after another ominous turn of speed from the World Champion in Friday practice.
Although the Red Bull driver, who topped every session at last week's Indian GP, was usurped from his usual position at the top of the timesheets in Practice One at the Yas Marina Circuit, Vettel appeared to be in class of his own during the afternoon running.
In addition to being four-tenths of a second clear of Hamilton as he headed yet another Red Bull one-two, Vettel was formidably fast on his race simulations during the final half hour to once again leaving his rivals fearing the worst after six consecutive wins for the newly-recrowned World Champion.
"I will push as much as I can, and hopefully I will find a little more time, but I anticipate they will be quickest," Hamilton reported with a wry laugh.
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Tyre preservation is likely to prove crucial in Sunday's race with Pirelli forecasting that some cars will attempt to complete the grand prix on a one-stop strategy. Hamilton was repeatedly heard on his car-to-pits radio requesting information on his lap times, and admitted that it was a struggle to fathom how fast he could go without overburdening his delicate rubber.
"You have a certain amount of life and you just have to balance how much you can use - it's a guessing game," the Mercedes driver mused to Sky Sports News. "You always want more information, you're on your long runs and you are just trying to work out how much you can do."
The unique scheduling of the Abu Dhabi race will also pose an additional puzzle for teams and drivers to solve with the grand prix starting at twilight before finishing long after darkness has fallen.
"Physically, it gets easier because it's not as hot, but in terms of light you don't even notice it, but as it gets cool the characteristics of the car change and go into understeer, so that's pretty challenging."