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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2010 ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX - SATURDAY AFTERNOON PRACTICE
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Saturday Afternoon Practice
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
A crunch day at Yas Marina
A crunch day at Yas Marina © Sutton
09:45 Hello everyone and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live for continuing coverage of the final round of the 2010 FIA Formula 1 world championship - the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend from Yas Island.

The four championship protagonists got off to a good start yesterday with no major problems throughout three hours of free practice and were able to complete a solid programme of race preparation work.

But today, the intensity will certainly rise and there will be extreme pressure on all four of them to make sure they qualify on the front two rows of the grid.

60 minutes of practice to finalise the setup of the car and race strategy on a dry circuit remain and, like yesterday, it is extremely important that there are no slip-ups - or qualifying could be compromised.

09:46 Today, we will guide you through the final practice session with minute-by-minute commentary as the teams and drivers begin their build-up to qualifying.

Third practice will begin shortly, with commentary ending 15 minutes after the session has concluded.

At 12:45 GMT, we will return for live coverage of the all-important qualifying session and the battle for pole position.

AUTOSPORT Live will wrap up the day with a detailed race day forecast later this afternoon on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Weather page.

Hamilton was quick on Friday
Hamilton was quick on Friday © Sutton
09:47 An isolated shower soaked the racetrack just one hour before the start of practice on Friday and, by the time first practice began, the circuit was still damp but drying quickly.

There was little action for the first 45 minutes as teams waited for conditions to improve. Toro Rosso drivers Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari finally got the serious runs going and set and early mark for the others to beat. All four championship contenders came out a little later to dial in their cars to the tricky track conditions, with Brazilian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel able to see off the challenge of his other three rivals.

The German topped the session with a lap time of 1m42.760s, with Lewis Hamilton second, Jenson Button third, Mark Webber fourth, Robert Kubica fifth and championship leader Fernando Alonso rounding out the top six.

Vettel leads first Abu Dhabi practice

The order at the top was reversed in the second session in the evening under the lights as Hamilton used to benefit of a set of super-soft tyres to post 1m40.888s and reignite the form that he showed around this circuit last year.

The drivers began to push a little harder with the knowledge that the track was beginning to rubber in, but even Vettel - who finished in second place - was 0.257 seconds down on the flying McLaren driver.

Alonso was third in the Ferrari F10, with Webber making sure that all four title contenders occupied the top four positions. Robert Kubica was once again best of the rest in fifth position with Felipe Massa sixth.

Hamilton quickest in practice two

Sunshine in Abu Dhabi
Sunshine in Abu Dhabi © Sutton
09:49 Weather conditions have remained fine and dry since the end of second practice last night and the forecast is for more of the same today.

It has been a gloriously sunny morning so far, but cloud will drift in from the west this afternoon and there is a slight risk of a shower or light thunderstorm towards qualifying.

That risk is extremely low at around 10 to 20 percent, but the radar is picking up showers just to the west of Abu Dhabi, therefore a sprinkling cannot be completely ruled out.

Temperatures are high once again with a maximum of 30 degrees Celsius expected during the final practice session and track temperatures well above 40 Celsius. During qualifying. The temperature will dip slightly under the lights to around 29 or even 28 degrees.

09:50 Keep up to speed with our minute-by-minute commentary on the move with the AUTOSPORT app.

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Perez dominated the GP2 feature race
Perez dominated the GP2 feature race © LAT
09:51 Some news in brief ahead of final practice:

• Sergio Perez dominated this morning's GP2 feature race at Yas Island, winning by over 20 seconds ahead of British pair Oliver Turvey and Sam Bird. Perez clinched second place in the championship with today's result and the Barwa Addax driver is on great form ahead of his first test with Sauber next week.

• Jaime Alguersuari only completed 17 laps in second practice after a spin on used tyres. However, the Spaniard wasn't too concerned when speaking about the incident after the session. "My tyres were a bit old by then, but I was still attacking, putting the power down too early, so I lost the rear end. I was trying to find the limit and see if I could brake on the kerb on the outside of the corner - I now understand that I can't!"

• Jenson Button was caught speeding in the pitlane midway through second practice. The outgoing world champion clocked 64.4 km/h and was duly handed a €1,000 fine.

• Lewis Hamilton found himself under investigation for crossing the white line on entry to the pitlane during second practice. The Briton cut across Bruno Senna's path after his lap was spoiled by the HRT driver. Hamilton was given a reprimand for his actions.

Bridgestone's rubber makes a final appearance
Bridgestone's rubber makes a final appearance © LAT
09:53 Track conditions started particularly slippery yesterday after a surprise shower hit Yas Marina just a couple of hours before first practice.

While rubber went down on the surface during the course of the afternoon and evening, graining is a concern for the teams on Bridgestone's final weekend supplying rubber to the series.

The super-soft tyre, especially when combined with a heavy fuel load, exhibited significant degradation during the customary long run test at the end of yesterday's evening practice.

"The track surface improved considerably in the second session," said Bridgestone's Hirohide Hamashima. "There was much less graining - next to none with the medium compound - however it was still seen on the super-soft compound when used with heavier fuel loads."

While the graining should reduce as more rubber is laid on the asphalt, the leading contenders will worry that they could be forced to pit early in the race to discard the super-soft tyres. The softer rubber is likely to be needed for one-lap pace in qualifying - although yesterday's evidence suggested the prime tyre can also provide a quick first lap.

09:55 There are five minutes to go until the final practice begins at Yas Marina.

09:56 The track temperature is up to 43 degrees with a light south-easterly breeze as we wait for the session to get underway.

09:57 Fernando Alonso arrives in the Ferrari garage and Sebastian Vettel puts on his crash helmet.

09:58 Alonso is greeted in the garage by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and both will be hoping for another positive run in this session.

09:59 Lewis Hamilton is in the cockpit of the McLaren and having cool air blown towards him to keep the temperature down.

0 min: The practice session is underway.

0 min: Jarno Trulli leads Lucas di Grassi straight out of the pits.

0 min: Alguersuari, Buemi and Rosberg wind their way through the tunnel and join the early runners on the circuit.

1 min: Klien, Vettel and Liuzzi also join the racetrack for an installation lap.

1 min: Drivers continue to head out for installation laps with the Renault pair of Kubica and Petrov now on track.

2 min: Bruno Senna passes Vettel on the back straight as the German slowly gets up to speed.

3 min: Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber roll onto the circuit to check over the condition of their cars.

3 min: The heat haze shimmers off the hot asphalt on the long straight as Fernando Alonso heads around on his first lap of the day.

3 min: The early runners are back into the pits at the end of an exploratory lap and the engineers will begin the data analysis.

4 min: Hamilton and Button are now on installation tours in their McLarens.

4 min: Webber passes underneath the Yas Hotel and returns to the pits after a single tour.

6 min: Hamilton reports a vibration on his radio as he heads back to the McLaren garage.

6 min: It's a single installation lap from every driver in today's practice. Widespread analysis is now taking place in the pit garages.

8 min: Mark Webber puts his fingers in his ears as the mechanics test the Renault engine in the back of the Red Bull.

8 min: Ferrari is making some adjustments in the pedal box of Alonso's car, with the front of the F10 currently elevated on a jack.

10 min: No, Sebastian Vettel isn't on fire ... the mechanics have helpfully placed some dry ice in the German's cockpit to keep him cool.

11 min: Rubens Barrichello also remains behind the wheel of the Williams as he waits for the go-ahead to continue with the morning programme of work.

11 min: Di Grassi breaks the silence and heads out in his Virgin car.

12 min: Adrian Sutil is studying the timing monitor hard as he waits to go out for the first run of laps in the Force India.

13 min: Meanwhile, Nico Rosberg is looking over the Mercedes telemetry as Jock Clear watches on.

13 min: Di Grassi flashes over the line and gets the first timed lap of the day underway.

15 min: It's a 1m48.532s from di Grassi to set the ball rolling this afternoon.

15 min: Jarno Trulli is also now on track in his Lotus.

16 min: Jenson Button remains in the cockpit of the McLaren as he waits to go out. Team boss Martin Whitmarsh leans over to give the Briton some advice.

17 min: Di Grassi improves to a 1m47.992s, while team-mate Glock is also now running.

18 min: Trulli slots in second quickest with a 1m48.549s first lap.

18 min: Glock crosses the line to start his first timed lap of the day in the Virgin.

19 min: Alguersuari joins Nick Heidfeld on the circuit as we wait for it to get busy.

19 min: Hamilton is now in discussion with Martin Whitmarsh and his McLaren engineers. There is clearly some concern over that vibration he reported

19 min: Buemi is also out in the other Toro Rosso as the team looks to get some early data.

21 min: Glock takes over at the top from Trulli with di Grassi in third with a time of 1m47.025s.

21 min: Hamilton will not want to use a different set of hard tyres to those allocated for this session, so will have to make do with the set he has

22 min: Hulkenberg leaves the Williams garage to begin his first run while Glock lowers the target time to 1m46.106s.

22 min: Heidfeld clocks a 1m44.415s to briefly top the early times.

23 min: Alguersuari completes his first timed lap and just edges ahead of Heidfeld to top the list with 1m44.339s.

23 min: Buemi slots in third behind Alguersuari and Heidfeld with a lap of 1m44.434s.

24 min: Kubica is heading out for a first run in his Renault.

24 min: Alguersuari continues on for another lap and improves to 1m44.043s and takes the gap out to 0.372s over Heidfeld.

25 min: Buemi makes it a Toro Rosso one-two for the time being as he posts 1m44.388s.

25 min: Massa and Alonso join the circuit in unison.

25 min: Hulkenberg completes his first timed lap of the day and goes fourth in the Williams with a lap of 1m44.587s.

26 min: Schumacher, Rosberg, Senna and Klien all come out to begin a run of laps.

26 min: Kubica clocks the fastest middle and final sector as he puts the Renault on top of the times with his first lap of the afternoon - 1m43.186s

26 min: Vettel follows them all out and suddenly we have 15 cars on track.

27 min: Schumacher starts his first timed lap of the day on medium compound tyres. Kubica is the current pacesetter with Heidfeld second.

28 min: Alguersuari improves again with a 1m43.666s lap but remains in third place with team-mate Buemi fourth.

28 min: Kubica's second lap is a bit quicker as he feels out the grip levels. 1m42.615s is now the time to beat.

28 min: Buemi responds with a 1m43.642s lap of his own to take that third position, but Schumacher changes the order again as he goes quickest of all.

29 min: Alonso slots in third quickest with his first lap of 1m42.619s.

29 min: Schumacher posted 1m42.518s on his opening flying lap in the Mercedes and heads the field by 0.097s.

30 min: The Ferrari pair continue to lap in close proximity on the circuit, with Massa currently just a couple of seconds ahead of Alonso.

30 min: Vettel puts in his customary building lap to start with - 1m43.041s puts the German in fifth.

31 min: Schumacher does not manage to improve on his second timed lap of the afternoon. Kubica is second with Alonso third and Hulkenberg fourth.

31 min: Petrov sets the fastest middle sector as the Russian moves up to second quickest with a lap of 1m42.580s.

31 min: Hulkenberg is back into the pits after a first run featuring three timed laps. Buemi is also back in after four timed laps.

31 min: In the heat of the afternoon, times remain some way off the 1m40.888s set by Hamilton on the super-soft tyre yesterday evening.

32 min: Vettel is now the quickest man through the first sector with a time of 17.7s as he looks to move towards the front.

33 min: Button joins the order in fifth quickest, with team-mate Hamilton still in the McLaren garage.

33 min: Vettel is -0.167s up on the target time at the end of the second sector.

33 min: The Red Bull driver keeps it clean through the final sector and screams across the line in 1m41.721s to head the list.

34 min: Alonso was briefly on top of the times but now falls to third as the improvements continue with increasing grip levels.

34 min: Rosberg jumps up to second spot with a lap of 1m42.099s in the Mercedes. His team-mate Schumacher is currently fourth.

34 min: Hamilton is now on track in his McLaren.

35 min: Vettel hammers on and improves to 1m41.628s and now has a buffer of 0.471s over Rosberg.

35 min: Rosberg is second with Alonso third, Schumacher fourth, Kubica fifth and Button in sixth position.

36 min: Liuzzi posts his best lap so far today with 1m43.543s and that moves him up to 12th.

36 min: Hamilton is the fastest man through the middle sector as he winds his way around the closing part of his first flying lap.

37 min: Mark Webber moves up the order to fourth with a lap of 1m42.353s.

37 min: Hamilton clocks a 1m41.994s to go second quickest, 0.366s down on Vettel's best.

38 min: Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo walks across to the Red Bull pit gantry to shake hands with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

39 min: Webber improves again and makes it a Red Bull one-two with a lap of 1m41.621s. He is 0.369s down on team-mate Vettel.

39 min: Hamilton improves with a 1m41.669s but he is now four tenths off the leading Red Bull.

39 min: Vettel has also improved again with a time of 1m41.252s. Hamilton is third with the other contender - Fernando Alonso - in seventh.

40 min: The Red Bull duo have backed off considerably and look likely to pit this time round.

40 min: Vettel guides his RB6 into the pitlane with 19 minutes remaining in the session.

41 min: Button makes it a McLaren three-four with a lap of 1m42.079s.

41 min: Webber also pits to bring his first run of the day to an end.

41 min: Hamilton tells his team that his rear tyres are overheated. This is the hottest the track will be for the weekend at 43 Celsius.

43 min: Michael Schumacher comes out to begin his second run of laps in the Mercedes. He has slipped to eighth in the classification.

44 min: Vettel heads the list with a time of 1m41.252s. Webber is second with Hamilton third, Button fourth, Rosberg fifth and Petrov in sixth.

45 min: Kobayashi finally digs himself out of the tail of the order for 17th with a lap of 1m43.482s despite major overseer in the final corner.

45 min: Jaime Alguersuari and Nico Rosberg have both been slightly off track after missing the optimum braking point. Both drivers were able to continue via the asphalt run-off.

45 min: The Ferrari team has been making some set-up changes to Alonso's car and he is now out for a qualifying run on soft tyres.

46 min: Schumacher posts a marginal improvement on the first timed lap of his second run - 1m42.305s - but he remains in eighth position.

47 min: Alonso crosses the line to start his next timed lap on those option tyres.

48 min: Alonso clocks a 1m41.790s to improve to fourth, with team-mate Massa taking seventh fastest.

49 min: Schumacher found another tenth of a second with a lap of 1m42.232s but has slipped down the list to 10th position.

50 min: Schumacher then finds a clear lap and vaults up the classification to fifth with a 1m41.912s effort.

50 min: Vettel is back out on the circuit and this is a super-soft tyre run for the pacesetter.

50 min: Just under 10 minutes remaining in the final free practice session of the year with soft tyre runs underway.

50 min: Vettel crosses the line and launches into a qualifying simulation lap.

51 min: He is +0.154s down on his best effort so far after the first sector of the lap.

52 min: Alonso finds an improvement with his third lap on the super-soft tyre, moving up to second quickest with a 1m41.490s.

52 min: Vettel holds that gap to his own benchmark time in the second sector and will at least get close when he completes the lap in a moment.

53 min: Vettel finishes the effort in 1m41.402s and that's 0.15s down, but he did manage the fastest time in the final sector of that lap.

53 min: Schumacher has been off track in the mercedes but uses the painted asphalt run-off area to get himself out of trouble and continue the run.

54 min: Massa sets the fastest middle sector but has now pitted his Ferrari.

54 min: Hamilton and Button have soft tyre efforts underway in the McLarens.

55 min: Hamilton fails to improve with his first lap on the super-softs and remains fourth quickest with his medium compound time.

55 min: Button clocks the fastest middle sector with his second tour on super-softs, moving up to third quickest in 1m41.578s.

55 min: Webber is quick for the second lap in a row in the first and second sectors, but this time hopes to carry the speed through to the finish line.

56 min: Webber does get a good end to the lap despite having a lot of traffic around him. He goes second to Vettel with 1m41.153s.

57 min: Hamilton takes over the fastest middle sector, moving up to third quickest with a time of 1m41.484s.

57 min: The gap between the Red Bull pair is just 0.011s with less than three minutes remaining in the session.

58 min: The Ferrari pair are the only drivers in the garage and won't have time for any further timed laps.

59 min: The final laps are now on with the Red Bull duo still at the top with Hamilton third, Alonso fourth, Button fifth and Kubica in sixth.

59 min: Hamilton clocks the fastest first sector as most drivers continue into a longer run on the super-softs to gauge degradation.

60 min: The Red Bull drivers rise even higher above as Vettel lowers the benchmark to 1m40.696s and Webber follows him with 1m40.829s.

11:00 The flag is out to end the final practice session of 2010.

11:01 Button sets the ever-changing fastest middle sector but runs wide with a major moment turning in under the Yas Hotel.

11:02 Rosberg will be the last man to complete his final timed lap ... he improves to 1m41.729s and ends the session in eighth.

11:02 The drivers will again be allowed to practice starts, with the Ferrari drivers making a late appearance to join the launch tests.

11:02 Sebastian Vettel sets the pace at the end of a busy final practice session at Yas Island with a late lap of 1m40.696s on super-soft tyres.

11:03 Mark Webber finished just 0.133s down on his team-mate as Red Bull dominated the final practice session of the 2010 season.

11:04 Hamilton was third but just over half-a-second down on the Red Bulls with Alonso making it the four title contenders again ahead of the rest.

11:05 Button was fifth in the second McLaren ahead of Petrov sixth, Schumacher seventh, Rosberg eighth, Kubica ninth and Heidfeld 10th.

11:09 Here's our round-up of final practice:

Vettel leads final practice in Abu Dhabi

11:09 Yesterday may have proved inconclusive but not so this afternoon, as Red Bull dominates the final practice session in Abu Dhabi.

McLaren may have been a touch unsettled by the vibration drama that befell Hamilton on the installation lap, but both drivers recovered well to place in the top five and could still provide a challenge in cooler conditions later on.

And what of Alonso in the Ferrari? He left the pits at the end of the session but the plan was clearly not to go for a final timed effort after an earlier quick blast on soft rubber.

We will find out all the answers later in what promises to be a pulsating qualifying hour. Join us at 12:45 GMT for all the action.

  OVERVIEW PRACTICE THREE  
Session length: 60 minutes
  CURRENT WEATHER
Mainly sunny High Temp: 30°C / 86°F
Track: Dry
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Monday 08 Nov Start GMT
 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 12 Nov
 Friday Afternoon Practice 08:45
 Friday Evening Practice 12:45
Saturday 13 Nov
 Saturday Afternoon Practice 09:45
 Qualifying 12:45
Sunday 14 Nov
 Race day at Yas Marina 11:30
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