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This seems like the perfect time to say goodbye for today. Although we can't read too much into practice, the McLarens do look pretty strong here and that will put a big smile on Alonso's face. Qualifying will be fascinating and I'll be back from around 0930 GMT to take you through it as well as final practice. You lucky things. Thank you for all of your messages. Enjoy the rest of your Friday and I'll see you tomorrow. Take it easy.
shrikrishnaa on 606:
"Seems to be perfect for Alonso. Hamilton is too good to give up his place just to screw Alonso."
BBC F1 analyst Karun Chandhok:
"The McLarens are looking really good for a race win, more so than most people expected. A Hamilton victory puts Fernando Alonso in prime position for the championship."
Friday practice is done and dusted for 2010. Right at the very end of the session, Michael Schumacher is held up by a Force India at the Turn Seven hairpin. You don't do that without getting a fist wave, and the German does indeed gesture angrily.
BBC F1 commentator Jonathan Legard:
"It looks like Jaime Alguersuari's overdone it - rather as he said he would do to me yesterday. He told me that he was going to risk more because it was the last race and he had nothing to lose. He said he was very satisfied with his year because he felt he'd developed as a driver, despite the team not developing a raceable F-duct. He felt that cost the team a chance to compete properly with the midfield pack of Williams, Force India and Sauber."
Only five minutes to go now. I wonder if Hamilton's time will be beaten? There's some very well-dressed people up in the executive boxes watching the action. I don't think I'd fit in with my shabby wardrobe. Top five: Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso, Webber and Kubica.
BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson:
"After doing the qualifying runs with the option tyres the teams will then put the fuel back in to get an idea of the balance and what the gear ratios are going to be like with the heavier fuel."
BBC pit-lane reporter Holly Samos:
"Ferrari's head of communications ignored the media and went to find Rob Smedley in Felipe Massa's garage. He then confirmed, yes it was a fuel issue. We won't know until we get the car back what the issue was."
Just before Massa stopped out on the track, he was on the team radio saying that he had run out of fuel. Interesting. "It was like he was already suspecting it," says Anthony Davidson. "There was hardly any surprise in his voice. He had gone past the pits. Why do that? They can see clearly that he was running out of fuel."
Lewis Hamilton is comfortably fastest at the moment and Hispania driver Karun Chandhok points out that the McLaren driver is making up nearly all that margin in the final sector. Here's BBC F1's Mark Hughes in Autosport magazine this week: "Alonso's best friend in Abu Dhabi may in fact be Lewis Hamilton. Recall his devastating form there in qualifying last year. He was 0.7secs clear of the field, most of that margin coming in the final sector where he was uniquely at ease with oversteer that helped the car change direction, then skimmed the walls with breathtaking audacity. It was a section that might have been designed specially for him. The McLaren has been only the fastest car for some time now, but there's a chance that Lewis may be able to overturn the deficit - and if he can win the race, that makes it extremely difficult for Webber, let alone Vettel." Interestingly, when Alonso was complaining of oversteer it was in the final sector.
That yellow flag was not out for long and Vettel moves up to second fastest thanks to a 1:41.145. We are getting telly shots of Massa, who is standing behind the barrier ruefully looking at the action. Penny for his thoughts. "It has been a very difficult season for Felipe," says Anthony Davidson. "It started off with such promise in Bahrain but we have not seen that performance since Hockenheim. It must be difficult when you see your team-mate leading the championship and you have to support him."
Another yellow flag. Massa's Ferrari has stopped along the high-speed section between Turns 10 and 11. He gets out and replaces the steering wheel. It looks as if that could be that for the Brazilian today.
Hamilton improves to a 1:40.888 before Alonso complains of too much oversteer. "I don't know what we can do," he adds, and then runs a little wide at Turn 17.
The option tyres are out for all of the leading drivers. Hamilton returns to the top of the timesheets with a 1:41.213... hang on, there's a yellow flag. Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari goes a little wide after touching the astroturf at Turn 19, spins and stalls. Not great timing for the other leading contenders as they were not able to get in their quick laps.
BBC F1 analyst Martin Brundle:
"What has surprised me is how good the McLarens look. We do know the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers are short of engine mileage and they'll be cruising in terms of engine power so we won't know the full story until tomorrow. I get a feeling that Lewis Hamilton could just get in among the Red Bulls and Alonso and add another complexity to the championship scenario."
You can suggest your own photo caption for this little gem!
Is the pressure of a 19-race championship battle getting to EJ? Jake Humphrey had to resort to extreme measures in Brazil to keep him under control while DC cooly tries to ignore the whole episode. The boys have been reunited in the desert of Abu Dhabi and are all set for a sizzling season finale. You can catch the intrepid trio on BBC One for qualifying on Saturday from 1215 GMT and for Sunday's race from 1210 GMT.
It seems as if the clouds are following the F1 circus and the end of 2010. BBC F1 analyst Martin Brundle has just said: "Jenson was telling me McLaren think there could well be rain on Sunday." Unbelievable. Hulkenberg and Barrichello are now on the options. Wow, Sebastien Buemi is very, very close to a meeting with the barriers after going a little wide when coming out of Turn 19. "Life's just one big adventure for him," says Brundle.
Pablos in Cheshire via text:
"'Most entertaining duel of the year' award should go to Martin Brundle for his gridwalk interview battles with presenters from other TV networks!!"
Chris in Newcastle via text:
"EJ's shirts have been as good as his predictions."
BBC pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie:
"Since the first-ever Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009 the world's fastest rollercoaster is now up-and-running close to the circuit. The rollercoaster pulls up to 4.5G and reaches an astonishing 240km/h (149mph). After missing out on the new Nurburgring rollercoaster last season, I decided to give it a go last night. Apart from Jake Humphrey, other celebrities have also been for a ride, including American rapper Kanye West and Williams driver Rubens Barrichello. Rubens loved the experience so much that he went straight back on for a second time!"
Here's Webber now... and he grabs second with a 1:41.550. The stewards are going to look at that incident between Hamilton and Senna. BBC F1 analyst Martin Brundle believes that it was Hamilton's fault. "He was a little out of order," he says.
McLaren test driver Gary Paffett:
"It went pretty well this morning. We had more tests to do on rear wing and that went well. We have more changes for one of the wings tonight. Lewis has a bit of locking but Jenson is struggling more, but other than that the cars are well balanced and there are not many other problems."
Oopsie, Hamilton and Bruno Senna almost have a coming together at the last corner. The McLaren flies around the corner and has to go wide as Senna has backed off near the entrance to the pit lane. Hamilton is less than chuffed and drives right across the Hispania man before diving into the pits. Chandhok wonders whether the drivers will start to use the option 'softer' tyres soon.
belgiansan on Twitter:
"My favourite moments of the season? All EJ's predictions. I can't remember one where he got it right. :)"I know how he feels!
The floodlights are starting to brighten up now and we are moving from Bahrain to Singapore lighting. Kubica is now third with a 1:41.916 while Michael Schumacher moves up to seventh after a 1:42.246.
Sean via text:
"My favourite moment of the year had to be Hulkenberg's awesome drive last week."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Abu Dhabi:
"The second practice session at the Yas Marina circuit means we are about to enter the realm of twilight racing. The sun is expected to set at 1730 local time (1330 GMT). Michael Schumacher was at Mercedes HQ on Thursday evening assessing which visors and tear-off strips will maximise visibility in the dwindling sunlight. Sauber's Nick Heidfeld is trying out an innovative visor system. The German, who admits to having a large collection of sunglasses at his Swiss home, has tiered layers of red tear-off strips which finish with a translucent strip for when the lights go on. Pit-lane expert Ted Kravitz has likened it to wearing five pairs of sunglasses at once."
It really is a beautiful sunset in Abu Dhabi and we are getting a stunning aerial shot of the track and the surrounds. Very picturesque. A bit like Shepherd's Bush Green. Anyway, no movement at the top with Alonso still top. Webber moves up to third after a 1:42.082, with Vettel in sixth (1:42.367). Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that this is the last weekend at the BBC for pit-lane reporter Holly Samos and Lewis Hamilton's garage have apparently threatened to cut all her hair off and cover her in blue paint as a goodbye present. I would hate to see what they would do if they don't like you!
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson:
"You will have noticed Jenson Button complaining about locking his front brakes (re: 1311). This has been a problem for him since Korea, and it is rooted in a new brake-bias system that McLaren are trailling and which they have not yet perfected. All the teams have systems, about which they are very secretive, that change the brake bias from front to rear as the downforce bleeds off the car as it slows down during braking. The system on Button's car is aimed at 2011, and McLaren are trying to get a head start on it. Button used it in Korea - and that is what caused him to be so slow in the race. But he decided to stick with it in Brazil, where he also struggled with it. We believe he has it on again for Friday practice in Abu Dhabi."
seanbhoy87 on Twitter:
"Moments of the year, my ridiculous predictions throughout the year only being outdone by your own predos, Orlo! (Apologies!)"No apologies needed seanbhoy87, my predos have been woeful. Fact. I should be saying sorry to you!
McLaren78 on 606:
"Based on skill, Alonso and Hamilton deserve this title. But it would be good if Red Bull capture both titles and especially if Webber is the champion."
As Alonso goes quickest with a 1:41.473, it is worth mentioning that BBC Radio 5 live
have an exclusive interview with the Spaniard to be broadcast in their preview programme from 2030 GMT on Friday evening. The Ferrari driver says he believes the turning point of his season was his victory in Korea two races ago: "I never really thought I was out of the championship but also I was not thinking until maybe Korea that I had a strong possibility to win it. To be 11 points in front of second place was a great result for us, and a strong boost for the team. After that, I thought, yes, we can do it." He adds that if he does not win this year's title, he will win one "very soon - I'm very confident for the near future".
BornAgain20_09 on 606:
"What are the chances that Massa throws a huge spanner in the works and wins the race? He is yet to have a big race, well except Germany."
There's milky sunlight over Abu Dhabi now as the sun begins to set. Hamilton improves to a 1:41.664 with Alonso second (1:42.474) and Massa third (1:42.673). Button is not comfortable, though, as he keeps locking up the front wheels like he did this morning. "I have massive front locking," he says. "I can't stop locking the front. It's unbelievable how much front locking I have got." He's locking up the front, OK?
Liz, Wirral via text:
"'It's better to have won and lost, than never to have won at all'. Jenson has had a decent first season with McLaren and I think he can win again in the future. I will be cheering on Webber for the title on Sunday, he deserves it."
DanielKelly84 on Twitter:
"Hope Vettel can do it. But think most likely he'll have to pull over & Mark will take it. Can't see Alonso being lower than fourth."
Right at the end of the first session, Rubens Barrichello stopped out on the track and BBC pit-lane reporter Holly Samos says he lost drive and that Williams changed his engine during the break. The drivers are out and about pretty sharpish in this session. Which is nice. Hamilton posts a 1:43.292 and he is followed by Jenson Button and Sauber's Nick Heidfeld.
We are off. Karun Chandhok, who drove for Hispania this season, is in the BBC studio now. He missed out on seeing the premier of the Ayrton Senna movie as he didn't go to Brazil last week. Chandhok has been getting a lot of stick about it and apparently he has turned up in Abu Dhabi with T-shirts reading 'I've seen the Senna movie before Karun Chandhok' to give to some of his colleagues.
BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson:
"This is now crunch time. It is a mental game now. The cars are as competitive as eachother. The Ferraris will be a lot closer to the Red Bulls and we have seen this morning that McLaren have picked up a bit of pace. It is going to come down to Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso and who is going to crack first."
Amid all the opulence on show at the Yas Marina, there's also a bit of Margate seafront in Abu Dhabi. There's a big cardboard stand upon which there is a huge photo of the title protagonists seated with their arms around eachother with Bernie Ecclestone in the middle. The faces of the drivers have all been cut out and the public can stick their head through the hole for a nice photo for the album.
Nevs_A_Red on 606:
If Webber wins, 'I Will Always Love You' - Whitney Houston
If Alonso wins, 'Move Over' - Janis Joplin
If Vettel wins, 'Your My Number 1' - S Club 7 (I had to look that one up, honest)
If Hamilton wins, 'I Believe In Miracles' - Hot Chocolate."Did you really have to look up that S Club 7 song? I bet you're a big fan really. I know I am.
CorazonLatino on 606:
"As a huge Alonso fan, I am obviously hoping that he gets the title. Equally, I won't be too sad if Webber wins it instead. It seems impossible to dislike Webber. As for most memorable moment of the season, there have been a lot, but seeing Webber go flying in Valencia was the most dramatic thing I'd seen in a long time - it was a relief to see him walk away unhurt from such a horrible accident."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Abu Dhabi:
"Jenson Button had already been crowned world champion when he arrived for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009 but this year he landed with a bump having seen his title defence end just four days ago. The upside of his obvious disappointment is he can voice his opinion on the championship, if only he could make up his mind. 'Fernando [Alonso] is very good under pressure so he's looking strong. But the Red Bull is quicker and there are two of them; if they are one and two in qualifying it will be very difficult to beat them. These guys are fighting it out with almost equal equipment but I'd say Red Bull have a little bit of an advantage.' What about his McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton? 'I've got to knock three cars off the circuit for my team-mate to win the world championship'. Oh."
As I try to get the image of Nando in the bath with a bottle of Veet* out of my mind, if that is indeed what he does, let me tell you that FP2 starts at 1300 GMT, with coverage on the Red Button, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and in the console at the top of this page. Tidy.* Other leg waxing products are available
Disturbing news during the week regarding Fernando Alonso and the revelation that the two-time world champion apparently shaves his legs. Eeeek. Alonso is into cycling and, being the competitive animal that he is, apparently he has gone for the smooth leg look to get that edge. Here's what former team-mate Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday: "I'm surprised how he was able to take the pain of having his legs waxed. We noticed as we were walking in. Mark [Webber] pointed it out and was asking: 'How far has it gone up?' I was like: 'Wow, they are shiny.' So I'm impressed he can do that. That shows his mental state. But I think he has shown over the years how solid he is mentally. He just doesn't care."
IllPhil on 606:
"I don't want Alonso to win, but only because of the team orders incident. On the other hand I don't think either Red Bull driver really deserves it. They've had the best car all year and failed totally to capitalize. I suppose if it can't be Hamilton then I hope Webber gets it. Vettel's finger waving drives me mad."
Dan at Heathrow via text:
"Best moment, Smedley's grimacing smile after the German Grand Prix this year. The immortal 'Fernando is faster...'"
What's going to happen this weekend then? Give me your words of wisdom on
or via text on 81111
(UK) or +44 7786200666
(worldwide) with F1 before your message. As it's the end of term, I'll also take your drive, driver and moment of the year as well as what song you would have playing over a video montage of the season. I was going to suggest the 1991 Chesney Hawks classic 'The One and Only' but I had second thoughts. Maybe it's not really in keeping with the mood.
Hello you. Welcome to FP2. If you missed out
well to be honest it was pretty low key. A drying track (that isn't a mistake, incredibly it did rain this morning), combined with dusty conditions led to a pretty quiet session. Seb Vettel was fastest, with Lewis Hamilton second, Jenson Button third and Mark Webber fourth. This session will not be like that. I guarantee it.
...and you're back in the room.
Time for a bit of late brekkie. I haven't got my timings right there at all have I? So then a Red Bull sets the pace again but the McLarens are looking competitive too. Is anyone else getting the feeling that this weekend is not going to be straightforward at all? I'll be back fully refreshed at 1230 GMT for a bit of FP2 chat. Keep your messages and comments coming in. See you in a bit.
Bob via text:
"Best moment - when the Red Bills collided & then the two Englishmen showed them how it should be done. Button took Hammy & then Hammy reclaimed the place a few corners later - no bumping, boring or barging, just clean overtaking manoeuvres! Come on Webber!"
Grzegorz, Slough via text:
"Best moment of the year - definitely Kubica overtaking in Singapore. I really hope that he will have a competitive car next year!"
Dave in Luton via text:
"Best moment of the year... 'Not bad for a number two driver'. Come on Webber!"
Stijntsje on Twitter:
"My F1 moment of the year has to be Kobayashi's brilliant drive in Valencia. Really want to see him in a good car soon."
Oops, Rubens Barrichello's Williams has stopped out on the track on his in-lap. He gets out, places his steering wheel back in its place and walks round to quizzically look at the back of the car. I'd leave that to the mechanics if I were you son.
And the final first practice session of the season comes to a close. *sniff*. Vettel ends up quickest, Hamilton in second (1:43.369), Button third with Webber fourth. Alonso is sixth quickest. Now, let's just say that was how it finished on Sunday. Vettel would win the title, Alonso in second and Webber third. Long way to go though.
PeeJayx on 606:
"I have an inkling. Just a feeling in the air. Alonso is going to be weak in this race. I have a feeling that Hamilton will be strong in the race but it will be Webber's WDC."
Vettel is blocked a little by Fauzy coming under the hotel but on the next lap the German improves to a 1:42.760. Button up to third with a 1:43.785. He then tells his team: "I have quite a bit of front locking. Any ideas?" Alonso is down in sixth.
BBC pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz:
"You take it as red that the Red Bulls are quick but Lewis Hamilton seems to have genuine pace. McLaren have not been making that many changes to the car and that rear-wing package seems to be working well. The speed seems to be there. We are used to Ferrari not showing their hand early on but Alonso has looked pretty comfortable."
SamDangar on Twitter:
"As for best moment? Webber's drive at Silverstone and the alleged antics of his pit crew afterwards!"
The track is improving all the time and Hamilton moves up to second (1:43.772), with Button fourth (1:44.041) and Kubica (1:44.080). A lot of the chat leading up to this race has centred on Alonso, Webber and Vettel finishing in whatever order on the podium, but could Button and Kubica put a spanner in the works on Sunday?
Hamilton moves up to second with a 1:43.862 but then Vettel takes top spot again after a 1:43.477. Kravitz reports that Fauzy's Lotus has been wheeled back into the garage as he has burnt a hole in the right side exhaust, while Davidson says the temperature has increased by 7C since the start of the session. "It is something the teams will have to keep an eye on," he says.
Aussie Stuck in the UK on 606:
"As an Aussie in the UK and a McLaren fan since the mid 70s, I'm torn between Webber and Hamilton, I've even looked at a way in which they could draw the WDC title - and this can't be done. My beloved McLaren team has lost the constructors', so it's good luck Mark. Surely if the McLarens can get into the mix, Vettel moves over to let Webber through, then we'll have a new Aussie F1 World Drivers Champion. Go WEBBER."
Rich in Bournemouth via text:
"How costly have those zero points in back-to-back races at Monza and Singapore been to Hamilton? Imagine what his position would be now."
DabaDaba on 606:
"Music for the montage: Excision and Datsik - 'Guess I Got My Swagger Back'. That would cover any scenario. Come on Mark Webber!!!"
Hmmm, interesting little battle early doors. Vettel sets a 1:44.274 only for Webber to respond with a 1:43.840. This is just a little warm-up as to what is going to happen this weekend I'd wager. Kubica is third with a 1:44.728, Schumacher (1:45.029) fourth.
Force India on Twitter:
"Tonio's [Liuzzi] back, says track is very low grip and he's struggling with the balance as a result."
Loads of times now. Petrov is top of the list with a 1:46.028, then it's Alonso (1:46.419), Webber (1:46.626) and Felipe Massa (1:47.280). Massa was told to come in by race engineer Rob Smedley as there was a "small telemetry problem" but the Brazilian seemed to ignore him and stayed out anyway. Maybe the team radio was kaput as well. Meanwhile, there is a bit of tension in the BBC office as an esteemed non-tea drinking colleague argues that it is not natural to pour hot water over a dried leaf to make a drink. Odd boy.
BornAgain20_09 on 606:
"The only factor between a Red Bull winning the WDC and Alonso winning, is the Red Bull. Best on the track by a country mile. Alonso is the best of the rest, but if the RB car performs as it should, can only see Webber being top man come Sunday evening."
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a time. Give that man Vitaly Petrov a cigar. He posts a 1:51.465 while Nico Hulkenberg, who claimed pole in Brazil last weekend, posts a 1:48.863. McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale is talking to Ted Kravitz and he says there has been a lack of running because the track "is very dusty". "When it rains here you get a lot of dust coming out of the atmosphere. But we have done all the set up work we need to do, we have picked a configuration and we will do some longer runs now to see what happens with the tyres."
gt40builder on Twitter:
"Best moment was Mike Gascoyne at Suzuka watching Lotus' pit-lane boat, 'It's the only thing we'll win this year.' It didn't move."
Absolutely no-one is on the track now. There are obviously waiting for the track to dry out completely, but come on lads, help me out! Good stat from BBC F1 commentator David Croft on the Red Button, he says Webber has not been ahead of Vettel, apart from pit stops, since Monza at the start of September. That has to start changing this weekend if he is to win his first world title.
BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson:
"Alonso's engine has done Monza, where you spend more time on full throttle than any other track. Only Spa comes close. It's gone through a tough time."
Christian Horner clears up the Red Bull will they/won't they use team orders:
"If one of them can't win it I've no doubt they will do the best they can for the team and therefore their team-mate but the team won't be giving them an instruction to pull over. You're potentially asking a driver to give up a Grand Prix victory and only the driver can make that call. It will be totally different [to Fernando Alonso at Hockenheim] because it won't be a team order, it will be a driver decision and secondly it would be at a point where the driver cannot win and that is the fundamental difference. But we've backed both drivers and we believe that's the right thing to do. That's the way that Red Bull have chosen to go motor racing."
_gizmo_ on Twitter:
"Based on my F1 game, Webber will wipe out Alonso, Ham & Vettel, crash into Sutil then start driving backwards around the track."
Crikey, it is pretty quiet out there. There's Robert Kubica chatting and laughing with Renault boss Eric Boullier on the pit wall. He seems in end-of-term mode. I wonder if he'll be allowed to go mufty on Sunday? Just a thought. By the way, Ted Kravitz says all four of the title contenders are on the third race of their three-race engines. "It is all on a knife-edge," he says. "I would not like to be an engineer at the back of the garage this weekend." Davidson agrees: "Everyone is in a vulnerable position."
Gary from Sheffield via text:
"My moment of the year has to be Jenson's drive in Australia. He showed masterful skill in tricky conditions that only a few ever master."
From Dan, who should be working, via text:
"'Fernando is faster than you' has to be the best bit of radio of the 2010 season."
The track is pretty dry now but Kravitz says Lewis Hamilton is going out on intermediates as McLaren want to find out more about their new rear wing bits that arrived for weekend. Apparently there was a bit of a problem getting them through customs but after management went down to the airport, officials gave them the green light.
BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson:
"I have a gut feeling about Vettel. He has been so unlucky all season and surely that has to start changing. He has been the quickest all season, in qualifying especially, and he has the car to do it."
Mark Webber was quickly sent out again as Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey was not happy after looking at the flo-vis paint which is painted on the back of the car. Still no times.
barackomara on Twitter:
"Morning Mark. The more I contemplate the race on Sunday - the more likely a Webber/Vettel/Alonso crash appears on Turn One!"
Every driver has completed an installation lap. By the way, Fairuz Fauzy is in Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus for this session. In other news, I did have another odd F1 dream last night. I dreamt that working with me on the F1 desk this weekend was 80s pop strumpet Kim Wilde and former Lib Dem leader Menzies Campbell. Campbell was not a lot of use though as his computer didn't work. I need help.
Andrew, meant to be working, in Ashford via text:
"How about Lenny Kravitz, 'It Ain't Over Til It's Over' for the montage."
Chris in Warrington via text:
Driver of the year - The Hulk and the moment of the season his pole winning lap in Brazil. What about Neil Young's 'Down To The Wire' for the montage soundtrack? Lewis can still do it (a boy can dream can't he?!)."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Abu Dhabi:
"Unlike the macho, hyperbolic world of boxing, the last thing a focused F1 driver wants to do is to face his rivals and discuss the ifs and buts of what lies ahead this weekend. But the four title contenders - Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton - were rounded up to do just that in Abu Dhabi. The tension was broken when the quartet burst into giggles during a photocall as Mark Webber bent over to button up his trousers. There were more chuckles later when the Ferrari media officer's mobile phone burst into life with the sound of a dog barking. 'There are no dogs in the paddock,' pondered Webber, who had been interrupted. 'It's a hot dog,' Alonso grinned oddly in reply. Apart from these lighter moments, the men with the most ground to make up - Hamilton and Vettel - were unsurprisingly the most relaxed of the four protagonists. Long-time championship leader Webber was in a philosophical mood, saying he was not going to 'get greedy'. Alonso had on his best poker face, saying he wasn't even thinking about the title. Yeah, right. They all are."
And we are off. BBC pit-lane reporter Holly Samos says Force India's Vitantonio Liuzzi has a new chassis after his crash in Brazil last weekend, while colleague Ted Kravitz says there have been some developments with the 'F-duct' aero device and the rear wing on the Red Bull cars. Race control has declared the track as wet but Kravitz does not believe it will be too long before the top runners are out on slick tyres.
BBC F1 analyst Anthony Davidson:
"It is not one of the most spectacular tracks in terms of driving but in terms of viewing it is. It will be a pretty special showdown."
There were a lot of Marks in that last comment weren't there? I may make my predictions a bit little later when I'm feeling braver as, to be honest, they have been appalling this year. Right, coverage for practice one is up and running on the Red Button, on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and in the console at the top of this page. Lovely.
Marc, East Suffolk via text:
"Morning all. Last racing fix of the year. Mark, care to nail your colours to the mast? :-) driver of the year for me is Kubica. Will be rooting for Mark Webber on Sunday myself, I feel it's now or never for him."
Ewan on Twitter:
"Prediction - last lap, it's VET-WEB-ALO, Vettel hands lead to Webber, then has a mystery problem so Alonso overtakes him for WDC."
JugglingJonah on 606:
"As for free practice expect same or similar to Korea, Alonso wowing the world in P3, quali and the race itself. Youngest ever triple world champion, and still got loads left in the tank."
Extraordinary scenes. Rain in Abu Dhabi. Whatever next? Apparently the weather has even made the news bulletins over there. I've got some telly pictures now and the rain has stopped, with the sun now coming out.
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Abu Dhabi:
"Hello again. If you wanted proof that anything can happen in the final race of the epic 2010 Formula season, I have an omen of sorts. An hour-and-a-half before first practice for the desert race which will decide the drivers' title... it started raining. So that is rain in a nation where wet weather is described as 'almost non-existent' and it rains on average for just 0.2 days in November. I hear there have been almost apocalyptic scenes across Britain so this might not be such headline news for you
Now don't think you can slacken off on this Friday morning. I'm going to need your messages more than ever. Race and title predictions, the
Red Bull team orders conundrum,
anything really. I would also like to have your driver, drive and moment of the season, and what song would you have to play over the 2010 season montage video? Get cracking on
(from 0900 GMT), or via text on 81111
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(worldwide) with F1 before your message. Over to you...
So five title contenders have now become four. One of Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and rank outsider Lewis Hamilton will be the 2010 champion come Sunday evening. Apparently it's the first time that four drivers have battled it out for the title at the final race of the season. It couldn't be set up any better. Has Bernie Ecclestone been getting tips from Simon Cowell?
Morning gang. Here it is then, the finale, the denouement if you will, of one of the most gripping Formula 1 seasons in many a year, packed full of controversy, squabbling, intrigue and top-class performances. A bit like X-Factor but with less crying. Welcome one and all. This weekend is going to be pretty special.
Cast your minds back, all the way to March and the, how shall I put it, drama-lite Bahrain Grand Prix. Some feared for the rest of the 2010 season, predicting a lack of excitement and incident. It hasn't exactly panned out like that has it?