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Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Saturday, 12 November 2011

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying as it happened


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By David Ornstein

1435: As Jake points out in his TV sign-off, it's been a Hard Day's Night for Lewis Hamilton but he's had a brilliant weekend so far and will be confident of pushing Vettel all the way on race day. For Vettel himself, another pole position, another landmark. Read Sarah Holt's qualifying report to find out how it all unfolded, and keep an eye for all the reaction. I'll see you on Sunday.

MARK WEBBER, FOURTH ON THE GRID: "It's all right but I'm disappointed with my last run. It was scrappy and we needed to communicate a little bit better on things we were trying to manage. In the end, we were disappointed with the last lap and there was certainly more there. I don't know how exciting the race is going to be in terms of overtaking as the track is hard to pass on but we'll see how using the DRS [overtaking aid] goes."

JENSON BUTTON, THIRD ON THE GRID: "I don't think it's a surprise but we know the pace is in the car and it's a case of finding the right balance. I have not felt 100% comfortable this weekend but we've improved and tried a few different things. Q3 was strange because there was less grip as it was cooler. The car was acting differently which was a good thing for me because I couldn't get enough front end on the car. It was not a bad lap but still, as Lewis said, the car is working well round here."

LEWIS HAMILTON, SECOND ON THE GRID: "It was a good session for me and a good couple of days. It's a big improvement for me from the last race. We were quick in qualifying. The car is feeling good. Just at the end, that was as fast as I was able to go on that lap. It was not particularly great. That's the way it is. Well done to Sebastian. He did a great lap. The race is tomorrow and that's most important day."

Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney on qualifying: "It was really exciting. I've only been to the Monaco Grand Prix before. Now I see what George [Harrison] was so passionate about. The adrenalin is fantastic. The British boys are hopefully going to win tomorrow because we're in town vibin' it up. I'm happy to be in Abu Dhabi and doing the gig tomorrow night."

SEBASTIAN VETTEL, POLE POSITION "On Friday I wasn't very happy with the car. We thought there was more in the car but we couldn't really get to it. This afternoon was quite a bit better, but this place is tricky in many ways. You practice in day conditions when the sun is up and the track is hot. Then in qualifying it's getting dark and cool, so the car behaves differently. In qualifying I had a much better feeling, especially on the soft tyres. It is difficult getting everything into one lap - it's a long lap and there's plenty of opportunities to gain time, but a little mistake and it's easy to lose time. I wasn't so happy with my first run in Q3, but I was happy with my second. All in all, I had just enough to jump ahead of Lewis, who has been strong all weekend."

1412: "He's walking on water," says BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan of Vettel, who equals Nigel Mansell's record of 14 pole positions in a single season.

BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard: "Incredible. It was a great session in Abu Dhabi. No one would have said McLaren didn't deserve it if they had got pole. It was a great lap from Jenson Button. He didn't look like he could match Lewis Hamilton all weekend but when it came down to it in qualifying there was just one hundredth of a second between the two."

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle: "Sebastian has done it. It's his 14th pole position of the year. Sebastian Vettel gate-crashes the McLaren party. Yet again, when he needs to, he gets the job done."

CamMcFarlane on Twitter: "What a finish to qualifying! Gutted for Lewis and Jenson! But great lap from Vettel. #BBCF1"


Chequered flag
1404: No time for errors. Perfection is everything. Button scorching round. Will he spoil the party? Here comes the chequered flag. Laps have to be completed. Button clocks a 1:38.631! Has he done it? Here's Hamilton... 1:38.622!! One man left to come... you know who... yes, that man Vettel... he won't, will he?... 1:38.481!!! This guy just gets better and better and better.

BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard: "What's in my mind is the Black Eyed Peas song: 'Tonight is going to be a good night.'"

1400: Anyone fancy a second run? Hamilton and Button pit. Still time for a new pair of boots. In go the Ferraris. And now the Red Bulls too. Mechanics get to work. They mean business. No messing about. This is could be special. Button comes out. Alonso sneaks out ahead of Hamilton. Cheeky. Battle royale is about to ensue...

1327: Rosberg comes out on hard tyres... bizarre. Button chalks off a 1:39.013 but Hamilton follows him with a 1:38.704! Can Alonso beat him? NO. Can Webber? NO. Can Vettel?.............. NO!

1356: Can anyone stop Vettel snatching a record-equalling 14th pole position of the season? "Let's hope we see something different," says BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle.

1355: Green lights. GO! GO! GO!

1350: All set for the top-10 shoot-out? Good. It should be brilliant. All eyes on Lewis Hamilton. He's been the fastest man all day. The sun is setting, the floodlights are on. Nerve-jangling moments. Who's it gonna be? Hamilton took pole at Yas Marina in 2009, Vettel in 2010. Last-minute predictions, please...

BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle: "Hamilton remains the man of the moment. Fastest again."

Chequered flag
1345: A late flying lap sees Paul di Resta snatch eighth but, moments later, his team-mate Adrian Sutil sneaks ahead. They're both in. As is Michael Schumacher. We lose Perez, Petrov, Buemi, Senna, Alguersuari, Kobayashi and Maldonado.

1344: Midfield running all out there vying for grid position or doing all they can to sneak into the top 10.

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Michael Schumacher has gone out on a new set of soft tyres because he doesn't feel safe. Mark Webber is out there on a used set of soft tyres. It looks like he wants to learn some more about the track conditions."

Faizalmalek on Twitter: "How many times have we seen Vettel coast through Q1 and Q2 only to blitz the pack in Q3? #BBCF1"

1340: Massa cuts a corner exactly where the dislodged bollard was and the Brazilian goes zooming into the air. "All four wheels were off the ground there," says BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle. He's fine, though, and the battle goes on...

1338: Webber, Massa, Rosberg and Di Resta the only men out on the track at present. Others on their way, but the top four will stay in.

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz on who was disadvantaged by the red flag: "Both the Renaults have used their second set of soft tyres after using a set each in Q1. Force India, who we are looking to make ninth or tenth also had to take a set of softs in Q1 and were both on a run in Q2 when the red flag came out."

1334: Vettel, Alonso, Button and Webber all get into the 1:39s but yes, you guessed it, Hamilton goes quickest with a 1:38.434. His rivals set off on another fast lap to try and catch him, only for one of the Ferrari's to clip a bollard and send it flying across the track. That means a RED FLAG... who will have wasted a set of tyres?

Williams driver Rubens Barrichello, who will start 24th: "We had a brand new engine this morning and it was looking good. We went out and had difficulties after two laps. We tried to review the situation but before qualifying the team told me there was no way we could go out. It's been a hard weekend and I can't remember doing so few laps over a weekend. I will just try to enjoy myself as much as I can on Sunday but it has been a disappointing day. Yes, this has been my toughest season most definitely. Last year it started tough but we solved the problems. This year, with people coming in and out of the team, it's been tough. I'm going to 40 years of age with 20 years of racing next season so it's almost a must for me to be there next year. I only do this because I enjoy (it) fully. I'm doing everything I can to be on the grid. I'm even looking at other things such as getting sponsors if that's what we need. I just want to show that my passion is behind the steering wheel."

1330: Senna, Kobayashi, Buemi and Alguersuari first out as the midfield runners look to make an impression. And there's Sir Paul watching intently in the pit lane as Lewis Hamilton emerges. Great look on his face, as if to say 'Baby You Can Drive My Car'.

1325: Up front, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is the only man to dip under 1:40 with a lap of one minute, 39.782 seconds. Outstanding pace from the 2008 world champion. Here comes Q2, a 15-minute session that ends with us losing another seven men. Track temperatures are falling and light is fading but lap times are improving. Don't blink...

BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard: "Michael Schumacher should not be down in 17th battling with the Lotuses, Virgins and HRTs."

Chequered flag
1320: Down comes the chequered flag and Schumacher gets in by the skin of his teeth. We lose Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock, Ricciardo, D'Ambrosio, Liuzzi and Barrichello.

A celeb has been spotted
1318: Schumacher struggling down in 14th. Big trouble. Switches to softs. Down to 17th. BIG TROUBLE for the seven-time world champion. Massa's had to take a set of softs too. Barrichello now won't be running in this session. Very bad news. And there's Paul McCartney. It's all happening!

Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne on Twitter: "Run will be 4 laps, slow, quick, slow quick, tyres not ready on first lap."

BBC F1 co-commentator David Coulthard: "There hasn't been such a big lap time difference between the harder prime tyre and softer option tyre this weekend. It's also taking two or three laps to warm up the tyres."

1315: So, Hamilton - Weber - Button - Vettel - Rosberg - Alonso - Massa - Sutil - Schumacher - Alguersuari. That's the top 10. No sign of Rubens Barrichello yet. He's waiting until the end of the session for one run of three laps, we're told. Bit risky. Remember, at the end of this session, seven cars are eliminated.

1312: Button trumps everyone, only for Webber to come through with a 1:40.167. But back comes that man Hamilton with a 1:39.782. "Hamilton absolutely flying," says BBC F1 commentator Martin Brundle. "Surely looking favourite for pole position."

Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne on Twitter: "Both cars will switch to the softer tyre for the second run, big difference between the two but saving softs for the race."

1309: Lewis responds by chalking off a 1:40.661. The big boys are still on the slower, medium compound tyres.

1308: Hamilton goes fastest with a 1:41.414 before Vettel rounds in 1:41.268. Alonso, Webber and Button complete a familiar-looking top five. Oooh and now Webber posts a 1:40.936.

1307: Mark Webber takes the mantle with a 1:41.816. Sutil, Di Resta, Buemi and Senna also in the top five.

1305: We're well under way, with most - if not all - of the drivers on hard tyres. Jaime Alguersuari and Paul Di Resta lay timed laps early doors, Alguersuari's 1:41.816 leading the way.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "Mansell sent Vettel a note after he broke his record for number of laps led in a season at the last race in India #bbcf1"

Ferrari on Twitter: "Just to start the afternoon we want to give you the latest news about the front wing, which looks to be a topic of interest for many people. We have been working hard to understand the issues with the front wing assemblies but obviously have not yet fully understood all the issues. We have taken the tough decision that we will not use this on one car for the rest of the weekend. We will continue to investigate this at the YDT and in Maranello. So the situation is the following: Felipe will use the old spec front wing, Fernando the new one."

A celeb has been spotted
1258: Time for a pre-quali celeb spot... Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini (in cream blazer, white shirt and black tie) alongside City left-back Gael Clichy. Decent?

1255: Now then... five minutes until the start of qualifying and what a session it promises to be. Vettel? Hamilton? Webber? Button? Alonso? I'll let you call it. A 20-minute battle followed by a 15-minute scrap and then a 10-minute shoot-out. We're getting excited. You're getting excited. Eddie's getting excited. Let's get it on...

GETHOLDOFDAVE on Twitter: "In Marina Grandstand at Yas predicting sun, sand and Paul McCartney to perform Let it Be in the after-race concert!!"

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Abu Dhabi: "In contrast to the hubbub at Media HQ, McLaren headquarters are a much more chilled place to be. McLaren have had the fastest car here all weekend and are confident they can convert that into their second pole of the season. Lewis Hamilton finished a stunning half a second faster than Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull in final practice and the team say he has been nailing his laps around the Yas Marina circuit, where he took pole two years ago. Meanwhile, Jenson Button's model girlfriend Jessica Michibata was joking with his Dad John over lunch and Button himself has good reason to be relaxed, too. The team say a spot of traffic interrupted his qualifying simulation in practice. Vettel, who is after his record-equalling 14th pole position of 2011 here, usually keeps some time in his pocket before unleashing Red Bull's true pace at the last in qualifying - but there is a sense in the paddock that might just not happen here."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Speech, Yorkshire, via text on 81111: "It would be a great ending to the season if Hamilton got two poles and two race wins after what he's been through."

Renault boss Eric Boullier on his team's performance this season: "We have an issue. We went for a very innovative design this year and it cost us a lot to develop it. This is the price we have had to pay. Also don't forget we lost our lead driver [Robert Kubica, to injury] as well. I'm not holding the seat for him but I am holding an opportunity for him to be back. We have been waiting all year to get some news. We have worked on a number of different scenarios and now we're pretty close to deciding what we want to do. We're waiting to hear whether Robert can commit."

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Lee McKenzie: "The battle for the midfield positions in the constructors' championship is really hotting up. Last year Toro Rosso finished ninth with 13th points and only the three new teams behind them. This year Red Bull's junior team are tied on 41 points with Sauber and within catching distance of Force India, who are sixth. I have been speaking to drivers Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi and team boss Franz Tost this weekend. Tost explained that 2010 was the first year that they had to stop living off hand-me-downs from Red Bull and start making their own car from scratch. Now things are starting to gel, the improvements can be seen in the results, especially since they tried out a new floor in Japan. Tost would not confirm, though, whether Alguersuari and Buemi would be behind the wheel next season - that could depend on how high up the constructors' championship the duo manage to lift the team."

Force India's Paul Di Resta on the team's battle to hold onto sixth place in the constructors' championship: "It's quite a big amount of pressure given that the team lost sixth place in the constructors' championship last year by one point. This year, we're in a stronger position than the guys chasing us and the car has been working well so far this season. Hopefully we can carry this form into this race and go to Brazil with a comfortable margin over our competitors."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Abu Dhabi: "Media HQ has been a bit quiet in Abu Dhabi this weekend but there has just been a flurry of activity here as F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone - fresh from his appearance in a Munich court as a witness in a bribery case - brought in the Crown Prince of Bahrain to show him the facilities. The impromptu visit turned into a bit of a media scrum for both of them. The Crown Prince spoke about losing the race in Bahrain because of civil unrest in the Gulf Kingdom in March and how keen is in on the grand prix keeping its place on the calendar in 2012. Ecclestone also agreed that he wanted Bahrain back and said that Abu Dhabi wouldn't have had a race at all if Bahrain - which is 263 miles to the east - hadn't brought F1 to the region in 2004. My Press Association colleague Ian Parkes will report all the details soon."

1238: We've just seen nice little interviews with Hamilton and Button. Hamilton says "I don't plan to be single for long" following his split from Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger. Lewis adds that he felt at his best when he was in the relationship and "maybe it's something I need back". Jenson, meanwhile, addresses the issue of his 'Movember' moustache, which happens to be growing very quickly. The Frome flyer admits "I'm a hairy monster".

BBC F1 chief analyst Eddie Jordan on Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel's crashes in Friday practice: "There were a couple of really surprising moments on track on Friday. We saw Fernando sliding off and damaging the rear wing but with Sebastian, even in the moment of adversity, he got his head together to ensure that his impact with the wall protected the front wing and minimised the damage."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Pete, Edinburgh, via text on 81111: "The championship may be over but I feel this is going to be one of the best qualifying sessions of the season!"

1225: Slightly disturbed by the number of tweets and texts you're sending me about EJ's shirt. It's a deep purple and white number. What's wrong with that? I think it's quite fetching...

1220: The sound of The Chain can only mean one thing... it's time to go racing. But before that, racing of a different sort. Jake and DC racing around the Formula Rossa at Abu Dhabi's Ferrari World. "Strap yourself into the F1 cockpit and hold onto your soul as you blast away on the fastest roller coaster on the planet," says the website. "You'll accelerate up to 240km/h and see what 4.8 Gs really feels like. You'll scream over the track and 52m into the sky before flying through the chicanes, inspired from some of the most famous race tracks in the world, and across the finish line, with an adrenaline kick worthy of the Grand Prix."

ShayChopra94 on Twitter: "I can really feel a change this weekend, and Lewis Hamilton will storm to pole position. McLaren one-two coming up. #BBCF1"

1214: Any of you fine people lucky enough to be at Yas Marina this weekend? If so, let us know. If not, get in touch anyway. Simply tweet me @bbcsport_david using the Twitter hashtag #BBCF1 or text us on 81111 (UK). Get your predictions in. Quick.

1210: Warnock's boss at Loftus Road, of course, is Team Lotus principal Tony Fernandes. Knew there must've been something other than just the sunshine luring our Neil out to Abu Dhabi.

A celeb has been spotted
Neil Warnock
Come on you Rs... Rangers, not Red Bull or Renault!
1205: Ten minutes until Jake, EJ and DC pop up on your screens. Fifty-five minutes until the lights go green. And one man who will be trackside at Yas Marina to watch every twist and turn is... Queens Park Rangers football manager Neil Warnock. Not sure if that's a celeb spot. Knowing Neil, he'd certainly be appalled by any such suggestion. But still, he's in position ahead of what promises to be a cracking quali sesh.

1155: So, here we are, the penultimate qualifying session of the 2011 Formula 1 season. Sixteen of 17 pole positions this year have gone the way of Red Bull. The one anomaly? Lewis Hamilton in Korea. And if there's one man who can upset the apple cart again...

Daily Telegraph F1 correspondent Tom Cary on Twitter: "So Ham fastest in FP3. McLaren have now topped all three sessions. What price a record-equalling 14th Vettel pole in a couple of hours?"

1125: Can Lewis repeat the trick in qualifying? Let's all take a breather, compose ourselves, refuel and get back here for 1145. BBC One goes live at 1215 and quali starts at 1300. In the meantime, have a read of Sarah Holt's report from FP3.

1120: Hamilton does the business with a lap of one minute, 38.976 seconds. That's 0.427 seconds faster than Vettel, with Webber and Button and little further back and Alonso almost seven tenths off the pace. Rosberg, Massa, Sutil and Schumacher complete the top 10.

Team Lotus reserve driver Karun Chandhok and BBC 5 live analyst: "Lewis Hamilton is looking good again. The McLaren is working so well through the corners. Since Korea, Lewis has seemed like Lewis again. I thought he drove well in Korea and though he had problems in India, he had pace. He's rediscovered his mojo again. At the moment, he's half a second clear of everybody else. I don't think we'll see the same gap in qualifying but Lewis has put himself in a good position to get pole."

BBC 5 live commentator David Croft: "It's a complete clean sweep for McLaren in this weekend's three practice sessions. I wonder if we're going to see for a second time this season a non-Red Bull pole on a weekend where Sebastian Vettel could equal Nigel Mansell's record of 14 poles in a single season."

It's good news for a Brit
Chequered flag

1058: Then comes a 1:38.976 from Hamilton. Incredible work. Vettel four tenths adrift in second, Button, Webber and Alonso all within a second of the lead. But no-one's touching Lewis.

1055: Webber is the first man to into the 1:39s today but Hamilton, Vettel, Button and Alonso are hot on his heels on those soft tyres. Lewis Hamilton duly posts a 1:39.177 and that's the quickest lap this weekend. It's also faster than any time set in 2010. That boy is on fire! "You're the quickest man on the track," he's told on the McLaren team radio.

A celeb has been spotted
1054: More importantly, I can confirm that Britney Spears did indeed play a concert at Yas Marina on Friday. But, I regret to inform you, she didn't sing Baby One More Time or Oops!...I Did It Again. Shocking.

1050: Hamilton fourth fastest on hard tyres while everyone in front of him are on softs. Boy, the McLaren has pace this weekend. He's switching to softs right now, so expect some quick times.

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "Fernando Alonso has kept the development front wing but Felipe Massa has abandoned everything to do with the flexible wing. He has gone back to the older, sturdier wing and he won't be trying out any more experiments for the rest of the weekend."

Team Lotus reserve driver Karun Chandhok and BBC 5 live analyst on Ferrari, Sauber and HRT blocking a bid to allow off-throttle blowing of diffusers next season: "The rules are different next year as the cars have to pass the crash tests before pre-season testing whereas this year, you could do it up until the first race. That means the cars have to go into production a few weeks earlier now so I can see why some teams are not very happy about the rules being changed. From what we've seen this year, McLaren and Red Bull have gained a lot from the blown diffuser whereas Ferrari were competitive at Silverstone which was the only race without it. Ferrari feel that they haven't got as much of an advantage from the diffuser this season and therefore they have less to lose without it."

1048: Nice work from Mercedes and Nico Rosberg to go fastest with a 1:40.135. Massa, Sutil, Hamilton and Vettel are also in the top five, Schumacher, Button, Webber, Perez and Buemi the top 10.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Abu Dhabi: "Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso shrugged off their plunges into the barriers at Turn One during Friday practice. Vettel, who is chasing his 14th pole position of 2011 here, has good reason to be relaxed as because the double world champion has gone on to take pole after crashing his Red Bull during practice in Turkey, Canada and Japan this year. Vettel said he was 'a bit too greedy' in Abu Dhabi on Friday as he tried to take too much of the kerb at Turn One but reckons qualifying will be 'very tight'. Alonso is already consigning himself to landing up on the third row of the grid but despite his crash and several wobbly moments for the Ferraris he reckons the car is performing quite well. 'We should be reasonably competitive,' he said. 'We were a bit afraid of this circuit before we came here but maybe we are closer than we thought.'"

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz: "I think there's a tale of three teams this weekend. We have two teams that don't quite have things in place. At Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel's car is OK but Mark Webber's car is in pieces with seven people working on it. At Ferrari, there is some work taking place on Fernando Alonso's car but Felipe Massa has gone out much earlier than his rivals to do some set-up work. The team in the middle is McLaren and everything seems to be going right for them this weekend. If they can keep this up, I think they're well set for qualifying."

1042: Hamilton enjoys a brief spell at the head of the timesheets before his 2011 foe Felipe Massa clocks a 1:40.631 to pip the Briton by 0.030 seconds. Rosberg, Vettel and Button complete the top five.

A celeb has been spotted
Virgin Racing on Twitter: "Yes that is Sophie Ellis-Bextor in the garage and gracing your TV screens. She's playing Amber Lounger here."

1037: Faultless lap from man-of-the-season Sebastian Vettel, whizzing round the 5.554km Yas Marina circuit in one minute, 40.938 seconds to knock Button off his perch by 0.055 seconds.

1035: Button continues to set the standard up front but he's now got Mark Webber (1:40.995) for company. Hamilton, Vettel, Perez and Alonso are all within a second of the top time.

Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne on Twitter: "Gearbox problem for Jarno, he will not get back out this session."

BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz on the Ferrari front wing: "The rule is that the wing must be legal if they run it so the team would not run the wing if they suspected it would fail. It may not have been put under the FIA flexi test but Ferrari would have done the test themselves to make sure it passed. I think it may be the case that the team is making a point to [FIA race director] Charlie Whiting to show him what is and what isn't possible with flexi wings. In light of the issues around Red Bull's front wing, I think they want to show that this is what will happen if we allow easy testing on flexi wings."

Team Lotus reserve driver Karun Chandhok and BBC 5 live analyst on Ferrari's fluttering front wing: "Ferrari seem to be genuinely confused. It's unusual for the team of Ferrari's calibre to have a mistake which they'll carry on with so there must be some benefit to running it. If you can get the front wing to get closer to the ground and still pass the FIA safety tests, there is a performance benefit in it. You can pick up a lot of front downforce. It is what Red Bull have done and what a lot of people have tried to copy."

1029: Vettel starts off with a 1:42.001 to go fourth fastest.

1025: Button lowers his top time to 1:40.993, and he's joined up front by team-mate Lewis Hamilton (1:41.186). Massa, Schumacher and Sutil complete the first five, with Vettel, Alonso and Webber still yet to record a timed lap. Vettel is waiting for the track to cool down, according to pit-lane reporter Natalie Pinkham. Sensible decision? Meanwhile, Trulli looks set to miss out on this session with a gearbox problem. Not good news for Team Lotus. Hearing there's a problem for Williams's Rubens Barrichello too. Busy, busy, busy. Medium compound tyres all round from what I can see.

A celeb has been spotted
1020: Ferrari's Felipe Massa goes top of the pops with a 1:43.132, only to be trumped by McLaren's Jenson Button with a 1:42.163. Just seen pictures of Sophie Ellis-Bextor in the Virgin garage... Murder on the Dance Floor, anyone?

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Abu Dhabi: "It's my third visit here but can you believe it has taken me this long to explore the city of Abu Dhabi? Yas Island has so many distractions that it's easy to forget the circuit, five-star hotel, a marina and the monstrous indoor theme park that is Ferrari World have all been dug out of the sand away from the city. From what I saw, the metropolis of Abu Dhabi, which is a 25-minute drive away, is ahead of the game when it comes to modernisation. Construction sites radiate from the modern city centre, while skeleton frames of skyscrapers reach into the sky. We went in the evening, for a delicious mezze of halloumi, tabbouleh and hummus, and as we drove back the multi-coloured lights of the island twinkled amid the darkness to guide our way home. Still, the most impressive feature of the city is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which claims to have the world's largest chandelier and Persian carpet!"

1017: Early timed laps for Sergio Perez, Paul di Resta, Heikki Kovalainen, Jerome d'Ambrosio, Bruno Senna and Timo Glock. Big(ger) guns on their way out as we speak.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Martin, West Yorkshire, via text on 81111: McLaren drivers wore blue overalls at long beach in early 80s as they were sponsored by an American drinks company."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt on Twitter: "Hamilton last to complete install laps. TV pix show super-helpful Sam Michael checking out McLaren pit-wall. He'll be back next year."

1008: Blue race suits for McLaren today. It's all to do with the public competition they've been running this season. Question is, have McLaren drivers ever worn blue overalls before? You tell me. I'm hearing shouts for Niki Lauda in the early 1980s...

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Abu Dhabi: "Lewis Hamilton is in chipper form in Abu Dhabi, at least when it comes to discussing sporting matters. The 2008 world champion took pole here in 2009 but lost his chance to win the race when he was forced to retire with brake problems. Still, that's all in the past and he is now focused on a positive weekend for McLaren, who looked strong in Friday practice. 'It was a really positive day for me,' said Hamilton, after topping the timesheets. 'When you come through a Friday without any problems, it definitely makes you feel confident for the weekend.' Hamilton also received a bit of a fillip from old foe Fernando Alonso, who paid him a compliment when speaking to the Italian press this weekend. Alonso said of his former McLaren team-mate: 'The other guys can win if they've got the best car; he's the one who's able to clinch a championship with a car that's not the best.'"

Williams F1 on Twitter: "Final practice about to start - during which we will continue to prepare our race set-up and try and improve balance issues. Radio checks done, drivers off for their install laps."

0955: Five minutes 'til the lights go green for the start of FP3, an hour-long free practice session offering teams a final chance to tinker ahead of quali. BBC pit-lane reporter Natalie Pinkham tells of 41C track temperature. Hot. We're live on the Red Button, the video console atop this page and 5 live sports extra. Get comfy... your eyes and ears are about to be treated to a spectacular day. Promise.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
0950: Holty will be in position all day, feeding into the live text and tweeting away from trackside. But it's vital you guys and girls play your part, too. Just tweet me @bbcsport_david using the Twitter hashtag #BBCF1 or pop over a good old fashioned text message on 81111 (UK). Get those fingers tapping!

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Abu Dhabi: "Hello, and welcome to a Saturday where, forgive me for borrowing footballing parlance, the Formula 1 field is preparing for a game of two halves. The drivers have been explaining the unique challenges of Abu Dhabi's twilight race. As the sun sets over the Yas Marina circuit, they have to adjust to changes in light and a gradual drop in track temperature. It also means that whatever they learn in third practice - which will be run in the middle of the afternoon in the desert - becomes in some ways irrelevant to a twilight qualifying session two hours later. Here's McLaren driver Jenson Button with some more: 'It's a tricky one here as the first (practice) session is about 45C on track but in the second session temperatures drop by about 15 degrees. It's the same in P3. You don't want to do too much work and then find the car works completely differently in qualifying.'"

The sun is out
0940: A very warm - 27C, in fact - welcome to Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend. An hour of practice coming your way at 1000 GMT before qualifying at 1300 GMT. It's a scorching day at Yas Marina and we're all set for some red-hot battles on the track.

0930: The English and Spanish football teams may be meeting in a friendly this weekend, but there was no sign of such cordiality extending to the Formula 1 circuit. A couple of years ago there was more chance of turkeys voting for Christmas than Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton lavishing praise on each other. But that's exactly what has happened. Remarkable. The old foes are suddenly best pals! Whether we're saying the same thing after two days of full-throttle racing remains to be seen...

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Live Leaderboard


After 60 of 61 laps
Position Driver Team

Race stopped at 60 laps

1 Great Britain L Hamilton Mercedes
2 Germany S Vettel Red Bull
3 Australia D Ricciardo Red Bull
4 Spain F Alonso Ferrari
5 Brazil F Massa Williams
6 France J Vergne Toro Rosso
7 Mexico S Perez Force India
8 Finland K Raikkonen Ferrari
9 Germany N Hulkenberg Force India
10 Denmark K Magnussen McLaren
11 Finland V Bottas Williams
12 Venezuela P Maldonado Lotus
13 France R Grosjean Lotus
14 Russia D Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Sweden M Ericsson Caterham
16 France J Bianchi Marussia
17 Great Britain M Chilton Marussia
18 Great Britain J Button (ret.) McLaren
19 Germany A Sutil (ret.) Sauber
20 Mexico E Gutierrez (ret.) Sauber
21 Germany N Rosberg (ret.) Mercedes
22 Japan K Kobayashi (ret.) Caterham

see also
Vettel grabs pole from Hamilton
12 Nov 11 |  Formula 1
Hamilton buoyed by Alonso praise
11 Nov 11 |  Formula One
Hamilton heads Button in practice
11 Nov 11 |  Formula One
Abu Dhabi GP practice as it happened
11 Nov 11 |  Formula 1
Hamilton dismisses boss's theory
11 Nov 11 |  Formula One
Vettel beats Button in Indian GP
30 Oct 11 |  Formula 1

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