F1 Raceweek: Rosberg keeps pack at arm's length with Hamilton fastest again


Both Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bulls offered glimpses of getting their elbows into the title race between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in Friday's second practice session at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel turned in a supreme effort in qualifying simulations, before Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo both clung onto the coattails of Rosberg's race pace.

Having topped the timesheets in FP1, turning in the quickest qualifying sim and then putting in race sims that were more consistent than anyone on-track, Hamilton looks set for the win he needs to put the pressure on his team-mate, who has a 12-point lead ahead of the final race of 2016.

Having impressed earlier in the session, Vettel suffered a gearbox failure when on a longer run and, though it remains to be seen whether he was using his race specification, sullen faces in the Ferrari garage suggest it will not be good news for a driver that has been hit with penalties for changing components at other races.

Ricciardo turned in a quicker opening lap time on heavy fuel compared to Rosberg and matched the German in the 1:45s for much of the latter part of the session. Verstappen looked good on ultrasofts, but abandoned his run of soft tyres after complaining about grip.

While others' times fluctuated, Hamilton was a model of consistency and rarely went above one minute 46 seconds.