Hamilton, Vettel Fast In Abu Dhabi

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Lewis Hamilton grabbed his third Formula One victory of the season and the third-straight for McLaren Sunday at Autodromo Nazionale Monza. (Steve Etherington Photo)

YAS ISLAND, Abu Dhabi – Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel paced a pair of Formula One World Championship practice session Thursday at the Yas Marina Circuit in preparation for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton and McLaren got off to a fast start in the first practice session, with Hamilton putting down the fastest lap of the session at 1:43.285. Hamilton’s teammate Jenson Button followed him in second, clocking in at 1:43.618.

Red Bull Racing teammates Vettel and Mark Webber were third and fourth respectively, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso clocking in fifth.

In the second session, Vettel and Hamilton battled for the fastest lap time throughout. In the end, it was Vettel who registered the fast time at 1:41.751. Hamilton ended up second at 1:41.919.

Button clocked in third, followed closely by Webber and Romain Grosjean.

“I think we can be happy with today,” said championship leader Vettel. “Overall we got a good lap on the soft tyres, but in general pace the McLaren’s were quick and seem competitive, so they’re the ones we need to look out for and beat. We need to improve the car overnight to qualify as high as we can tomorrow.”