Sebastian Vettel returned to the top of the pile with the quickest time in the second free practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver, who goes into the weekend seeking a fifth straight victory, set a best time of 1min 41.751secs to set the pace, with his time being over 1.5secs quicker than Lewis Hamilton set in leading the first way in first practice.

The German didn't have it all his own way in the session however as he featured in a mini-battle with Hamilton for top spot before eventually securing the quickest time after switching to the softer compound Pirelli tyre. Hamilton was unable to match the Red Bull man before the field turned its focus to running longer stint and he would end up a tenth of a second behind in second place.

Hamilton showed strong pace when the longer runs took place towards the end of the session despite reporting a steering issue to McLaren while on track.

Jenson Button the second McLaren was third quickest ahead of Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber, while Lotus pair Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top six.

Former championship leader Fernando Alonso could only manage the seventh quickest time, eight-tenths of a second down on Vettel. The Spaniard was however closer to the pace once drivers started to conduct their long runs towards the end.

Behind Alonso, team-mate Felipe Massa was eighth quickest, with the top ten rounded out by Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez.

Amongst those to run into problems during the session were Webber, who stopped slightly early with a fluid leak, and Jean-Eric Vergne, who completed the fewest number of laps due to a braking issue. Vergne would end the session just two-tenths of a second quicker than the Caterham of Vitaly Petrov as a result.

Narain Karthikeyan was one of a number of drivers who suffered trips off track with a spin at turn 17 as he set the slowest time on his return to the HRT that had been driven by Ma Qing Hua during the opening session.

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