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F1 Abu Dhabi GP: ‘Better Friday’ gives Vettel hope of Red Bull challenge

Sebastian Vettel shrugs off a mechanical problem in FP2 to prove the closest match to Mercedes ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel has sounded optimism coming into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix despite mechanical problems stopping him out on track in FP2.

The German emerged as 'best of the rest' behind the Mercedes' in second free practice with a time of 1min 41.130secs, a modest three tenths adrift of the top spot and ahead of the Red Bull Racing drivers.

Happier in the more ambient conditions of the evening practice session, though a suspected gearbox problem would force Vettel to stop on track in the closing stages, he was other pleased with the feeling in his SF16-T.

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“I think it was a better Friday for us, actually it was a very good Friday,” he said. “On a hot track we struggled a bit, this evening things calmed down, the car calmed down.

“On the long run I struggled a bit with the fronts early on, maybe I was a bit too aggressive, but overall the car felt good to be honest.

“I think we should have good pace. Hopefully tomorrow we have similar feeling in quali and put the car where it belongs and then we should have a good race.”

With no penalty expected because he was using an 'old' Friday gearbox, Vettel remains coy on the suggestion Ferrari can get amongst the title fighting Mercedes'.

“I don't want to affect the outcome but I want to have a strong race, we want to have a very, very strong last race. If that means splitting them or even running in front of them by however the race turns out, then that's good news. They are the absolute favourites, nothing has changed in that regard.”

POINTS: The F1 Drivers' & Constructors' standings ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix F1 finale

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