Lewis Hamilton maintained a slender advantage over Nico Rosberg out on track to go with his points lead as the Merc battle continued in FP2.
As the sun set over the Yas Marina circuit, it took Nico Rosberg all of ten minutes to find his way into the P1 slot in Friday’s second practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton then made it a Mercedes 1-2, the duo lapping a second up on their nearest rivals throughout the opening 30 minutes while on the soft tyres.
That chasing pack was led by Valtteri Bottas, who – with his car put back together after losing bodywork during FP1 – was back near the top of the timesheets.
As the track temperature continued to fall, the drivers began to swap to the supersoft Pirelli tyres.
This change saw Vettel briefly hit the very front with a 1:42.959 before he was overhauled by Kevin Magnussen, who posted his 1:42.895 using the old McLaren front wing.
However, when the Mercedes drivers came out for their supersoft qualifying style runs it was back to business as usual.
Rosberg crossed the line with a 1:42.303 only to be pipped by Hamilton who clocked a 1:42.159, the duo separated by 0.144s. Both drivers shaved tenths off their times on their second flying laps.
Hamilton finished with a 1:42.113 with Rosberg 0.083s. Magnussen was third in his MP4-29 but managed to finish within a second of Hamilton’s best as too did Vettel.
Daniel Ricciardo was just outside in fifth, 1.070s down, while Bottas was sixth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in the only Ferrari running for much of the evening’s practice.
His team-mate Fernando Alonso’s evening ended after just 18 minutes of play – and two laps – as his F14T broke down with a complete power failure, stopping between Turns 19 and 20. Asked what happened, he answered: “The car stopped.”
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:42.113 35 laps
02 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:42.196 +0.083 37 laps
03 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:42.895 +0.782 37 laps
04 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:42.959 +0.846 33 laps
05 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:43.070 +0.957 34 laps
06 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:43.183 +1.070 32 laps
07 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:43.489 +1.376 33 laps
08 Jenson Button McLaren 1:43.503 +1.390 23 laps
09 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:43.546 +1.433 38 laps
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1:43.558 +1.445 34 laps
11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:43.746 +1.633 37 laps
12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:44.005 +1.892 38 laps
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:44.068 +1.955 32 laps
14 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:44.157 +2.044 39 laps
15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:44.316 +2.203 38 laps
16 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:44.763 +2.650 37 laps
17 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:44.986 +2.873 35 laps
18 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:45.505 +3.392 38 laps
19 Will Stevens Marussia 1:47.057 +4.944 34 laps
Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2