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Ferrari focus on new part testing, sacrifice pace in Friday Practice at Abu Dhabi

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For the second time this year, after September's Singapore Grand Prix, everyone gets to enjoy the beautiful sight of Formula 1 cars artificially lit by floodlight here at Yas Marina. Unlike at Marina Bay, here we are not tackling a night race, but what has been dubbed a twilight race, as the action starts in bright sunshine and progresses into darkness during the second free session.

The lighting gives everything an unreal feel, rather like watching a computer game, but there is nothing unreal about the work going on in the Scuderia Ferrari garage, all of it taking place in very hot and difficult working conditions for the mechanics. As the Maranello squad strives to improve the performance of the F2012 for these final three races, more new parts have been making the trip from Italy to Abu Dhabi. These need to be evaluated thoroughly before deciding whether or not to run them for qualifying and the race and that means one thing – plenty of laps. Today, Felipe Massa completed 57, which is two more than Sunday's race distance while Fernando Alonso did 52 on his way to seventh place by the end of the day, one spot higher up the FP2 timesheet than his team-mate.

In India a few days, ago, Sebastian Vettel topped every time sheet and indeed the one after the race, but here the Red Bull driver ended that run, as he was "only" third in the morning. However, the German was back on the number slot this evening, ahead of the McLaren duo of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

The unique Abu Dhabi timetable, means that sunlight will illuminate the final hour of free practice, before qualifying ends with the sun low in the driver's eyes before the lights are switched on again.