The defending world champion and current series leader clocked a best time of 1min 41.751secs to head the time-sheets above nearest rivals Britons Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button of McLaren.
Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Australian Mark Webber was in fourth place. Hamilton had been fastest in the earlier session in scorching hot conditions at the Yas Marina circuit but was unable to match the 25-year-old German’s improved effort in the twilight session that began in daylight and ended under floodlights.
Hamilton’s best lap left him one-tenth of a second short of Vettel’s fastest lap, the champion revelling in throwing his car around the track.
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