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Kovalainen quickest in Abu Dhabi practice

Kovalainen proved the quickest during practice for Sunday's inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Kovalainen proved the quickest during practice for Sunday's inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Heikki Kovalainen tops timesheets in practice for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
  • Kovalainen edges out Lewis Hamilton and world champion Jenson Button
  • Williams team have confirmed Cosworth will be their new engine supplier

(CNN) -- Heikki Kovalainen prevented practice for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from being an all-British affair as he topped the timesheets after the second session.

With three minutes of the session remaining, and with Lewis Hamilton poised to edge out Jenson Button at the top of the standings, Kovalainen ensured it would be a McLaren one-two rather than a British one-two that led the way ahead of Sunday's race.

Conditions for the second 90-minute period were markedly different to those in the first as outgoing world champion Hamilton pipped new title-holder Button by just 0.096 seconds.

Earlier, as the drivers acclimatised themselves to the new Yas Marina circuit, they basked in temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius.

It was still 31 degrees when the second session began at 5pm local time, but on this occasion the following 90 minutes would be played out under a setting sun for the first time in F1 history, and ultimately floodlights as day shifted into night.

Behind the scenes at Yas Marina

Ultimately, it was Finn Kovalainen who led the way with a time of one minute 41.307seconds, over 2.5 seconds quicker than Hamilton's best earlier in the day.

But that was no surprise as the 20 drivers grew accustomed to the track, culminating in the Finn ending up quicker than his McLaren team-mate by just 0.197 seconds, with Brawn GP's Button 0.234 seconds down on Kovalainen.

Sebastian Vettel, looking for a small degree of consolation for the year by finishing second to Button in the championship, was fourth quickest in his Red Bull, 0.284 seconds behind Kovalainen.

Toyota's Kamui Kobayashi, who is deputising for the injured Timo Glock, was fifth, followed by Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi and Red Bull's Mark Webber, winner in Brazil last time out.

The top 10 was completed by Brawn's Rubens Barrichello, who himself has designs on finishing runner-up to his team-mate, with Williams' Nico Rosberg ninth and Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari 10th.

BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica finished bottom of the timesheets, but that came after blowing an engine after 13 laps.

That is likely to incur a 10-place grid penalty for the race as he has already used the permissible eight engines for the season.

Meanwhile, the Williams team have confirmed Cosworth will be their new engine supplier from next season.

After recently ending their contract with Toyota ahead of schedule, the news is unsurprising as Williams have long been touted to again join forces with Cosworth after previously working with them in 2006.

Team principal Frank Williams told reporters: "Cosworth have impressed us with the quality of their technical team and convinced us their program will deliver a competitive Formula One engine.

"In addition, like Williams, Cosworth is an independent company whose owners share our passion for racing and engineering.

"We believe that, working together, we will develop not only a competitive racing car for 2010, but also a long-term partnership that can take on the best in Formula One."