McLaren headed the second practice session in Abu Dhabi but this time it was Lewis Hamilton on top.
He set a best lap of 1’39.586, two-tenths of a second quicker than team mate Jenson Button.
The two Ferraris were third and fourth but Fernando Alonso was one of two top drivers to hit trouble.
Early in the second half of the session, Vettel lost his car at turn one in much the same way Felipe Massa had in the first session.
But the Red Bull driver made it all the way to the TecPro barrier on the outside of the corner, where the RB7 became stuck, forcing Vettel to get out of the car. He was able to return to the track later in the session.
Around a quarter of an hour later Alonso spun into the barrier at almost exactly the same place as Vettel. The right-rear of the Ferrari was damaged in the impact and Alonso also had to abandon his mount.
Mark Webber also had a quick spin in his Red Bull at turn 18, though he managed not to hit anything.
The session ended with two McLarens in front of two Ferraris and two Red Bulls. Michael Schumacher was seventh, the Mercedes driver taking to the run-offs several times during the session.
The Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta were next, with Kamui Kobayashi completing the top ten ahead of team mate Sergio Perez.
2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
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- Vote for your Abu Dhabi GP driver of the weekend
- McLaren: Relief for Hamilton after return to winning ways
- Ferrari: Slow pit stop costs Alonso shot at victory
- Red Bull: Mystery puncture halts the Vettel steamroller
- Mercedes: Rosberg comes out ahead after first-lap scrap
- Force India: Team tightens grasp on sixth in championship
- Sauber: Kobayashi ends seven-race drought