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Vettel laps fast times

Sebastian Vettel leaves the Red Bull garage, yesterday.

Sebastian Vettel leaves the Red Bull garage, yesterday.

Sebastian Vettel picked up where he left off yesterday by lapping fastest in free practice for an Indian Grand Prix that could bring the Formula One championship leader a fourth win in a row.

Red Bull’s 25-year-old German, who leads Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso by six points with four races remaining, was quickest in both of the day’s sessions.

Winner of last year’s inaugural race at the hot and hazy Buddh International Circuit, south of New Delhi, Vettel set a best time of one minute 27.619 seconds in the morning and then led the afternoon timesheets with a lap of 1:26.221.

The latter time was comfortably inside his race lap record of 1:27.249.

McLaren’s Jenson Button was second fastest, 0.310 slower, before lunch with Vettel’s Australian team-mate Mark Webber second in the afternoon in an ominous Red Bull one-two.

Alonso was third in both sessions.

The top three in first practice were in the same order as last year’s podium finishers at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, which Vettel dominated after having already clinched his second championship.

This time he has had to fight harder for a third crown although, with a run of three successive wins under his belt, he has a momentum that risks turning into another Red Bull runaway in the final races.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was fourth and sixth on the timesheets respectively but, in what could be a good omen for the race, was told by his team that he was “the fastest guy on high fuel”.

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