2013 Indian GP: First practice
25 October 2013, 16:17
GREATER NOIDA, India - Sebastian Vettel led a Red Bull one-two during the first practice session for an Indian Grand Prix that looks sure to secure him a fourth successive Formula 1 title.
Vettel lapped the hazy Buddh International Circuit near New Delhi with a best lap of 1min26.683 seconds.
Team mate Mark Webber, who is leaving the sport at the end of the 2013 season, was 0.188 seconds slower with Nico Rosberg the best of the rest for Mercedes with a lap 0.216sec off his compatriot's pace.
ONLY ONE RIVAL
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the only man who can mathematically deny Vettel the title on October 27 2013, suffered a gearbox problem after six laps and ended up with only the 12th fastest time.
Vettel, who has a 90-point lead over Alonso with four races worth 100 points in total remaining, has won the previous two Indian Grands Prix from pole and has also led every competitive lap to date at the circuit. He was fastest in every practice session in India in 2012 and made a perfect start to a weekend that he says he will treat like any other despite a place in history beckoning.
He will be the youngest quadruple champion to win four consecutive titles. Only seven-times champion Michael Schumacher and the late Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio have won four successive titles since the championship started in 1950. Alain Prost is the sport's only other four-times champion.
Frenchman Romain Grosjean was fourth for Lotus in the opening session, ahead of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, with the McLarens of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez sixth and seventh on the timesheets.
James Calado replaced compatriot Paul Di Resta in the Force India for the first session after the team said the regular race driver had not felt well on Thursday. Di Resta is expected to return for the second session.
2013 Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit: First practice session
1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull 1min26.683
2. Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull 1min26.871
3. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min26.899
4. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min26.990
5. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min27.227
6. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min27.335
7. Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren 1min27.416
8. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1min27.692
9. Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Sauber 1min27.770
10. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 1min27.800
11. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso 1min28.035
12. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1min28.214
13. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso 1min28.336
14. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams 1min28.342
15. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India 1min28.468
16. Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber 1min28.538
17. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus 1min28.730
18. James Calado (Britain) Force India 1min29.197
19. Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham 1min29.413
20. Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia 1min29.560
21. Charles Pic (France) Caterham 1min30.026
22. Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia 1min30.471