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Vettel fastest in first Indian practice session

Sebastian Vettel sets the pace in first 90 minutes of action at Buddh International.

Sebastian Vettel issued an early warning that he is in no mood to let up on his recent run of success after topping the timesheets in the opening practice session for this weekend's Indian Grand Prix.

While McLaren team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button took turns to lead the way early in the 90-minute session, Vettel eventually emerged on top by three-tenths over the latter after posting a 1min 27.619secs effort right at the end. Hamilton, however, was on an equally fast lap when he decided to pit and could have matched the German. The Briton eventually ended the morning in fourth spot, behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who fitted both front and rear wing developments towards the end of the session, squeezing between the McLarens with a time of 1min 28.044secs and edging his former team-mate by just 0.002secs.

Mark Webber also took a turn at the top of the times in an incident-free session, but was restricted to fifth at the chequered flag, half a second off Vettel's pace but comfortably ahead of Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa, the final drivers within a second of Vettel's pace. Michael Schumacher, Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top ten.

Valtteri Bottas did another competent job in place of Bruno Senna, taking eleventh spot a handful of tenths off the Lotus ahead of him, but the real attention in the second half of the field was focused on Esteban Gutierrez, the GP2 race winner drafted in to replace an apparently unwell Sergio Perez at Sauber. The younger Mexican, making his debut on a grand prix weekend, was naturally a little rough around the edges, and clearly still exploring the limits of the C31 as he lapped 3.5secs off the pace, and 1.4secs off team-mate Kamui Kobayashi. Whether he remains in the #15 machine during the afternoon remains to be seen - Sauber's announcement stated that he would take part in the opening session, while Perez did not appear too unwell when pictured on the pit-wall....

Paul di Resta split Bottas and Kobayashi in twelfth spot, with Force India team-mate Nico Hulkenberg right on the Sauber's tail. Romain Grosjean was equally matched in 15th, with Pastor Maldonado heading Jean-Eric Vergne, Vitaly Petrov and Giedo van der Garde - in for Heikki Kovalainen - ahead of Gutierrez at the foot of the top 20.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Esteban Gutierrez (MEX), third driver, Sauber F1 Team - Sauber C31 Ferrari Launch
12.10.2012-  Free Practice 1, Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Test Driver, Williams F1 Team
12.10.2012-  Free Practice 2, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7
12.10.2012-  Free Practice 1, Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB8
14.10.2012- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27
22.09.2012 - Free practice 3, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
12.10.2012-  Free Practice 1, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 1, Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 1, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 1, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 1, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 1, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 1, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 1, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 1, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
30.09.2016 - Free Practice 1, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38

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October 26, 2012 3:43 PM

If this is anything to go by then it seems the Red Bulls have picked up their game as they have done for the past three years and deservedly once again will receive both titles. Too bad for everyone else who continuously keep losing the development race time and time again to the Red Bulls. A continuous dominance by any one time leaves the sport open to the criticism of boredom as was the case in the Schumacher era. Having said that if the competition is not good enough for the likes of the Bulls then so be it.

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