Having been thrust into the limelight at short notice, Sebastian Vettel acquitted himself well in practice for the United States Grand Prix ahead of his highly anticipated race debut for BMW Sauber.

Touted as a star of the future, Vettel's debut has nonetheless come earlier than expected courtesy of Robert Kubica's withdrawal following his smash in Canada last week, with many talent scouts keen to see if he can live up to his potential.

Luckily for team boss Mario Theissen, Vettel proved impressive on his first outing around the Indianapolis circuit, the 19-year-old just a position and two tenths behind his most obvious compare, Lewis Hamilton, during the morning session in fourth.

Although he slipped to 11th in the afternoon as the pace began to improve, the World Series by Renault championship leader was content with his day's work reacclimatising himself with the F1.07 machine he last drove in April.

"Obviously today it was going quite well. We did a lot of mileage and we were able to find out quite a bit about the tyres and the set-up of the car. We have just been trying to progress. I think it is a normal Friday. Of course it is a completely new task for me but so far I am quite happy with what I did. I think now is about working together with the team to find the maximum for tomorrow and Sunday.

"I don't have expectations as today it was important to get used to the car again as the last time I drove it was Friday in Malaysia. The car is not so bad as you could see we were quite quick in Montreal, and here also it doesn't look so bad. I thought the track was quite good with a nice rhythm, and it is quite interesting to drive with the banking. After a couple of times you get quite used to it but it is fun."

Technical director Willy Rampf was also pleased with the progress of the team's prot?g?, the German making no mistakes throughout the day.

"Sebastian did a good job. For him we have extended the usual programme in order to give him more time to learn the track and get familiar with the procedures such as pit stops. He did 83 laps which means he did more than anybody else."

 

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