Vettel dominates Indian GP practice

Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:36am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

GREATER NOIDA, India (Reuters) - Sebastian Vettel promised to treat the Indian Grand Prix like any other race, despite a fourth successive title beckoning, and lived up to his word in Friday practice with the sort of domination Formula One fans have come to expect.

Red Bull's 26-year-old German was fastest in both sessions, with Australian Mark Webber the closest to matching his team mate.

Despite Vettel's speed, it was not all smooth running for the champion who had a problem with the KERS energy recovery system and complained about the soft tires degrading too quickly.

"The tire has too much energy, just gives up. Same for everybody," he told reporters. "Sunday it could be a short stint on the option tire but usually the track rubbers in and things improve."

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the only man who can mathematically deny Vettel the title on Sunday, suffered a gearbox problem after six laps in the morning but was fifth fastest at the end of the day.

"The situation is not that different to recent races. We are a bit behind in performance terms and tomorrow we must try and get a good starting position to get away well in the race and make it to the podium," said the Spaniard.

Alonso has to finish in the top two on Sunday to have any chance of denying Vettel the title on Indian soil.

Vettel, who has a 90-point lead over the double champion with four races worth 100 points in total remaining, is the runaway favorite to win the race.   Continued...

Red Bull Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel (C) of Germany looks on from inside his team garage at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi October 24, 2013. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee