Sat, Jun 23, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Vettel sets fastest lap in two GP practice sessions


Caterham F1 Team’s Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen drives at the Valencia Street Circuit yesterday in Valencia, Spain, during the first practice race of the European Grand Prix.

Photo: AFP

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel was the fastest through two practice sessions yesterday for Formula One’s European Grand Prix.

The two-time defending world champion, who has won here the past two seasons starting from pole, clocked the day’s best lap in the second session of 1 minute, 39.334 seconds on the 5.4km Valencia Street Circuit.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg was next, followed by Kamui Kobayashi of Sauber and Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was seventh, while points leader Lewis Hamilton was 14th.

The top 15 drivers all recorded times within a one-second margin.

Vettel trails Hamilton by two points and Alonso by one ahead of tomorrow’s race.

Qualifying is today.

Pastor Maldonado of Williams set the fastest lap in the first practice session.

The Venezuelan driver, who earned his first win in May at the Spanish GP in Barcelona, clocked a lap of 1 minute, 40.89 seconds.

Webber spent most of the early part of the one-and-a-half hour session watching his Red Bull mechanics tinker with his car. Once on the track, he quickly found his form and posted a time just 0.094 seconds behind Maldonado.

The morning’s busiest drivers were the Toro Rosso pair of Daniel Riccardio, who ran a session-high 28 laps, while Jean-Eric Vergne put in 27.

The incident-free session saw temperatures reach 32oC on the track, while winds kicked up surf along the America’s Cup harbor.

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