Vettel coy after topping Singapore times
Sebastian Vettel posted the fastest time for Red Bull in Friday’s second free practice session but played down its likely impact on his chances of retaining his title in Singapore.
The 24-year-old German, who could become the youngest two-time champion in Formula One history this weekend, said he expected a tight contest ahead and suggested his early edge in speed meant little.
“I wouldn’t call it an advantage, I think it looked pretty tight. It depends where and when and who was out, we have to wait and see,” he said.
“It is Friday. Tomorrow is Saturday and then we worry about FP3 (third practice). Then it is qualifying and then the race. The feeling in the car was all right.
“We have to look how the others were, do our homework tonight and then see what we can do tomorrow. We did work quite a bit, the car was good though.”
The reluctant championship favourite added that he was not yet clear on who his main rivals would be — but pointed out that Ferrari looked strong.
He added: “I don’t know. I didn’t have as much time as you to look at the times so I was busy when I was on the track, but surely Ferrari looked quite competitive, Felipe (Massa) as well at some stage, so we need to see.
Vettel clocked a fastest lap of 1min 46.374sec to finish the day two-tenths of a second ahead of his nearest rival, two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.
Australian Mark Webber was fifth in the second Red Bull ahead of seven-times champion German Michael Schumacher, 42, of Mercedes, who was two seconds off the pace set by his pace-setting compatriot at the front of the field.
Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren was quickest in an incident-packed opening session — delayed because of problems with kerbing and then punctuated by red flagged interruptions for various minor incidents
He was third-fastest in the later evening run ahead of Brazilian Massa in the second Ferrari.
Another German, Adrian Sutil of Force India, was seventh ahead of Mexican Sergio Perez and his Sauber team-mate Japanese Kamui Kobayashi with Briton Jenson Button down in 10th place in the second McLaren, his session ruined by a braking problem.
The second period of action was more straightforward than the first as the teams acclimatised to temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) and heavy humidity.
Vettel was fastest early on to establish his supremacy before Massa and then Alonso made the most of moving early to soft tyres, each going fastest before the defending champion switched rubber and reclaimed his spot.
The Red Bull driver is seeking his ninth win of the season and could lift the title if he comes first and keeps Alonso off the podium.
To boost his chances his father Norbert gave him a new lucky charm in the shape of a bronze-coloured model pig.
According to sources at Red Bull, the gift of a pig is quite common in Germany.
While Vettel enjoyed his fortune, Button was out of luck and his participation in the session ended after he almost lost control of his McLaren under braking at Turn 14.
A pair of lurid skid-marks on the circuit suggested he had locked up as he battled to keep the car under his guidance.© AAP 2013
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