Vettel posts fastest times in free practice for US Grand Prix
Formula One:Sebastian Vettel shrugged off a water leak to put a dampener on title rival Fernando Alonso’s hopes of a championship charge.
Vettel topped both practice sessions ahead of the United States Grand Prix as the Circuit of The Americas threw open its doors for business to herald the return of Formula One to America after a five-year absence.
The 25-year-old German finished an astonishing 1.4 seconds clear of the opposition after the opening 90 minutes around the undulating 5.513km track — the largest margin at the end of any practice outing this season.
Vettel proved it was no fluke, as, although the gap was halved in the second session, it was still a considerable cushion at a venue that should have offered more of a level playing field given this is its debut.
Vettel, who needs to finish 15 points clear of Alonso on Sunday to become only the third man in F1 history to win three consecutive titles — Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher the others – finished with a lap time of one minute 37.718secs. Red Bulls team-mate Mark Webber was second quickest with a time of 1:38.475 – 0.757secs adrift.
Alonso in his Ferrari had to settle for third, just eight thousandths of a second adrift of Webber, but almost eight tenths of a second down on Vettel.