BUDAPEST: Sebastian Vettel delivered a day of near-metronomic speed and precision yesterday as he and Red Bull dominated both free practice sessions ahead of tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
The 26-year-old defending triple world champion, who is seeking his first win in Hungary, twice outpaced his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber in sweltering conditions at the Hungaroring.
His second performance in the afternoon saw him clock a lap in one minute and 21.264 seconds that lifted him clear of Webber by just four-hundredths of a second in a closely-contested duel at the top.
It was almost demonstration driving by the pair as they confirmed Red Bull’s superiority in the conditions to the dismay of those, including Ferrari and their fans, hoping to find a way of halting their express charge towards another title.
Vettel, in particular, appeared to relish his car’s performance and justify his claim that he needs no motivation to carry on racing. “I don’t think much, I think that helps,” he quipped.
Romain Grosjean was third fastest for Lotus ahead of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa.
Alonso recorded the first win of his career in Hungary while Massa suffered the blackest day at the circuit when he suffered serious head injuries in 2009.
Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, was eighth fastest after a day spent struggling with the new Pirelli tyres. He finished just ahead of his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus and Jenson Button of McLaren.
Adrian Sutil, celebrating his 100th Grand Prix this weekend, was 10th for Force India ahead of his teammate Paul Di Resta and 12th-placed Sergio Perez in the second McLaren.
Red Bull had also topped the times in torrid heat during the morning before the sun rose high in the sky to lift the air temperature into the mid-thirties and take the track beyond 40 degrees Celsius.
Vettel was soon into his stride and clocked the fastest lap after just nine of the 90 minutes, sending out a reminder that he remains the man to beat in all the races.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2013.
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