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Indian GP: Vettel tops Friday morning practice, Button second


By Berthold Bouman

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time at the Buddh International Circuit this morning, after completing 22 laps the German set a time of 1m27.619s, beating Jenson Button, who was second for McLaren, with 0,310 seconds. Fernando Alonso was third for Ferrari, but was almost beaten by the second McLaren of Lewis Hamilton, who was fourth, only two-thousandths of a second slower than the Spaniard.

Vettel quickest in first free practice session

Vettel’s team colleague Mark Webber was fifth, Nico Rosberg was sixth, Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari seventh and Michael Schumacher eighth. Australian Daniel Ricciardo was quick this morning as he took ninth place in the Toro Rosso, Kimi Raikkonen completed the top ten, but the Finn was 1.672 seconds slower than leader Vettel.

Another Finn took possession of 11th place, as Valtteri Bottas was quick in the Williams, again beating his team mate Pastor Maldonado who had to be satisfied with 16th place. Paul di Resta was the quickest Force India driver, he was in 12th place, Nico Hulkenberg was 14th in the second Force India.

Kamui Kobayashi led the way for Sauber and was 13th after completing 18 laps. Second Sauber driver Sergio Perez still wasn’t feeling well enough to get behind the wheel, a unique opportunity for reserve driver Mexican Esteban Gutierrez who took over the duties of his compatriot.

He completed 29 laps and took 20th place this morning, it is still unknown whether Perez will be fit enough to drive this afternoon or during tomorrow’s qualifying.

Not a very productive morning for the Lotus team, Frenchman Romain Grosjean was 15th, 2.276 seconds off the pace, and 0.604 seconds slower than Raikkonen. His compatriot Jean-Eric Vergne in the second Toro Rosso was 17th, Vitaly Petrov in the Caterham was 18th.

The second Friday morning driver, Dutchman Giedo van der Garde, took over the wheel from Heikki Kovalainen and was 19th, just 0.266 seconds slower than his Russian team colleague. At the back of the field were the usual suspects, this time Marussia driver Charles Pic was 21st and faster than his team mate Timo Glock who was 23rd.

HRT driver Narain Karthikeyan was 22nd in the first practice session of his home Grand Prix, while Pedro de la Rosa was 24th and last. The Indian track was still green and dusty this morning, and it is expected times will improve during the second free practice session this afternoon.

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