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Vettel stays fastest as Red Bull dominate again

Budapest, Hungary, PTI | Updated : 27 July 2013, 04:07 PM

Sebastian Vettel delivered a day of near-metronomic speed and precision on Saturday as he and Red Bull dominated both free practice sessions ahead of Sunday'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 team-mate 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 contest 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 champion Fernando Alonso and his Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa. Alonso recorded the first win of his career in Hungary while Massa suffered the blackest day of his at the circuit when he suffered serious head injuries in 2009.

Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion, was eighth fastest after a day spent struggling with the new Pirelli tyres. He finished just ahead of his Mercedes team-mate 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 team-mate 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, confirmation if it was needed that he remains the man to beat in all seasons.

As in the morning, Hamilton struggled with the new Pirelli tyres on his Mercedes on one of his favourite circuits where he has won three times. Team-mate Rosberg faced the same problem - the team having been banned from last week's test at Silverstone - in learning how to handle them, but found life easier.

Earlier, asked about their relationship as team-mates, Hamilton had smiled when he recalled their early days together as teenagers. "It was more fun when we were in go-karts, that's about it," he said. "We're both older and wiser and yeah, we don't play as many games and kid games and all the silly things you do as a kid. He's more competitive now than he was back then..."

His former team-mate Button had talked up his McLaren team's form on Thursday, but despite a decent morning's work was unable to shine again in the afternoon. Button had suggested McLaren would be hunting a podium finish again by the time of next month's Belgian Grand Prix, but that looked a forlorn hope on Friday's form.

"We're still on our journey back to the front of the grid. The Silverstone test (last week) confirmed the direction we're taking, but we're not there yet." he said.

First Published: Saturday, July 27, 2013 04:04 PM
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