/ Motorsport

Vettel sets the pace in Singapore

Updated: Saturday, 24 Sep 2011 17:24

Sebastian Vettel is the fastest man in Singapore - so far
Sebastian Vettel is the fastest man in Singapore - so far

Sebastian Vettel is again the man to beat after he set the pace in practice for Sunday's potential title decider in Singapore.

Following a first session restricted to just 49 of the scheduled 90 minutes due to a number of issues as the sun set and night fell over the Far East city, the second was relatively trouble-free.

Issues with kerbs, a brake fire for Lotus' Heikki Kovalainen and two red flags made for a fraught, stop-start affair in which the teams struggled for set up at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

With the kerbing issues needing to be resolved by the FIA ahead of the weekend as a number worked loose and had to be removed, there were no repercussions during FP2.

Come the conclusion the familiar name of Vettel was at the top of the order, shattering Lewis Hamilton's FP1 time by two seconds.

That was primarily as the supersoft tyres were considerably quicker than the softs, and also as the track that was dirty at the start began to rubber in.

Vettel finished with a lap of one minute 46.374secs, still a second off Fernando Alonso's pole position time of last season.

The Spaniard had to settle for second quickest, 0.201 secs adrift of the 24-year-old German, a scenario which if mirrored in the race would ensure the championship spills over into Japan.

The duo finished comfortably clear of Hamilton, who struggled with his settings early on before finally getting up to speed, albeit finishing three quarters of a second behind Vettel.

Felipe Massa was just 0.005secs behind the Briton, with Mark Webber in his Red Bull fifth quickest, almost a second down on his team- mate.

The Australian at least kept his nose clean in FP2, unlike in FP1 when he had it clipped by the Virgin of Timo Glock as he tried to squeeze into a gap that was not there.

As for the remainder of the field, they were a long way adrift in F1 terms, with Michael Schumacher sixth in his Mercedes, albeit a remarkable two seconds down.

Force India's Adrian Sutil looks set for a top-10 grid slot at this early stage, with the Saubers of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi in close attendance.

As for Jenson Button, his session lasted just 40 minutes as the 31-year-old made a rare error in his McLaren, overshooting turn 14 and leaving himself with nowhere to go as he faced a barrier.

Asked to select reverse over the team radio, Button's reply was a terse one as he simply stated "Not working!"

The frustrated Briton, who ultimately finished 10th and 3.377secs off Vettel, was left to clamber out of his car and make his way back to the garage on the back of a moped.

Just a day after remarking McLaren had made too many errors this year to be serious title contenders, this was another that leaves him on the back foot going into qualifying.

After the limited running in FP1, the last thing Paul di Resta wanted was to encounter a severe brake issue in the second session that restricted him to just nine laps in his Force India.

The team at least managed to get him on track just before the end to set a hot lap on the supersoft tyres, propelling his way up to 13th, but four seconds down.

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