Vettel sets pace in last Spanish GP practice

Updated: 21 May 2011 16:09 IST

Sebastian Vettel made his one lap count as the Formula One championship leader went quickest in a Red Bull 1-2 in practice ahead of Saturday's qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Vettel sets pace in last Spanish GP practice

Barcelona:

Sebastian Vettel made his one lap count as the Formula One championship leader went quickest in a Red Bull 1-2 in practice ahead of Saturday's qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Vettel sat in the garage until the close of the session, when his flying lap around the Catalunya Circuit timed 1 minute, 21.707 seconds to edge teammate Mark Webber by 0.084 seconds.

Vettel is favorite to secure a fifth straight pole position as no other car was under 1:23 except the Red Bulls.

Michael Schumacher of Mercedes was third by a distant 1.350 seconds ahead of McLaren pair Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, who was 1.5 seconds behind.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was 2.563 seconds behind in ninth.

Vettel blew away the field with a last-gasp flyer that makes the German driver favorite to consolidate his leading status with a fourth win in five races after Webber had dominated nearly four hours of practice started from Friday.

Webber was in command as he surpassed Schumacher's time and looked set to go into Sunday's 66-lap race in the best position to repeat a win that kickstarted his championship campaign last season.

But Vettel quickly put himself top of the timesheet on a hot, dry day in Barcelona.

Both McLaren drivers said Friday that Red Bull were favorites going into qualifying, and Saturday's final practice did little to sway that deduction as the Austrians look to start on the front row for the 20th time in 24 races.

Ferrari's charge fell off as it was forced to remove a new rear wing that FIA deemed "could be declared illegal," according to the Italian team. Felipe Massa was further back from Alonso in 11th.

Nick Heidfeld was forced to abandon nearly halfway through the 60-minute session as his Renault suddenly burst into flames on track from a possible fuel leak.

"Fire," the German driver said coolly over the team radio as he pulled onto the track shoulder and quickly jumped out as flames and smoke engulfed his car.

Renault will be counting on teammate Vitaly Petrov now as it has to repair the extensive damage to Heidfeld's car in a matter of hours since there is no extra car available.

Topics : Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix
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