Skip to main content

Vettel fastest in opening practice sessions for United States Grand Prix

November 16, 2012 -- Updated 2105 GMT (0505 HKT)
Sebastian Vettel in action during practice for the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of Americas in Texas.
Sebastian Vettel in action during practice for the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of Americas in Texas.
  • Sebastian Vettel dominates practice at United States Grand Prix
  • F1 championship leader fastest in both morning and afternoon sessions
  • Red Bull star can clinch third straight world title this weekend
  • Nearest challenger Fernando Alonso third fastest for Ferrari in second runs

(CNN) -- Sebastian Vettel made the perfect start in his bid for an historic world title triple by setting the fastest time in both practice sessions Friday for the United States Grand Prix.

Formula One is returning to the U.S. for the first time in five years on the new Circuit of Americas in Austin, Texas and the Red Bull star wasted little time in setting the pace.

The 25-year-old German can become the youngest three-time champion and only the third to achieve the feat after Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher this weekend.

He leads Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by 10 points with two races remaining and if he gains 15 points more than the Spaniard on Sunday the title will be his.

Can F1 rekindle it's American dream?

Vettel had problems with a water leak at the start of the second session and had to take to the escape road on Turn 12 on one of his runs, but his best time of one minute 37.718 seconds took him clear of the pack.

Teammate Mark Webber of Australia was second quickest with Alonso third ahead of the McLaren pair of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

Kimi Raikkonen, who won the last round of the F1 season in Abu Dhabi, was only 11th fastest in his Lotus.

Earlier, Vettel was quickest in the first competitive F1 action on the 5.516km track with a time of one minute 38.125 seconds.

He was nearly one and a half seconds faster than Hamilton, but all the drivers were cautious as they adjusted to a slippery and unknown track, which had not been "rubbered" in.

It was the biggest margin at the end of any practice session this season to underline his recent dominance.

Saturday sees qualifying to decide grid positions for the race proper.

Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1714 GMT (0114 HKT)
Glitz... check, glamor... check. Teams going bust... er, check. F1 generates billion-dollar revenues, so why can't some of its teams stay afloat?
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1814 GMT (0214 HKT)
With the sport currently facing up to a financial crisis, motorsport journalist Ed Foster explores the history of F1 sponsorship.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
He's paid millions to drive one of the world's fastest cars, and he's one of F1's most colorful characters, but Kimi Raikkonen loves normality.
October 12, 2014 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
It took a little longer than expected but MotoGP's young star Marc Marquez wraps up his second world title in Japan.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
Rising star Daniil Kvyat made history as the home hero at F1's first Russian Grand Prix, ahead of next season's move to Red Bull.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.