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 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.
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.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
To be a champion you must win a title -- but to become an F1 legend you must win races at Monaco, the calendar's most testing circuit.
May 21, 2014 -- Updated 1459 GMT (2259 HKT)
Caterham F1 reserve driver Alexander Rossi takes you on a tour of the Monaco racing circuit.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
The Formula One driver transcended his sport and even 20 years after his death, Ayrton Senna commands the adoration of fans worldwide.
May 1, 2014 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
F1's greatest racer was killed during the San Marino Grand Prix on May 1 1994. The sport hasn't been the same since.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1516 GMT (2316 HKT)
Just four F1 drivers turned up to Roland Ratzenberger's funeral after his death during qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix on April 30 1994.
April 25, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
For a championship with a distinctly Iberian streak, it is no surprise that South America should be high on MotoGP's list of territories to conquer.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Too weak. Can't handle the pressure. Susie Wolff has heard it all -- but she is determined to become the first female F1 driver in 20 years.
Today's five most popular stories