Vettel outpaces home hero Alonso in Spanish Grand Prix showdown
May 10, 2013 -- Updated 1803 GMT (0203 HKT)
Sebastian Vettel leads teammate Mark Webber during practice sessions for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
- Sebastian Vettel edges Fernando Alonso in second free practice in Spain
- Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber third fastest in afternoon runs
- Vettel leading title race in bid for fourth straight championships
- Alonso fastest in wetter morning session at Circuit de Catalunya
(CNN) -- Sebastian Vettel and home hero Fernando Alonso shared the honors in the opening practice sessions Friday for the Spanish Grand Prix Friday in Barcelona.
Vettel edged Ferrari's Alonso to claim his third straight Formula One crown last season and the pace of his Red Bull saw the German quickest in drying conditions in the afternoon session at the Catalunya circuit.
But Alonso, who had put on a show for his fanatical supporters to post the fastest time in the wet of the morning, was just 0.017 seconds slower than his arch rival in the second runs.
"The signs from today are very positive," he told the official F1 website.
Alonso is desperate to deliver a home win in Spain for the first time since 2006 but Vettel is a formidable obstacle off the back of his two victories already this season.
Engines on, Formula 1 returns!
Who is the greatest F1 driver ever?
Red Bull Show Run
His Red Bull teammate Mark Webber was third fastest in second practice, with just 0.083 seconds separating the top three.
Read: Alonso aims to reign in Spain
All the teams have come to Spain after a three-week break since Bahrain with upgrades to their cars and Vettel is cautiously optimistic his team will continue to set the pace.
"We have some new parts here but the days of big, big upgrades don't really happen now with the regulations how they are," he said.
"This afternoon was fairly conclusive, but this morning wasn't really much good with the weather.
"It's hard to say much about the harder tire, I think the number of pit stops will be the same here in this race as at the last few."
Finland's Kimi Raikkonen, the closest challenger to Vettel in this year's title race, was fourth fastest in his Lotus ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari.
Britain's Lewis Hamilton spun his Mercedes early in the second session but claimed sixth fastest ahead of his teammate Nico Rosberg.
Two-time world champion Alonso braved the testing morning weather to clock the best lap of one minute 25.252 seconds with teammate Massa setting the second quickest time.
Saturday will see final qualifying for the fifth round of the F1 season, with grid position considered crucial on the Spanish circuit.
Today's five most popular stories
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.