Vettel quick off the mark in title charge


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The Independent Online

Sebastian Vettel insists that he's not really too worried about tying up his second consecutive world championship here this weekend, but it's inconceivable that he hasn't done the maths.

A third-place podium finish could wrap things up for him, but only if Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton don't finish ahead of him. The simplest scenario is that Vettel must win, with Alonso no better than fourth. That would give the German 25 points and the Spaniard 12, taking them respectively to 309 and 184. With 125 points left from the remaining five races Alonso could tie Vettel if he won all five and Vettel failed to finish any of them, but Vettel's nine wins to Alonso's six would still settle the issue in Vettel's favour.

The German played second fiddle to Hamilton in a disrupted opening practice session yesterday but showed his intentions by dominating the second as only Alonso could get within two-tenths of a second of him and Hamilton was a further half-second adrift.

There was a 30-minute delay before the first session could begin after the Porsche Carrera Cup practice had dislodged the new temporary kerbs in some corners. Ten minutes from the end the red flag came out again after Ferrari's Felipe Massa had run wide, gone over a kerb before the resultant wobble sent him down an escape road, and inadvertently dislodged another bolt which stood proud.