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Singapore Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel sets fastest time in both practice sessions

Vettel sets the pace as Hamilton finishes fifth in second Singapore practice session

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UPDATED:

15:34 GMT, 21 September 2012

Sebastian Vettel doubled up in practice to post the fastest times in both of Friday's sessions for the Singapore Grand Prix.

In the initial 90-minute run reigning champion Vettel edged McLaren's Lewis Hamilton by just 0.049 seconds around the five kilometres of the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

The duo were in a class of two as their rivals were left trailing at the end of a session that started in daylight, went through dusk and finished under the 1,500 halogen lamps that ensure darkness is kept at bay.

Leading the way: Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the first practice

Leading the way: Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the first practice

In session two it was a slightly
different story as Red Bull's Vettel was comfortably out in front by
0.311secs, closing with a lap of 1:48.340, over two seconds faster than
in FP1.

That, however, was due to the use of
the supersoft tyres in FP2 that no team employed earlier on, and proving
what a sizeable difference they make on such a bumpy surface.

Instead of Hamilton as second
quickest it was team-mate Jenson Button who took the honour of falling
in behind the 24-year-old German eager to prove there is life in Red
Bull's championship challenge.

Out in front: Vettel had the best first practice

Out in front: Vettel had the best first practice

Vettel has mustered just one victory
so far this campaign, and that way back in April in Bahrain, since when
has been clinging on in the championship race.

In particular two alternator failures
in Valencia and last time out in Italy have seriously undermined his
hopes, casting him 39 points adrift of the championship leader in
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

The Spaniard had to settle for third
fastest, just over half a second behind Vettel, whose team-mate Mark
Webber was fourth, 0.624secs off the pace.
As for Hamilton, quickest early on and who set the initial pace on the
supersoft rubber, the 27-year-old was three quarters of a second down in
fifth.

Hot on the heels: Lewis Hamilton was second fastest in practice

Hot on the heels: Lewis Hamilton was second fastest in practice

Force India duo Paul Di Resta and
Nico Hulkenberg, who gave wind the Silverstone-based team were on the
rise on Italy, again look strong on this track.

The duo, a fraction under a second
behind Vettel, were split by just 0.039secs, with Di Resta just getting
the edge on his German team-mate.
Another German in Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was eighth quickest ahead of
Ferrari's Felipe Massa and the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, with Michael
Schumacher in 11th and almost two seconds adrift in his Mercedes.

The lights are on: Jenson Button works his way round the Singapore track

The lights are on: Jenson Button works his way round the Singapore track

As for Kimi Raikkonen, in the hunt
for the title at 38 points behind Alonso even though he has yet to win a
race this season, the Finn is seemingly in no man's land at present on
this circuit, finishing two seconds down on Vettel.

Williams' Bruno Senna was the only
casualty of the two sessions, clipping a wall and spinning, causing a
red flag and an eight-minute delay.