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Motorsport | Formula 1

Vettel continues to set pace at US GP

Red Bull's championship leader Sebastian Vettel continued to set a blistering pace at the US Grand Prix, clocking the fastest time in final practice on Saturday.

Vettel, fastest in Friday's two practice sessions, has quickly mastered Formula's newest venue, the Circuit of the Americas, turning in a best time of one minute 36.490 seconds on a chilly but sun-bathed morning in south Texas.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, winner of the last US Grand Prix in Indianapolis five years ago, was second-fastest crossing 0.258 seconds behind the German with Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado third in his Williams 0.511 off Vettel's torrid pace.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the only driver left with a chance of preventing Vettel from clinching a third straight drivers' title, had an rough morning but produced a flying late lap to jump up the timing table into fourth 0.690 behind his German rival.

With the hour session drawing to a close, Spaniard Alonso had looked ready to improve on his position until he slid wide in the final turn entering the home stretch spoiling the attempt.

Vettel, who started the last race in Abu Dhabi from pit lane as punishment for a fuel irregularity, will be bidding for his sixth pole of the season later on Saturday as he tries to fend off a challenge from Alonso and collect a third straight drivers crown.

1. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) RedBull - Renault 1:36.558
2. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1:37.058
3. Mark Webber (Australia) RedBull - Renault 1:37.215
4. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Renault 1:37.486
5. Bruno Senna (Brazil) Williams - Renault 1:37.520
6. Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - Renault 1:37.537
7. Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1:37.565
8. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari 1:37.667
9. Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India - Mercedes 1:37.756
10. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes 1:37.927
11. Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari 1:37.968
12. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus - Renault 1:38.051
13. Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India - Mercedes 1:38.104
14. Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber - Ferrari 1:38.418
15. Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:38.434
16. Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber - Ferrari 1:38.500
17. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1:38.862
18. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1:39.114
19. Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia - Cosworth 1:40.056
20. Charles Pic (France) Marussia - Cosworth 1:40.664
21. Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham - Renault 1:40.809
22. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham - Renault 1:41.166
23. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) HRT - Cosworth 1:42.011
24. Narain Karthikeyan (India) HRT - Cosworth 1:42.740


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