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Vettel tops Aus GP practice session

Vettel tops Aus GP practice session
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Formula One’s three-time reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel signaled he is the man to beat again in 2013 by setting the fastest time in both practice sessions Friday for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Vettel and Red Bull teammate Mark Webber set the two fastest times around the Albert Park circuit, immediately dashing the hopes of rivals who thought they’d caught up over the off-season.

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was third quickest but suffered a suspected gearbox failure late in the second session, shortly after new teammate Lewis Hamilton speared off the track into a tire wall.

The late problems put a tarnish on an otherwise promising afternoon for the team which confirmed the impression of preseason testing that the team would be pushing for podiums and even wins in the early stages of the season.

Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean were fourth and fifth fastest.

The Ferrari pair Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were sixth and eighth - separated by Hamilton - while Force India’s Adrian Sutil and Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top ten.

McLaren’s Jenson Button, who has won three of the past four Australian races, was down in 11th place.
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