Greater Noida: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel made it a clean sweep of all three practice sessions at the Formula One India Grand Prix by setting the fastest time in Saturday's pre-qualifying run. The F1 championship leader, who has won the past three races, was two tenths of a second faster than McLaren's Jenson Button, while Red Bull teammate Mark Webber was third at the Buddh International Circuit.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who is only six points behind Vettel in the standings, was in a sobering seventh on the timesheets. McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton was fourth, ahead of Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen, while Williams driver Bruno Senna put in a surprisingly strong performance to be sixth fastest. The characteristics of the circuit suit the Red Bulls, with their disadvantage in straight-line speed down the long main straight more than offset by their peerless speed through the fast corners.
Vettel, an expert qualifier, looks very difficult to stop in qualifying later Saturday and should he take pole position, he will be primed for a race win that will go a long way to making him only the third man to win three straight drivers' championships, with the others being racing royalty Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher.
Ferrari brought significant upgrades to the car for this weekend, but seemingly to no avail, with Alonso seven tenths of a second off Vettel's pace while teammate Felipe Massa was 11th fastest. Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, Mercedes' Schumacher and Lotus' Romain Grosjean filled eighth through tenth on the timesheets.