Vettel sets pace in Hungary
LEADING THE PACK: Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel topped both free practice sessions on Friday ahead of the 2013 Hungarian GP. Image: AFP
BUDAPEST, Hungary - Formula 1 World champion Sebastian Vettel set an impressive pace as Red Bull dominated both practice sessions for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Friday with Pirelli's new tyres looking very much to the team's liking.
The German, fresh from victory in his home race at the Nurburgring three weeks ago, was quickest in both sessions ahead of Australian team mate Mark Webber with a best lap in the afternoon of 1min21.264 seconds.
'CAR FEELS OKAY'
"The car feels okay but there's always a lot of work to do and there's some room for improvement," he said. "I don't think the tyres feel massively different but they are a step in the right direction."
Vettel's morning time of 1min22.723 was already a warning sign on a hot and cloudless morning with air temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius and track temperatures a sizzling 44.
Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen - who could be Vettel's team mate in 2014 - was third fastest in the first session with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso fourth on the timesheets.
The top five drivers were separated by less than three-tenths of a second in the afternoon when Raikkonen's French team mate Romain Grosjean was third quickest to underscore Lotus's potential.
Alonso, Vettel's closest title rival with 34 points to make up after nine of the 19 races, was again fourth.
Mercedes boss Ross Brawn said: "It was an interesting day as we were running the new tyres for the first time. It took us a while to find a good balance with the car but our long runs looked respectable this afternoon."
McLaren, without a win in teh 2013 season, looked in better shape at a circuit that has brought them six wins in the last eight seasons.
Jenson Button, twice a winner in Hungary, was sixth fastest in the morning while Mexican team mate Sergio Perez clocked the ninth best time.
"I'm hoping we've taken a step forward but there's still room for improvement," said Button.
Germany's Adrian Sutil, preparing for his 100th race for Force India, was seventh and 10th.
At the back, Venezuelan reserve driver Rodolfo Gonzalez replaced Britain's Max Chilton for the opening session with Marussia and was comfortably slowest.
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Hungarian GP weekend.