- Associated Press - Friday, November 12, 2010

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (AP) - Formula One title contender Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the first practice session Friday at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, more than a second quicker than his two main championship rivals.

Vettel is third in the overall standings behind Red Bull teammate Mark Webber and championship leader Fernando Alonso heading into Sunday’s race.

The German clocked 1 minute, 42.760 seconds around the 3.5-mile Yas Marina circuit in his Red Bull car. McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton was second, while defending champion Jenson Button was third and Webber fourth.

Alonso was sixth fastest in his Ferrari.

Vettel was 1.08 seconds quicker than Webber and 1.361 ahead of Alonso, who leads Webber by eight points and Vettel by 15. Alonso is bidding for his third title in his first season with Ferrari, while Webber and Vettel are chasing their first F1 titles.

Hamilton, the 2008 champion, only has an outside chance of winning the title because he is 24 points behind Alonso. He was 0.609 slower than Vettel, who also had the fastest opening practice run at last week’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Vettel won the Brazilian GP ahead of Webber and Alonso to take the championship race down to the last day.

Morning rain had stopped by the time practice started in the early afternoon, but it meant racers were initially cautious on the track and there was little risk-taking.

Vettel has had nine pole positions and won four races, while Webber has had five poles and also won four.

Robert Kubica of Poland had the fifth fastest practice time in his Renault, while seven-time champion Michael Schumacher of Germany was seventh in a Mercedes.


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