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Vettel tops second free practice

india Updated: Oct 14, 2011 16:52 IST

Defending champion Sebastian Vettel bounced back after a disappointing morning to top the times in Friday’s second free practice session for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old Red Bull driver and leader of this year’s title race clocked a best time of one minute and 24.010 to outpace nearest rival Lewis Hamilton of McLaren by 0.036sec.

Mercedes’ Hamilton was fastest in the morning session with a lap in 1:23.865, when Vettel was left in third place and more than 1.7sec adrift. Michael Schumacher, 42, proved that he knows his way round the Autodromo Nazionale Monza better than anyone — after five wins at the track and seven world titles overall — by winding up third. Felipe Massa of Ferrari was fourth, behind his former team-mate but ahead of current partner with the scarlet scuderia, two-time champion Fernando Alonso.

Button staying at Mclaren in 2012

Jenson Button will stay at McLaren next season, the Formula One team’s boss Martin Whitmarsh said on Friday. “Jenson Button will be with us next year. Full stop,” he told Reuters at the Italian Grand Prix. “There is nothing that needs to be sorted. He will be with us next year.”

McLaren have an option on the 2009 world champion for 2012 but recent comments by the Briton about his future have stirred up speculation in the paddock that all might not be proceeding smoothly with contract talks.

At the Belgian Grand Prix, when he was questioned about staying at McLaren, Button had replied: “Well, if he (Whitmarsh) takes up the option.”

Red Bull extend Renault deal

Formula One leader Red Bull has announced a five-year contract extension with engine supplier Renault.

The deal means the relationship will continue through the sport’s introduction of 1.6-liter V6-turbo engines in 2014. The collaboration began in 2007.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says, “Renault Sport F1 has always been very straightforward to work with, which has been a contributing factor to the ongoing success of the Red Bull Racing-Renault partnership.”

Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are 1-2 in the drivers’ standings. The team holds a 131-point lead over McLaren in the constructors’ standings.