HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014
Vettel and local hero Alonso set the pace at Barca
New Delhi, May 10, 2013
First Published: 23:58 IST(10/5/2013)
Last Updated: 02:02 IST(11/5/2013)

Triple world champion Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap in Spanish Grand Prix practice on Friday with Ferrari's local favourite Fernando Alonso a close second to split the Red Bull drivers.

With sunshine replacing the morning's drizzle, when Alonso was top of the timesheets with a largely meaningless lap of one minute 25.252 seconds on a drying track, Vettel produced a quickest time of 1:22.808.

Alonso was second, 0.017 slower, with Australian Mark Webber third with a best lap of 1:22.891.

Qualifying has been critical at the Circuit de Catalunya in the past, with 18 of 22 winners there to date starting on pole position and all but one —  Michael Schumacher from third in 1996 — from the front row of the grid.

McLaren's Jenson Button failed to set a lap time in the damp first session, with the team opting for caution in the knowledge that they have a limited number of spares for their new aerodynamic upgrade package.

The 2009 world champion was 12th after lunch with a best effort of 1:24.306 while Mexican team mate Sergio Perez lapped in 1:24.854.

German banker pulls appeal in F1 bribe case
Berlin: A German court says a banker has withdrawn his appeal against his conviction last year for taking an illegal payment worth $44 million in connection with the sale of his bank's stake in the Formula One racing series. Gerhard Gribkowsky was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison after being found guilty of corruption, tax evasion and breach of trust. The racing series' boss, Bernie Ecclestone, has said he felt pressured into paying because he worried Gribkowsky would report him to British tax authorities for "things" that would cost him dearly. The billionaire is himself under investigation in the case, but hasn't been charged. Germany's Federal Court of Justice said Friday that Gribkowsky and prosecutors have both withdrawn appeals they filed.

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