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Page last updated at 14:42 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 15:42 UK

Vettel tops British GP practice

Venue: Silverstone Dates: 19-21 June 2009 Coverage: Live coverage of Friday's practice sessions, Saturday qualifying and Sunday's race - which starts at 1300 BST - across BBC TV, radio and online platforms. Find full listings here

Sebastian Vettel

Highlights - Vettel fastest at Silverstone

By Chris Whyatt

Sebastian Vettel went quickest in both of Friday's British Grand Prix practice sessions as Red Bull tested the potential of their updated cars.

Team-mate Mark Webber was second on each occasion but damaged his car as he ran wide late on in the second session amid windy conditions at Silverstone.

Championship leader Jenson Button was third fastest in the first session, yet struggled with his Brawn in the second.

McLaren's world champion Lewis Hamilton was amongst the top 10 quickest times.

Just over two seconds split all drivers in both morning and afternoon sessions, although the worsening civil war engulfing Formula 1 largely overshadowed any action on the circuit.

They're [Red Bull] too quick. I think we're going to have trouble this weekend

Brawn GP team boss Ross Brawn

The driving, in fact, seemed like a sideshow to the tumultuous events unfolding off the track on Friday as motorsport's governing body, the FIA, announced it would issue legal proceedings against the teams' umbrella group Fota after its threat to start a breakaway series.

Yet, now that in-season testing is banned for 2009, practice is an important opportunity for teams to hone their cars and strategy ahead of Saturday's crucial qualifying sessions and Sunday's race.

Red Bull have made major updates ahead of the eighth race of the season - to the car's weight distribution and its diffuser amongst others - in a bid to find more speed as they chase leaders Brawn GP, who they trail by 39.5 points in the constructors championship.

Vettel is the only other driver apart from Button to win a Grand Prix this season, with victory in China.

Sebastian Vettel

Highlights - Red Bull dominate at Silverstone

He posted a time of one minute 19.400 seconds in the first session before clocking 1:19.456 in the second, and both he and Webber - who was running with a new engine - were the only drivers to go under 1:20 seconds.

Though rarely is much read into Friday practice times, Brawn GP team boss Ross Brawn said that he feared Red Bull's pace.

"They're [Red Bull] too quick," he said.

"I think we're going to have trouble this weekend."

Webber's second session shunt was the result of a slight mistake on his part but the biggest casualty of practice was BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica, who has suffered a miserable season so far.

Though he climbed to 11th after finishing slowest in the morning, he was called back into the garage mid-way through the second session as engineers set about changing the engine in his car after the one he was running with threatened to blow up.


Button struggled with the handling of his car in the second session to finish 14th while his team-mate, Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello, was sixth after finishing fourth in the morning.

Force India's Adrian Sutil was third in the afternoon ahead of Williams's Kazuki Nakajima, with two-time world champion Fernando Alonso fifth for Renault.

Having dropped his Kinetic Energy Recovery System (Kers) for the first time this season, Hamilton - who won at Silverstone last year by 68 seconds - was eighth then seventh fastest.

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see also
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British Grand Prix practice photos
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In-depth interview - Max Mosley
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Quit threat is no bluff - Ferrari
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Toyota threaten pull-out from F1
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