Vettel sets fastest time in opening practice session of Indian GP to enhance title hopes
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel gave his hopes of a fourth consecutive Grand Prix win a major boost after he set the fastest time in the opening practice session at the Buddh International Circuit on Friday, while chief title rival Ferrari's Fernando Alonso came third.
McLaren driver Jensen Button was second, while his teammate Lewis Hamilton could only set the fourth fastest time, the Telegraph reports.
Sauber's Sergio Perez sat out the session with flu-like symptoms, but the team expected him to be fit to take part in the second practice later Friday.
Mexican compatriot Esteban Gutierrez, who is widely expected to take the seat permanently next season when Perez moves to McLaren, replaced him.
The Mercedes pair of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were sixth and eighth fastest respectively, separated by Ferrari's Felipe Massa, while Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo was ninth.
Vettel's string of three successive wins in the Asian swing of the season has seen him overtake Alonso in the drivers' championship standings, six points ahead of the Ferrari driver who has now gone half a dozen races without a win.