Force India disappoint with Sutil 12th and Di Resta 15th in practice

statesman news service Greater Noida, 25 October

Defending  champion Sebastian Vettel  served notice to his rivals  that they will need really something special to  beat him as he  emerged  fastest driver, topping the  time sheets of both the practice sessions  of  Formula One Indian Grand Prix at Buddh International circuit (BIC) here today.
The  Red Bull  driver    clocked one minute and 26.683 seconds in the morning session and then set the track ablaze ,  with a 1:25.722 lap in the second practice session.
This is the first time this weekend that any driver has broken the one minute 26 second barrier.
The three-time World Champion was followed in both the practice sessions by teammate Mark Webber, who was only 0.289 seconds behind.
Vettel just needs to finish fifth or better to win four titles in a row and become the youngest quadruple champion.
Only seven-time champion Michael Schumacher and the late Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio have won four successive titles since the championship started in 1950.
Alain Prost of France is the sport’s only other four-time champion.
Lotus’  Romain Grosjean   with a 1.26.011 lap, came third  while  Lewis Hamilton  in Mercedes was fourth clocking 1.26.388.
Second  Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg was sixth, sandwiched   between Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa  in Ferraris  who were fifth and seventh fastest,
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso,  the only other driver  still having s a chance to win the world championship, finished  fifth fastest with a timing of 1:26.430s.
Alonso did not have the best of the starts to his preparations as his run in the first practice session lasted just six laps because of gearbox problem. He was 12th fastest in FP1.
Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg,  third fastest in the morning,  timed   1:26.582s in the second practice session for 6th place , was followed by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa (1.26:601s), Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus (1:26.632s) and McLaren duo of Sergio Perez (1:26.857s) and Jenson Button (1:26.972s).
It turned out to be  another  disappointing outing for Sahara Force India as  Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta failed to make a mark in the practice sessions.
Sutil, was  the 15th fastest time in the morning, marginally improved upon his performance by finishing 12th in the second practice session with a lap timing of 1:27.375s.
Di Resta, who did not take part in the morning session due to a bad stomach,  could manage  only a best lap timing of 1:27.608s to finish 15th.

Raikkonen fined: Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus was today fined 400 euros for speeding in the pit lane during the first practice session of the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) here.
According to an FIA statement, the Finn breached Article 30.12 of the FIA F1 sporting regulations by exceeding the pit lane speed limit by 3.4 kmph, the limit of which is 80 kmph.“The competitor (Lotus F1 team) is fined 400 euros,” the statement read.

Force India&’s tribute: Meanwhile  Sahara Force India  has  announced that it will  pay tribute to retiring cricket legend icon Sachin Tendulkar  by having one of his oft-used nicknames adorn its cars’ nose section on the race day-Sunday.
"Sahara Force India pays tribute to cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar via a hashtag: #masterblaster which has been placed on the nose section of their racing cars at the upcoming Indian GP," the team said in a statement.