Vettel comfortable leading from the front in Shanghai

Posted on April 15, 2011

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Sebastian Vettel eased to his familiar position at the top of the time sheets in free practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

It's no wonder Vettel looks cheerful. Credit: Red Bull/Getty

The German Red Bull driver was ahead in both sessions, leaving his McLaren rivals behind in a cloud of Shanghai dust. It’s hard to see past the world champion for a third consecutive victory on 2011, KERS gremlins or not.

Vettel is looking unbeatable at the moment. He carries the calm air of someone who knows he has the pace available whenever he needs it.

Speaking after, Vettel said he believed it would be a tight weekend – but ominously for the chasing pack he insisted his car had no particular problems. Short of a mechanical failure or dramatic interventions from the weather, this weekend is a race for second place.

Despite Vettel’s likely domination, it should be an interesting weekend. It’s a fun circuit and the 2010 edition was an exciting, rain-fuelled event conquered by Jenson Button.

We’ll learn more about the Pirelli tyres and how the wings work on a less extreme circuit than Malaysia, too. The naysayers who fear Formula One has suddenly been made too complex should see a fine example of the form this weekend.

At the outset, I’ll pick Vettel for the win, to be joined by Button and Mark Webber on the podium.

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Posted in: Formula One, Practice