July 20, 2013 in Sports

Vettel leads pack during special tire-testing day

Rob Harris Associated Press
 

Vettel
(Full-size photo)

SILVERSTONE, England – Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel was the fastest on the final day of a special in-season testing session with new tires.

The three-time defending series champion completed 78 laps in his Red Bull at Silverstone on Friday during the tire test sanctioned by the sport’s rulers to quash the threat of a revolt by teams.

Vettel topped the timesheets with a lap at 1 minute, 32.894 seconds. Adrian Sutil set the pace in the morning, but ended up second fastest, around three-tenths of a second slower than Vettel.

In-season testing was banned in 2009 over cost concerns, but these sessions were allowed to allay safety fears after concerns about tire blowouts on the same circuit at the British Grand Prix earlier this month.

Mercedes-Benz was banned from the sessions after holding unsanctioned testing in May.

The new compound of tire tested at Silverstone will be used at the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend and for the rest of the season.

“We had three days of testing with a lot of different drivers in a lot of different cars and no failures – in conditions that were hotter than the (British) Grand Prix – so that’s good,” Vettel said. “Obviously, we were very limited on what we could do, but for me there is not that much difference with the tires. It was good to get in some laps though, good to get a feeling for them.”

Sixth fastest was Felipe Massa, who is seeking a strong second half of the season to secure his future at Ferrari. With 10 races of the season’s 19 races still to go, the Brazilian said showing more consistency on the track could be key to landing a deal for 2014.

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