SINGAPORE, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) — German driver Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull was obviously still in racing speed on Friday as he prepared for the Singapore Grand Prix on the street circuit in the downtown area of Marina Bay, despite saying earlier that he was in no rush to secure the world championship again this year.
The 24-year-old was the first driver to achieve a lap time of less than 1 minute and 50 seconds in the opening practice on Friday evening. He finished just half a second behind 2009 Singapore Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton, who had the best lap time of 1 minute and 48.599 seconds.
Vettel got faster in the second practice with a best lap time of 1 minute and 46.374 seconds that puts him at the top, followed by Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari at 1 minute and 46.575 seconds and Hamilton at 1 minute and 47.115 seconds, respectively.
Vettel, who is far ahead of the other drivers this year with 8 titles and 284 points from 13 Grand Prix races so far, will secure the world championship in Singapore with five races remaining he wins the title while Alonso fails to finish on the podium.
Alonso now has 172 points to make him the runner-up in the drivers standing. He was the winner of the Singapore race in 2008 and last year.
However, a young Vettel has said earlier that he was in no rush to take the title.
"We are in a good position but still have some way to go," he said. "We have to race and do our normal job – just try to achieve our best."
Hamilton, who finishes the fastest in the opening practice on Friday evening, is now the fifth on the drivers’ ranking with 158 points. He was the winner in Singapore in 2009.
Australian Mark Webber of Red Bull and Briton Jenson Button were now the third and fourth on the ranking with 167 points each.
The chances were getting dimmer for the drivers behind Vettel, though theoretically some were still in the race. Alonso, for one, has put his eyes on the races next year, saying that he would try his best.