Sebastian Vettel tops Friday practice at 2012 European F1 Grand Prix

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel has topped Friday practice for the 2012 F1 European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain.

The Red Bull Racing driver posted a 1:39.334 early in the session and it was never beaten. Force India’s Nico Hulkenburg was the closest to Vettel’s time, just 0.13 seconds off the pace.

Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi was third fastest while Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher and Williams pilot Bruno Senna rounded out the top five.

Aussie Mark Webber could only managed ninth fastest, more than half a second adrift of his teammate despite having a flying lap on soft rubber. Compatriot Daniel Ricciardo was down in 18th, some 1.78 seconds off the pace.

McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were 14th and 12th respectively, but both drivers didn’t use a set of soft rubber during the session.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was seventh fastest while his teammate Felipe Massa struggled for only 15th position.

A third and final practice will get underway at 7pm AEST before qualifying at 10pm.

Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 01:39.3
Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 01:39.5 0.131
Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 01:39.6 0.261
Michael Schumacher Mercedes 01:39.6 0.267
Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 01:39.6 0.31
Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 01:39.7 0.366
Fernando Alonso Ferrari 01:39.7 0.399
Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 01:39.9 0.534
Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 01:39.9 0.567
Nico Rosberg Mercedes 01:39.9 0.592
Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 01:39.9 0.611
Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 01:40.0 0.656
Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 01:40.1 0.741
Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 01:40.1 0.813
Felipe Massa Ferrari 01:40.2 0.91
Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 01:40.5 1.177
Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 01:41.0 1.629
Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 01:41.1 1.787
Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 01:41.2 1.863
Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 01:41.3 1.929
Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 01:42.4 3.09
Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 01:43.0 3.624
Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 01:44.2 4.867
Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 01:44.3 4.926

(Image credit: Getty Images via Red Bull Racing media)