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.

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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 VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault01:39.3
Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes01:39.50.131
Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari01:39.60.261
Michael SchumacherMercedes01:39.60.267
Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault01:39.60.31
Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes01:39.70.366
Fernando AlonsoFerrari01:39.70.399
Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault01:39.90.534
Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault01:39.90.567
Nico RosbergMercedes01:39.90.592
Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault01:39.90.611
Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes01:40.00.656
Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault01:40.10.741
Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes01:40.10.813
Felipe MassaFerrari01:40.20.91
Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari01:40.51.177
Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault01:41.01.629
Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari01:41.11.787
Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault01:41.21.863
Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari01:41.31.929
Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth01:42.43.09
Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth01:43.03.624
Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth01:44.24.867
Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth01:44.34.926

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

Josh Barnett specialises in motorsport and road testing. His passion for cars is long and wide, and his experience is just as impressive. Josh's work has appeared in titles such as Street Commodores and Fox Sports.