Formula One News
Hamilton fastest in first practice session for Singapore night race
Sep 23, 2011, 11:51 GMT
Singapore - McLaren's Lewis Hamilton recorded the fastest time Friday evening in the first free practice session for Sunday's Singapore Formula One night Grand Prix.
The Briton registered a lap time of 1 minute 48.599 seconds for the 5.067-kilometre Marina Bay Street Circuit, 0.406 seconds quicker than second-placed title holder Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull.
Vettel's Australian teammate Mark Webber came in third, followed by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
Briton Jenson Button in the second McLaren was fifth fastest, with Ferrari's Felipe Massa settling for sixth spot.
The start of the opening practice session was delayed by 30 minutes due to the need for track repairs.
Bidding for his ninth win of the season, Vettel is going into the Singapore floodlight race with 284 points, well ahead of Alonso with 172.
If all goes his way on Singapore's bumpy track, the 24-year-old German will be assured of back-to-back world titles ahead of the final five races, making him the youngest F1 driver to defend his title.
Alonso would have to win at least four races and pick up 13 points from the other two races to win a third championship with Vettel finishing outside the points in six consecutive races.
Behind Alonso, Red Bull's Webber and McLaren's Button are currently level on 167 points in the drivers' championship, with Hamilton another nine points adrift.
A second free practice session was set for later Friday followed by a third practice and qualifying on Saturday.