Date: 15th April 2011 at 12:25pm
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Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel continued to brush aside the competition on Friday topping both Friday practice sessions.

Vettel hopes to make it three-in-a-row in China, a feat that usually goes hand in hand with winning the World championship.

No-one has ever not gone on to take the crown after winning the opening three races of the season and who right now would bet against Vettel going on to defend his 2010 title?

In first practice Vettel set a time of 1minute 38.739seconds around the Shanghai circuit, team-mate Mark Webber was 0.615 behind in second place whilst the McLaren’s of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were over 2 seconds behind.

The times however shouldn’t be taken too seriously, Button suffered a fault with his usually reliable KERS device, while the team were also evaluating upgraded parts.

Ferrari were also completing aerodynamic tests throughout the session, which goes somewhere towards explaining why they too were 2.5 seconds adrift.

Nick Heidfeld looked like he was having a positive session, setting a lap time of 1minute 40.987seconds during his first five lap stint, but a crash at turn 10 ended his session as he couldn’t recover his car from the gravel after knocking his front wing off against the wall.

At the back end of the grid and Tonio Liuzzi’s 18 lap run was good enough to set him a time faster than team-mate Karthikeyan and Virgin’s Timo Glock and Lotus’s Luiz Razia who replaced Jarno Trulli for the session.

In second practice Sebastian Vettel confirmed his status as race favourite for Sunday with a lap time of 1minute 37.688seconds.

Thankfully the second session proved to be much more competitive with 15 drivers squeezed into the 2.1 second gap which was previously the distance between Red Bull and McLaren in FP1.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was second fastest 0.166 seconds behind Vettel, while Jenson Button was 0.081 seconds behind his McLaren team-mate.

Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were both within half a second of Vettel’s time in fourth and fifth.

Nick Heidfeld’s session ended the same way his first session did, with his front wing knocked off after a detour across the gravel, once again though his Renault looked quite competitive with a time of 1minnute 38.805 seconds.

Mark Webber had a difficult session, with his car falling apart around him and only quick enough for tenth.

At the tail end of the grid and once again there was a big gap between Lotus and the other newbie teams, but on this occasion it was Virgin Racing who were the slowest with both Hispania drivers Narain Karthikeyan and Tonio Liuzzi beating Jerome D’Ambrosio and Timo Glock.