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Tuesday, Sep 22nd

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Sublime Vettel leaves rivals trailing in his wake at Korea; McLaren duo exhibit strong pace

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Sebastian Vettel stole a march over his title-rival Fernando Alonso as the Red Bull ace led the chasing pack by over half a second with a blistering 1.37.642 lap! Vettel looked ominous and in this form could surely run away with the race here as the German was over half a second faster than 2nd placed man Lewis Hamilton, who was in turn three-tenths quicker than his teammate Jenson Button.

The Lotus duo of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen finished 4th and 5th fastest respectively, with Championship Leader Fernando Alonso managing only 6th fastest.

As the lights went green, the one-hour long Final Practice session got underway under perfect racing conditions, with the sun beaming down at Yeongam. Much of Friday's running was obscured by the dusty and slippery track-conditions; hence this Final session is of utmost importance to set the cars up for Qualifying.

Pirelli have brought their soft and super-soft compounds for this weekend, as once the track has been rubbered in well the performance differential between the two tyre compounds is expected to be about half a second per lap. (Super-softs are faster than the soft compounds).

Heikki Kovalainen was the first man to dive out of the pits, as a flurry of drivers followed the Caterham ace out on track. After the drivers completed their installation runs, silence descended onto track. But, soon afterwards once the drivers got the thumbs-up from their engineers they hit the ground running with Aussie Daniel Ricciardo and Finn Kimi Raikkonen emerging out first.

"Iceman" Raikkonen was running the new Coanda effect exhaust system in his E20 as he got the times rolling in the session. The "Flamboyant Finn" was joined on track by the reigning Double World Champion- Sebastian Vettel as the duo looked punchy, exchanging fastest sector times. German Vettel set a 1.39.086 lap, as his teammate Mark Webber immediately responded to head the timesheets with a blistering 1.38.766 lap- the quickest lap of this weekend thus far!

Fernando Alonso in his Scarlet Ferrari moved up into second place on his very first run, nosing ahead of his championship rival- Sebastian Vettel, with the Spaniard hoping to finish ahead of the "High-Flying" Vettel come the end of the weekend. Lewis Hamilton swiftly bettered Alonso's time, beating his arch-rival to go 2nd fastest.

There was action up and down the field, as it was Narain Karthikeyan running in 24th place, waving his hand in frustration at Sergio Perez. The Indian ace believing the McLaren bound Perez held him up, nevertheless his lap time would have certainly not disturbed the upper reaches of the timesheets!

The Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher were running 8th and 9th fastest respectively, behind the Lotus duo of Romain Grosjean and Raikkonen who were 6th and 7th fastest.

Bruno Senna was the first driver to swap to switch to the super-softs, as the Brazilian was languishing down in 17th place. Another Brazilian, Felipe Massa riding high after a brilliant 2nd place finish last weekend, was running 8th fastest.

After a tough first day at Yeongam, Hamilton leapt into P1, going three-tenths quicker than Webber's personal best. Jenson Button slotted in behind his teammate for 2nd place. However, Vettel was right back at the British duo, as the Red Bull ace went fastest of all with a stunning 1.38.215 lap, with lap times tumbling as grip levels improved tremendously.

With less than 20 minutes remaining, the red-marked super-soft compounds were fitted onto the mean machines, with teams finalizing their qualifying setup.

The drivers flooded out onto track on the red-ringed rubber, as Alonso was looking red-hot in his first run as the Championship leader went 4th fastest. Raikkonen in his Lotus looked menacingly quick as the Finn drove his black and gold Lotus to 4th place, just ahead of the Ferrari of Alonso.

However, Webber's car was the subject of frantic activity in the pits, as all was not well with his RB8 as mechanics were working hard on the back end of his car. This could maybe gift-wrap pole position to Sebastian Vettel, as the German bettered his personal best on the super-softs, with the McLaren duo of Hamilton and Button behind him.

The Lotus duo ended the session on a good note as Grosjean and Raikkonen finished 4th and 5th fastest, ahead of Championship leader Fernando Alonso who needs to find more pace on his Ferrari to be able to challenge for a top 3 place in qualifying.

Top 5: Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Romain Grosjean, Kimi Raikkonen.