Vettel and Alonso set the pace in Barcelona

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Updated: May 10, 2013

Vettel

Sebastian Vettel set the pace on the opening day of free practice at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona ahead of round 5 of the Formula 1 world Championship. Fernando Alonso was hot on the heels of the German with Red Bull’s Mark Webber coming home third.

All three are former winners in Barcelona, Vettel in 2011, team mate Webber in 2010 and Alonso the local favourite, way back in 2006 during his Renault days.

With sunshine replacing the morning’s drizzle, when Alonso was top of the timesheets with a largely meaningless lap of one minute 25.252 seconds on a drying track, Vettel produced a quickest time of 1:22.808.

Alonso was second, 0.017 slower, with Australian Mark Webber third with a best lap of 1:22.891.

Qualifying has been critical at the Circuit de Catalunya in the past, with 18 of 22 winners there to date starting on pole position, and this year with 7 former winners in Barcelona lining up on the grid, its going to be an open race.

One of the previous winners, Jenson Button continues to struggle in his McLaren and will surely not be in the mix come race day on Sunday. The 2009 world champion was a disappointing 12th after lunch with a best effort of 1:24.306 while Mexican teammate Sergio Perez lapped in 1:24.854.

Felipe Massa was just behind his teammate in 1:25.455 in a Ferrari one-two in that session and was fifth in the afternoon with Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen  a previous winner in Barcelona with McLaren and Ferrari  fourth.