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Dream debut for newcomer Vettel 25 Aug 2006

Sebastian Vettel (GER) BMW Sauber Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 14, Turkish Grand Prix, Practice Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 25 August 2006

Sebastian Vettel and the BMW Sauber team obviously wanted to make a good impression in Istanbul. They may have run the car rather slightly lighter than might normally be the case, but they got the desired result regardless - Vettel topped the timesheets at the end of the opening day of practice for the Turkish Grand Prix.

The German teenager, a veteran of just two previous Formula One tests, recorded a best time of 1m 28.091s, a tenth faster than Felipe Massa's Ferrari, which stopped the clocks at 1m 28.164s.

Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson underlined that Honda must be seen as a serious contender with laps of 1m 28.506s and 1m 28.598s while the Schumacher brothers were also both in contention with Ralf recording a 1m 28 .614s lap in his Toyota and Michael setting a best of 1m 28.819s in his Ferrari, ahead of Red Bull's Robert Doornbos (1m 28.848s) and Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren (1m 29.042s).

Ninth fastest was Pedro de la Rosa with a lap of 1m29.112s in his McLaren, ahead of Rubens Barrichello's Honda (1m 29.214s) and Midland test driver Giorgio Mondini (1m 29.719s).

There was drama for Renault’s Fernando Alonso at the end of the session when he had a small collision with the Red Bull of Doornbos and thus did not set a representative lap time, finishing with a best of 1m 29.741s, ahead of the Toro Rosso of Neel Jani (1m 29.858s) and Scott Speed's similar car, which recorded a best of 1m 29.890s.

Jarno Trulli had a spin in the course of the session and ended up with a best of 1m 30.006s for Toyota ahead of Franck Montagny, who is keen to impress in his role as test driver for Super Aguri and set a best lap of 1m 30.491s, ahead of BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica (1m 30.502s) and Giancarlo Fisichella's Renault at 1m 30.504s.

After playing a bigger role in the morning the Williams team was less in the spotlight in the afternoon, with Alexander Wurz recording a 1m 30.509s, Mark Webber a 1m 30.775s and Nico Rosberg a 1m 31.105s. Between the Cosworth-powered cars were the Toro Rosso of Tonio Liuzzi (1m 30.551s) and the Red Bull of Christian Klien (1m 30.889s).

Further back there was Takuma Sato in his Super Aguri with a best lap of 1m 31.091s, his team mate Sakon Yamamoto (1m 31.316s) and the Midland of Tiago Monteiro (1m 31.519s).

BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld and Red Bull’s David Coulthard conserved their energy with laps of 1m 31.526s and 1m 31.540s and the last man to set a time was Christijan Albers, who lapped his Midland in 1m 32.102s. The Dutchman suffered engine problems and for the third race in succession will drop ten places on the grid as a result of a new V8.

Although the result may have been largely a cosmetic achievement, Vettel nonetheless did a good job and has left his marker for the future.