Melbourne: Formula One's three-time reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel signaled he is the man to beat again in 2013 by setting the fastest time in both practice sessions Friday for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Vettel and Red Bull teammate Mark Webber set the two fastest times around the Albert Park circuit, immediately dashing the hopes of rivals who thought they'd caught up over the off-season. (Also see: Who did what? All at our Racecenter)
Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was third quickest but suffered a suspected gearbox failure late in the second session, shortly after new teammate Lewis Hamilton speared off the track into a tire wall. The late problems put a tarnish on an otherwise promising afternoon for the team which confirmed the impression of preseason testing that the team would be pushing for podiums and even wins in the early stages of the season.