Formula One

 
          === F1 champ Vettel on track for the first time at Jerez ===
 
 Jerez,  Spain (Sports Network) - Two and a half months after winning his third
 consecutive  Formula  One world  championship, Sebastian  Vettel from Red Bull
 made  his first  appearance on  the track  this year  in Thursday's  preseason
 testing at Jerez.
 
 Vettel  spent time getting familiar with Red Bull's 2013 car, the RB9. The 25-
 year-old  German recorded  102 laps around the Spanish circuit. Vettel said it
 felt good to get behind the wheel again after the winter break.
 
 "It  was great to get  back in the car, to get rid of the rust and to get back
 in  the  groove again," he  said. "The  first feeling is  good, and the car is
 working  well. It's difficult to judge the speed, but in terms of reliability,
 it  looks pretty good.  For today, we accomplished what we set out to achieve,
 which was to put a lot of laps on the car."
 
 Vettel's  fastest  lap time of 1  minute, 19.052 seconds was third quickest on
 day three.
 
 "In  terms  of the times,  it's always nice  to be on  top, but if there's one
 phase  of the  year where it matters  least, it's here," Vettel noted. "Now is
 the time to do our homework. It's good for us to do a lot of laps, to see that
 the car is working well, and we'll go from there."
 
 Vettel  beat Fernando Alonso from Ferrari by just three points for the 2012 F1
 title.  He became just  the third driver in the sport's 63-year history to win
 three  or more  successive world championships, joining Juan Manuel Fangio and
 Michael Schumacher.
 
 Alonso's  teammate,  Felipe Massa, topped the  time charts on day three with a
 lap  in  1:17.879. Massa  turned in  85 laps. Ferrari  reserve and test driver
 Pedro  de la Rosa will take over the wheel of the F138 during the final day of
 testing on Friday.
 
 Nico Rosberg from Mercedes was second quickest at 1:18.766. He logged 148 laps
 for  the day after  Mercedes had reliability issues with its F1 W04 car during
 the  first  two days. Rosberg  encountered an  electrical problem early in the
 session  on  Tuesday, while  his  new  teammate, Lewis  Hamilton,  experienced
 braking  failure, which  caused  him  to crash  into  the  tire barrier  after
 completing his 14th lap yesterday.
 
 "I'm  very happy with today, and I think it was probably a personal record for
 me  to  do  almost 150  laps,"  Rosberg  said.  "To  drive the  distance  from
 Silverstone  (England) to Spa (Belgium) in one day with no problems whatsoever
 is  a fantastic achievement  from the team. It really made up for the last two
 days and put a smile on everybody's face."
 
 Kimi  Raikkonen,  in his first day  testing Lotus' E21, posted the fourth best
 time (1:19.200), followed by Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne (1:19.247).
 
 02/07 15:02:02 ET

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