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Webber fastest in 1st practice for Brazilian GP

Updated: November 25, 2011, 09:32


Red Bull driver Mark Webber, of Australia, stands in pits before a free practice for Brazil's Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Friday, Nov.25, 2011. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

SAO PAULO(AP) Red Bull driver Mark Webber set the pace in the first practice session for the Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday.

Webber clocked 1 minute, 13.811 seconds at the 4.3-kilometer (2.6-mile) Interlagos track, ahead of McLaren duo Jenson Button, 0.014 back, and Lewis Hamilton, 0.150 behind.

Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel, who has already clinched the drivers' title, was fourth fastest in 1:14.025.

With the title already decided, Sunday's Brazilian GP features the fight for second place, with Button, Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso and Webber still with a chance to finish runner-up.

Alonso had the sixth-fastest time in the first practice, but couldn't complete the session because of an apparent mechanical failure with about five minutes left.

Crowd favorite Felipe Massa, in his 100th race with Ferrari, was fifth fastest on a hot day in South America's biggest city. Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, a four-time winner in Brazil, was seventh in his Mercedes.

Button has a 10-point advantage over Alonso and a comfortable 18-point lead over Webber in the fight for second place. The British driver will secure the runner-up spot just by finishing ahead of Alonso and Webber.

Vettel won the title at the Japanese GP, with four races to spare in the season. He dominated the season with 11 victories and 14 pole positions.

He will make a little more history if he can win the pole again on Saturday in Brazil, allowing him to surpass Nigel Mansell for the record in a single season. Vettel won his 14th pole to equal Mansell in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton won the race in Abu Dhabi after Vettel retired on the first lap because of a punctured tire that damaged his car.

It will be the first time in seven years that there isn't a chance the title will be decided in Brazil. The season had its champion crowned in Interlagos for five straight years until 2010, when Vettel clinched the trophy in Abu Dhabi, which ended the season last year.

The constructors' championship also has been decided in favor of Red Bull, which McLaren set to finish second and Ferrari at least third no matter what happens in Sunday's race.

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