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Vettel happy to have finally found some form

Mar 28, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

Sebastian Vettel AP

Defending Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel is pleased to have finally found his feet with the new RB10 car after finishing third in the second practice session ahead of this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

The German driver endured a nightmarish weekend last time out in Australia, qualifying down in 12th place before retiring after just five laps due to an engine problem. However, the underlying pace of the RB10 car does appear to be good, and Vettel proved this in practice today as he finished within one-tenth of a second of pace-setter Nico Rosberg.

“I think we had a good day,” Vettel explained. “Obviously Friday timings are not the most important thing in the world but it’s good to be up there and in range of the top guys.

“I think we had a decent day, not a completely smooth day for both of us, there are still some things to solve on the software side and the programming, but that’s the way it is. I think we have to learn a lot but all in all, I’m quite happy.”

Vettel had shown signs of an improvement by finishing the first session on Friday in seventh place, and teammate Daniel Ricciardo also fared well to finish inside the top ten in FP2.

Ricciardo is looking to bounce back from his disqualification at the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago, when a breach of the fuel regulations by Red Bull resulted in him being stripped of second place.

“I think we learned quite a lot about the short run pace this morning,” he said. “We were pretty pleased with the progress we made, but it could have been better with the long runs. I think we’ve got some room for improvement, but that’s what tonight’s for. Reliability was good today, so I think we’re pretty pleased with that.”

The team is however still embroiled in a row with the FIA over its fuel sensors, and suffered yet another failure on this part during practice today.