Suzuka holds a special place in Vettel’s heart

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Having won at all but two of the circuits on the current Formula One calendar, Sebastian Vettel has a difficult job picking his ‘favorite’ grand prix of the season, but the Japanese Grand Prix holds a special place in the German’s heart for a variety of reasons.

Vettel has won the race at Suzuka three times in his four appearances at the circuit, finishing third in 2011 with a result that was enough to clinch his second world championship. Two years later, he has the opportunity to become just the fourth driver in the history of the sport to win a fourth world title, and winning it at Suzuka would clearly mean a lot to Vettel.

“I think generally we race on the best tracks in the world and, as I said, I think Suzuka is one of the best, if not the best, in my point of view,” Vettel explained. “It’s a place where we love to race. On top of that there is a fantastic atmosphere, crazy Japanese fans. They are very passionate about us coming here and I think all the drivers we do get a lot of respect when we come here but equally a lot of support.”

For Vettel to win the world championship on Sunday, he must win the race and Fernando Alonso must finish ninth or lower. Failing this, it is likely that the German driver will secure his fourth straight title at the Indian Grand Prix at the end of the month.

IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama final practice report

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Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.953 mph.

Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.

Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.

The practice was interrupted several times for incidents. 

Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.

“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”

With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.

Dixon also had an off-road excursion.