Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton got the better of runaway Formula One championship leader Sebastian Vettel by setting the fastest time in Friday’s practice for the Korean Grand Prix.

Saturday’s qualifying shapes again as being a shootout between Mercedes and Red Bull, with Hamilton’s teammate Nico Rosberg and the Red Bulls of Vettel and Mark Webber all within two-tenths of a second of the leading time.

Red Bull and Mercedes have between them taken every front-row grid spot for the past 10 races.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who is in second place in the drivers’ standings a fading 60 points behind Vettel was seventh fastest, seven-tenths of a second off Hamilton’s time

In the morning session, several drivers ran wide off the unrubbered and dusty surface, with the major incident seeing Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen make heavy side-on impact with tire barriers just as the session ended.

There was less slipping and sliding in the afternoon session, and Hamilton was able to wipe a second off his best lap from the morning, which also topped that session.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was fifth fastest and Alonso seventh, with Lotus’ Romain Grosjean sixth and Raikkonen eighth. McLaren’s Jenson Button was ninth, and Force India’s Adrian Sutil was 10th.

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