Formula One’s three-time reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel signalled he is the man to beat again in 2013 by setting the fastest time in both practice sessions on Friday for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Vettel and Red Bull teammate Mark Webber set the two fastest times around the Albert Park circuit, immediately dashing the hopes of rivals who thought they’d caught up over the off-season.

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was third quickest but suffered a suspected gearbox failure late in the second session, shortly after new teammate Lewis Hamilton speared off the track into a tyre wall.

Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean were fourth and fifth fastest, ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

McLaren’s Jenson Button was down the timesheets in 11th.

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