Sebastian Vettel favourite to retain Formula One driver’s title

BARCELONA // Located at the end of a dusty road memorable for being as long as it is dull, sits the Bahrain International Circuit.

This weekend, save for the odd resident rocking up to redeem a refund from the ticket office, the track will probably be as quiet as it is in on a midsummer’s afternoon.

No piercing engines, no superstar drivers, no spectators and, ultimately, no Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix.

Yesterday however, three thousand miles from Sakhir at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, life meandered along unchanged; thoughts of Bahrain banished until May 1, when the Kingdom must decide whether it is ready to return to the 2011 calendar.

Engineers scurried around the paddock, team principals digested data from pit wall screens and Sebastian Vettel, as he has grown accustomed to of late, drove faster than anybody else.

The German world champion completed 112 laps on the Spanish asphalt in his Red Bull-Renault during the final testing session before the season gets under way in Australia on March 27, almost double the number of laps he will need to do in May to complete the race distance when the Spanish Grand Prix takes place at the Circuit de Cataluyna.

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