Vettel sputters to stop in 1st practice in Spain

Montmelo: Sebastian Vettel hit another obstacle in his already troubled Formula One title defense when his Red Bull sputtered to stop early in the Spanish Grand Prix`s first practice session on Friday.

Red Bull said an electrical problem that "damaged the wiring" of Vettel`s car meant he would not return for the afternoon practice session. That leaves Vettel with only one session to prepare on Saturday before qualifying.

After Vettel was whisked back to the paddock on the back of a scooter, Lewis Hamilton steered his Mercedes to the fastest lap time of 1 minute, 27.023 seconds. The British driver is looking to add to his three pole positions and hat-trick of wins after four races this season.

Hamilton`s teammate and F1 leader Nico Rosberg was limited to only nine laps due to a cooling issue. Vettel was running through his fifth lap on the sunny and dry 4.6-kilometre (2.9-mile) Circuito de Barcelona-Catalunya when his Red Bull came to a halt.

Vettel helped push his RB10 out of the path of his rivals before a group of fans gathered at the fence to take photographs of the four-time world champion using a fire extinguisher on the rear of his malfunctioning car.

Red Bull had given Vettel`s car an older chassis in a move that the German called a "sanity check" to try and find an elusive answer to his car`s lack of pace.

The Austrian team renowned for its design had a bigger problem than speed, however, when Vettel was left stranded just after the fifth turn.

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