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Vettel fastest in final practice in Austria

Vettel was fastest in final practice in Austria. Credit: PA

Sebastian Vettel again came home faster than the Mercedes in a rain-affected final practice ahead of qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion put his Ferrari at the top of the timesheet on Friday afternoon and repeated the feat on Saturday morning, with a downpour over the Red Bull Ring effectively cutting the hour-long session in half.

The session had been red-flagged as Fernando Alonso's stricken McLaren was cleared from the pit straight and by the time it was returned to the garage the rain put pay to any further dry runs.

Lewis Hamilton got to within 0.017 seconds of Vettel's best effort, with the German the only driver to dip below the 70-second mark as he recorded a lap of one minute 09.994 seconds.

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F1 considers refuelling comeback

The F1 Strategy Group has proposed bringing refuelling back to Formula One as one of a raft of changes it would like to see made by 2017.

Refuelling hasn't been a part of F1 since 2009. Credit: PA

Other suggestions made by the Group - which is made up of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, FIA president Jean Todt and representatives from McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Williams and Force India - include plans to make cars up to six seconds faster per lap, by widening tyres, reducing the weight of cars and changing the rules on aerodynamics.

Other possible changes put forward would produce "higher revving engines and increased noise" and "more aggressive looks".

Refuelling has not been part of Formula One since the 2009 season.

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Nico Rosberg secures pole for Mercedes in Spain

Rosberg will start in pole position for Sunday's Spanish GP. Credit: PA

Nico Rosberg finally got the better of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton as he sealed pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Reigning champion Hamilton had taken four poles out of four so far this season, with title rival Rosberg trailing in his wake - but the 30-year-old had to settle for second best in Barcelona as he could not match the German's lap of one minute 24.681 seconds.

Sebastien Vettel was again the best of the rest and will start third for Ferrari as he was the only other man to get within a second of compatriot Rosberg.

Qatar Formula One race unlikely, says Ecclestone

Bernie says no to Qatar race. Credit: PA

Qatar's hopes of joining the Formula One calendar in the near future appear to have receded after commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone indicated he was unlikely to add a third Middle Eastern race to the schedule just yet.

"I think we've got enough here, don't you?" the Briton told reporters at the Bahrain Grand Prix when asked about the possibility of a race in Doha. Media reports have suggested that Qatar was close to signing a deal for a street race, possibly as early as next year.

Ecclestone confirmed last year that talks had taken place with the Qataris for a race that some reports have suggested would pay out 50 million pounds ($74.77 million) a year in hosting fees.

However, the Briton told reporters last December that Bahrain, who hosted the first race in the region in 2004, effectively had a veto on any new races that could overshadow theirs.

"I made a deal with the people in Bahrain and they said, 'If we are going to be something new in this area, which we are, will you give us a guarantee you won't put another race on in the area, in the Gulf?'," he said then.

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