Sebastian Vettel promised to treat the Indian Grand Prix like any other race, despite a fourth consecutive title beckoning, and lived up to his word in Friday practice with the sort of domination Formula One fans have come to expect.
Red Bull's 26-year-old German was fastest in both sessions, with Australian Mark Webber the only man close to matching the speed of his team mate.
Such is Vettel's mastery of the Buddh International Circuit, a track swathed in a haze of pollution south of New Delhi, that he can boast of being top in every practice session held there since the opening day of the race's debut in 2011.
On Friday his best lap of one minute 25.722 seconds, in the afternoon after clocking 1:26.683 in the earlier session, made him the only driver below the 1:26 mark.
Webber, who is leaving the sport at the end of the season, was 0.188 seconds slower in the first practice and 0.281 off the pace in the afternoon when Frenchman Romain Grosjean was third with a best time nearly half a second slower than Vettel's.
BEST OF THE REST
Germany's Nico Rosberg was the best of the rest for Mercedes in the morning with a lap 0.216sec off his compatriot's best effort.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the only man who can mathematically deny Vettel the title on Sunday, suffered a gearbox problem after six laps in the morning but was fifth fastest at the end of the day.
Alonso has to finish in the top two on Sunday to have any chance of denying Vettel the title on Indian soil.
Vettel, who has a 90-point lead over the Ferrari driver with four races worth 100 points in total remaining, is the runaway favourite to win the race.
He has won the previous two Indian Grands Prix from pole position as well as leading every competitive lap at the circuit.
Vettel will be the first Formula One driver to win his first four titles in a row, as well as the youngest quadruple champion.
Only seven-times champion Michael Schumacher and the late Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio have won four consecutive titles since the championship started in 1950. Frenchman Alain Prost is the sport's only other four-times champion.
Grosjean was fourth for Lotus in the opening session, ahead of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes, with the McLarens of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez sixth and seventh on the timesheets. Hamilton was fourth in the afternoon.
WILLIAMS WHEEL-NUT WOES
British reserve James Calado replaced compatriot Paul Di Resta in the Force India for the opening session after the team said the regular race driver wasn't feeling well on Thursday.
Calado spun off late in the morning and Di Resta returned for the second session.
The main incident in the afternoon was provided by Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, whose Williams shed a wheel-nut while out on track. He managed to nurse the car back to the pit-lane entry. - Reuters
RESULTS - FIRST SESSON
1 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull - 1min26.683
2 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull - 1min26.871
3 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes - 1min26.899
4 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - 1min26.990
5 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes - 1min27.227
6 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren - 1min27.335
7 Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren - 1min27.416
8 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari - 1min27.692
9 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Sauber - 1min27.770
10 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams - 1min27.800
11 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - 1min28.035
12 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari - 1min28.214
13 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso - 1min28.336
14 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - 1min28.342
15 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - 1min28.468
16 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - 1min28.538
17 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus - 1min28.730
18 James Calado (Britain) Force India - 1min29.197
19 Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham - 1min29.413
20 Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia - 1min29.560
21 Charles Pic (France) Caterham - 1min30.026
22 Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - 1min30.471
1 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull - 1min25.722
2 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull - 1min26.011
3 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - 1min26.220
4 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes - 1min26.399
5 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari - 1min26.430
6 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes - 1min26.582
7 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari - 1min26.601
8 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus - 1min26.632
9 Sergio Perez (Mexico) McLaren - 1min26.857
10 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren - 1min26.972
11 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso - 1min27.304
12 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Force India - 1min27.375
13 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams - 1min27.429
14 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Sauber - 1min27.491
15 Paul Di Resta (Britain) Force India - 1min27.608
16 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - 1min27.720
17 Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) Sauber - 1min27.949
18 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - 1min28.431
19 Giedo van der Garde (Netherlands) Caterham - 1min28.692
20 Jules Bianchi (France) Marussia - 1min28.799
21 Charles Pic (France) Caterham - 1min29.366
22 Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - 1min30.164