Third drivers battle it out in second practice
Alex Wurz again headed the timesheets in Germany this afternoon, the Austrian lapping his McLaren in 1m 30.623s. However, Toyota's Ricardo Zonta was right behind him on 1m 30.630s.
These were clearly low-fuel runs, but with the new qualifying format most teams concentrated on running with fuel in readiness for tomorrow.
For a long time there was a Williams one-two, with mark Webber going quickest on 1m 32.088s before being displaced by Nick Heidfeld on 1m 31.813s. With half the session gone, however, Webber spun off into the gravel in Turn 11, and not long afterwards Heidfelds car rolled to a halt at the pit lane entry. It did not run again after being pushed back to its pit.
In the meantime, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen pushed their McLarens into fourth and fifth places respectively, their times of 1m 31.841s and 1m 31.870s splitting the Williams pair.
The temperature was broiling, the track reaching 53 degrees Celsius at one stage, the ambient 29 - much higher than the teams had been anticipating.
Rubens Barrichello gave Ferrari a boost with seventh fastest time in 1m 32.143s, the Brazilian having one moment when he locked the right front and ran wide into Turn 1. His time was enough to see off the Renault duo, with Fernando Alonso on 1m 32.335s and Giancarlo Fisichella on 1m 32.842s. Ralf Schumacher completed the top 10 in his Toyota with 1m 33.098s, with team mate Jarno Trulli 11th on 1m 33.168s.
Christian Klien was the fastest Red Bull after an adventurous afternoon saw him off the road briefly in Turn 5. He recorded 1m 33.174s to edge out Michael Schumacher, who lost half the session to an electrical problem (1m 33.242s), and David Coulthard (1m 33.430s).
BARs return is best described as low profile. Takuma Sato was their faster runner on 1m 33.514s for 15th place, just ahead of Jenson Button on 1m 33.753s.
Franck Montagny convincingly won the Jordan v Minardi battle, with a low-fuel run to 1m 34.090s which left him ahead of the Saubers of Felipe Massa (1m 34.274s) and Jacques Villeneuve (1m 34.645s). Tiago Monteiro set the 20th best time of 1m 34.702s, but Jordan team mate Narain Karthikeyan was stranded in 24th and last after going off track in Turn 11 and being unable to restart.
Christijan Albers was the quicker of the Minardi pilots on 1m 35.311s to head team mate Patrick Friesacher on 1m 35.791s for 22nd and 23rd places. Friesacher lost much of the session, however, thanks to a hydraulic problem which necessitated a gearbox change.
The final runner was Tonio Liuzzi, whose frustrating day got worse after he had recorded 1m 34.842s and had gone out to do a quick lap only to stop with a hydraulic problem in Turn 13.