...but Alonso and Schumacher the fastest race drivers
Alexander Wurz maintained his morning record as the fastest man round the Nurburgring this afternoon as he staged a late improvement to set the fastest lap for Williams in 1m 32.675s.
Prior to that Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher had chased one another round, the champion lapping his Renault in 1m 33.579s to pip the Germans 1m 33.619s best for Ferrari. Clearly both still have something in hand.
Behind this trio, Robert Doornbos rose to the occasion for Red Bull with 1m 33.799s, followed by Hondas Anthony Davidson (1m 33.870s) who had two off-road moments, in Turns 2 and 10, Toyotas Ralf Schumacher (1m 33.883s), Hondas Jenson Button (1m 33.920s) and BMW Saubers Robert Kubica (1m 33.991s).
Renaults Giancarlo Fisichella, in ninth place, just failed to break the 1m 34s barrier with 1m 34.030s, both he and team Alonso complaining about the track's lack of grip. Meanwhile, German rookie Adrian Sutil continued to impress with 10th fastest lap in 1m 34.179s for Midland. Doubtless he had a very low fuel load, as did team mate Christijan Albers who was 12th on 1m 34.472s, but the young German still had to drive the car to that time. Keep an eye on him.
Nico Rosberg was the fastest man for a while, his eventual 1m 34.215s for Williams leaving him 11th, while Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren clearly focused on race work with 1m 34.536s for 13th. Team mate Juan Pablo Montoya did likewise for 1m 34.968s which left him 17th.
Between them, Felipe Massa recorded 1m 34.546s for Ferrari, Rubens Barrichello 1m 34.631s for Honda, and Mark Webber 1m 34.875s for Williams.
Christian Klien headed Red Bull partner David Coulthard with 1m 35.066s against 1m 35. 241s, and 2005 polesitter Nick Heidfeld took his BMW Sauber round in 1m 35.308s. Team mate Jacques Villeneuve was 24th with 1m 35.688s, he and Heidfeld both complaining of poor car balance. The three Toro Rossos were squeezed between them, all very evenly matched with Tonio Liuzzi on 1n 35.406s, Neel Jani on 1m 34.479s and Scott Speed on 1m 35.669s.
Tiago Monteiro ran a different programme to his Midland team mates for 1m 35.902s, leaving Takuma Sato to take his Super Aguri round in 1m 36.255s, compared to new team mate Franck Montagnys 1m 36.655s.
Jarno Trulli did not set a time after encountering vibration problems during an installation lap in his Toyota.