Practice One - Alonso leads the Red Bulls in Germany 22 Jul 2011
After his victory at Silverstone, Ferraris Fernando Alonso went to Germany keen to continue his run of success, and ended up fastest in the Friday morning practice at the Nurburgring. The 90-minute session began in unseasonal conditions, with overcast skies and a temperature of a miserable 13 degrees Celsius. It remained cold throughout the session.
Alonso moved to the front after an hour, ahead of the two Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massas Ferrari, and in the last minute shaved a few hundredths from his best lap time, recording a 1m 31.894s. Webber and Vettel were second and third and closely matched, with the Australian 0.323s behind Alonso, with a best lap of 1m 32.217s, just ahead of Vettels 1m 32.268s. Massa remained fourth fastest with a lap of 1m 32.681s.
The McLarens were not on the pace in the cool conditions with Lewis Hamiltons best lap being a 1m 32.996s, 0.315s behind Massa, but more than a second from Alonsos pace, while Jenson Button was sixth with a best lap of 1m 33.628s in the second MP4-26. This kept him ahead of the best of the rest, led on this occasion by Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes. Nico set a lap of 1m 33.787s, just ahead of fellow countrymen Adrian Sutil and Nico Hulkenberg in their Force Indias, the former setting a best lap of 1m 33.832s and the latter close behind with a 1m 33.858s. Hulkenberg will now hand the car over to regular driver Paul di Resta for the rest of the weekend.
Mercedes Michael Schumacher was next, with the 10th fastest time, his best lap being a 1m 33.863s but his session featured a ride through one of the gravel traps at one point, one of the few incidents in the session.
The Renaults were not very competitive with Vitaly Petrov 11th quickest with a best lap of 1m 34.094s and Nick Heidfeld lagging behind in 15th with a 1m 35.444s. Toro Rosso seemed a lot more competitive than of late with Jaime Alguersuari 12th with a 1m 35.115s and Sebastien Buemi 13th with a 1m 35.371s, although the Swiss driver ended his morning bouncing over a gravel trap after a last-minute off, while trying for a better time.
The Williams team were struggling again with Rubens Barrichello 14th overall, with a fastest lap of 1m 35.389s, but this was rather better than Sauber, who could not get heat into the tyres, which left Sergio Perez 16th with a best time of 1m 36.371s and Kamui Kobayashi 19th with a 1m 36.882s.
Heikki Kovalainen was in the fight with the 17th best time in his Lotus, recording a 1m 36.392s, which was good enough to put him in front of 18th-placed Pastor Maldonado, in the second Williams, who stopped the clocks at 1m 36.842s.
Indias Narain Karthikeyan was back in action with HRT (standing in for Tonio Liuzzi for the morning session), setting the 20th fastest time with a 1m 38.504s, ahead of fellow countryman Karun Chandhok, who was 21st with a lap of 1m 38.765s. There was then a gap of 0.514s back to Daniel Ricciardo in the second HRT, with the two Virgins at the back with Timo Glock 23rd with 1m 40.109s, ahead of Jerome dAmbrosios 1m 40.428s.
Pirelli used the session to try out a new soft compound and with the exception of Heidfeld, Perez, Kobayashi, Glock and D'Ambrosio, all drivers recorded their best time on that tyre.
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