Formula 1


Vettel upped the ante in his bid to win his maiden German Grand Prix after setting the pace in Friday’s second practice session.

The triple world champion, who has never won in front of his home crowd, ended the day on top of the timesheets.

Vettel finished two tenths ahead of British Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg with Lewis Hamilton in eighth after the Mercedes driver set the best time in Friday morning’s first practice session.

Fernando Alonso failed to post a time on Friday morning after an electrical fault with his Ferrari. But the Spaniard returned to the track, with the sixth best time of the afternoon.

Jenson Button, pointless from the last two races completed 37 laps around the Nurburgring but was 1.1 seconds down on Vettel’s best time.

Despite fears of a boycott there were no signs of the tyre debacle that marred last Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

Following the announcement of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association on Thursday night that they would boycott the race at the Nurburgring if there was any repeat of the catastrophic tyre failures which marred the British Grand Prix, all eyes were on the tyres.

But Pirelli’s revised rear construction, which sports bullet proof Kevlar technology, was up to the job in the opening session.

Pirelli motorsport chief, Paul Hembery, was the most sought out man in the paddock this morning. And after laying the blame at the door of the team for the Silverstone fiasco, Hembery did concede partial responsibility for the six blow-outs after failing to outlaw the of putting the rear tyres on the opposite way round.

‘I have to say last weekend was our responsibility,’ said Hembery. ‘We allowed the teams to invert the tyres when we shouldn’t have done.’ 

Hembery claimed to have been surprised by the strike threat by the GPDA, adding: ‘It was a little bit surprising given the meeting we had with them to go through it.

‘At the end of the day we have to make sure we don’t have any issues like we had at Silverstone. That’s the bottom line.

‘So we tried to explain the situation, what’s happened, where we’ve been this season, the different evolutions. 

‘Maybe it’s not always clear to them what goes on. There’s a lot of dynamic involved in the sport, different teams, different interests. ‘We also explained the changes here and the changes going forward, which we believe are in completely the right direction for them.’ 

The practice of swapping the rear tyres has now been banned while stringent new rules regarding tyre pressures and camber angles have also been introduced.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps

 1. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m30.416s            39
 2. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m30.651s  + 0.235s  38
 3. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m30.683s  + 0.267s  41
 4. Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1m30.843s  + 0.427s  32
 5. Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1m30.848s  + 0.432s  27
 6. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m31.056s  + 0.640s  39
 7. Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m31.059s  + 0.643s  41
 8. Lewis Hamilton        Mercedes               1m31.304s  + 0.888s  35
 9. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m31.568s  + 1.152s  37
10. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m31.797s  + 1.381s  40
11. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1m31.824s  + 1.408s  34
12. Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m31.855s  + 1.439s  42
13. Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m32.055s  + 1.639s  39
14. Sergio Perez          McLaren-Mercedes       1m32.086s  + 1.670s  36
15. Nico Hulkenberg       Sauber-Ferrari         1m32.495s  + 2.079s  39
16. Esteban Gutierrez     Sauber-Ferrari         1m32.762s  + 2.346s  44
17. Valtteri Bottas       Williams-Renault       1m32.879s  + 2.463s  35
18. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1m32.880s  + 2.464s  36
19. Charles Pic           Caterham-Renault       1m33.695s  + 3.279s  38
20. Giedo van der Garde   Caterham-Renault       1m33.804s  + 3.388s  40
21. Jules Bianchi         Marussia-Cosworth      1m34.017s  + 3.601s  10
22. Max Chilton           Marussia-Cosworth      1m34.667s  + 4.251s  39