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“German GP: Rosberg cruises to home victory”

Mercedes drive Nico Rosberg sailed to an easy victory at today’s German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring.

Valtteri Bottas (Williams) prevented a Mercedes 1-2 finish, as he held Lewis Hamilton at bay in a feisty battle to the flag.

Up front, the world championship leader rarely had to check his mirrors. Leading every lap, the German drew out a commanding lead, without appearing to ever push beyond the limits of his Silver Arrows machine.

Ending the 67-lap race with an advantage of 20.7s, Rosberg did not need to rip chunks out of the opposition on a lap-by-lap basis – the incremental steps were more than enough to crush the opposition.

It was an imperious drive from the Mercedes man and he showed delight in crushing his opposition at what he considers to be his second “home” race.
Pitting on lap 15 and 41, Rosberg never looked troubled and his light touch and confidence were rarely in doubt. Once the Pirelli softs had been set aside, Rosberg settled his pace on the prime tyres, allowing him to draw the lead out as battles were being fought in the distance.

Such was Rosberg’s dominance, Rosberg rarely appeared on screen, with the television directors understandably concentrating in the many (tighter) battles in the field. It is unlikely Rosberg will care – the only thing on his mind was the 25 points on offer – a prize he never looked ever losing.

While Rosberg’s handled his machine with the delicacy required to bring his Mercedes home a victor, Bottas and Hamilton were somewhat more robust. Having made his final stop two laps later than Bottas (lap 40, as opposed to lap 42), Hamilton reeled the already fuel-thirsty Finn; however there was little Hamilton could do to impress a move on the Williams racer.
Such was the speed of the Mercedes-powered entry, Bottas eeked out enough of a gap on the straights each time by to keep the charging Hamilton behind; however the push also took some life from the Mercedes’ tyres, creating an effective status quo.

It was another fighting podium for Bottas with a team who last year struggled to pull a points finish together. Hamilton, meanwhile, can take some value from a race where started a distant 20th following yesterday’s qualifying crash and a forced change of gear box prior to the race.
Hamilton’s brilliant start was key for the Briton was already in the points by the time ten laps had elapsed. Thereafter, the 29-year-old pressed into up the order along with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and was running 2nd when Bottas stopped on lap 16. With Rosberg long gone, Hamilton used the best of the clear air to make positions untroubled by traffic and emerged 8th after his first stop.
Moves on Riccairdo, Nico Hulkenberg (Force India) and unfolding strategies brought Hamilton back into the podium places, where he escaped the clutches of Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) to make the best of more clear air and capture Bottas.

Vettel took 4th in his Renault-powered Red Bull machine. The reigning champion drove a solid race from 6th on the grid, enjoying a nail-biting wheel-to-wheel battle with Fernando Alonso over the course of seven laps during the middle section of the race.
The duo also ran each other close in the opening portion of the race, culminating in a marvelous move when both went around either side of the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.

Alonso fell behind following his final stop and faced a fight from the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo over the latter stages of the race. It was a close run thing between the pair, with Alonso edging his Australian rival by less than a tenth-of-a-second over the line.
While a top six would acceptable in normal circumstances, Ricciardo was left to pull his way up the order after a first lap crash between Felipe Massa (Williams) and Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) forced Ricciardo to take to the gravel trap to avoid being collected. The escape route dropped Ricciardo to 15th, after which he carved his back up the order, followed by a canny Hamilton.

Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg once again showed his prowess in underpowered machinery, mixing it with Alonso and Vettel during several stages of the Grand Prix.
Hulkenberg’s pace dropped off toward the end of a very long stint in the second half of the race, causing the German to disappear from Ricciardo’s mirrors as the laps ticked over; however the Force India driver enjoyed enough of an advantage over the McLaren of Jenson Button.

Button, too, clung to some points taking 8th. Starting from the sixth row of the grid, the Briton made an encouraging start and was placed 6th in the early running, before the frailties of the current chassis McLaren played their hand once again.
The Englishman led his rookie teammate Magnussen home. The Dane may look upon 9th as a disappointing effort considering he started 4th; however Magnussen was lucky to continue after he was involved in an accident with Massa in the first corner, which brought out the safety car.
Turning into the opening curve, both Massa and Magnussen eyed a move on Bottas; however neither appeared to see the other, leading to a blind collision as the apex closed. Receiving the full brunt of the clash; Massa’s car overturned in the gravel trap and slid on its lid for several seconds, before flipping back onto its wheels. The stewards declared it a racing incident.

Sergio Perez brought the second Force India home in the points. During what was, at times, an active race, Perez clashed with Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) and also enjoyed several running battles with Romain Grosjean (Lotus), Raikkonen and Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso).
As the strategies unfolded, Perez had stretched enough of an advantage over Raikkonen to keep the Finn from taking any points, with the Ferrari man coming home lapped and over eight seconds shy of his Mexican rival.

Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado narrowly beat Vergne for 12th and 13th, while Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber) made an appearance in 14th place. Jules Bianchi drove a lonely race for Marussia, as he took 15th – two places ahead of teammate Max Chilton, while the Caterham’s of Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson ended the day an invisible 16th and 18th.

There was some surprise in the final quarter when Adrian Sutil spun his Sauber exiting the final corner and stalled. The Ferrari-powered entry sat still on the start / finish straight for two laps before marshals were able to clear the stricken machine.
Kvyat did not finish either. The rear of his Toro Rosso blew itself apart on the 45th lap, while Grosjean’s Lotus also stopped on track during the 26th tour.

With ten rounds of the world championship now completed, Rosberg’s victory extends his gap over Hamilton back out to fourteen points, while Ricciardo, Alonso, Bottas and Vettel fight over 3rd place in the distance.

Hungary, the last race before the break, is only one week away and Hamilton – a former winner at the Hungaroring – will be looking to full advantage at Budapest to reel Rosberg back in.

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“Thoughts on Maldonado, Lotus and Malaysia?”

Lotus F1 team have opted upon re-signing the excitable Pastor Maldonado for the 2015, it was revealed this weekend.

During Q&A on the team website on Friday evening, Lotus’s co-chairman and Team Principal, Gérard Lopez, revealed the first of his 2015 drivers.

“I don’t want to give too much away,” commented Lopez before revealing all. He continued: “As it’s half way through the season I can confirm 50% of our driver line-up for 2015 as Pastor is with us for next year.”

This season has proved a tricky one for Lotus and especially Maldonado who has struggled in the unco-operative E22 machine. Maldonado’s teammate Romain Grosjean has scored eight points and resides 14th in the standings.
Speaking of their current issues and future potential, Lopez put on a brave face. “Despite the difficulties we’ve had so far this season, [Pastor] recognises our true potential as a team and we recognise his true potential as a driver. We will achieve great things together.”

The controversial Maldonado is supported by Venezuela’s state-owned natural gas and oil company, PDVSA. It is believed the association brings something in the region of USD $20-30 million per season.

There had also been a small rumour floating around this weekend that Formula Renault 3.5 driver Jazeman Jaafar may be in line for a seat with the Enstone squad, should they secure Mercedes engines for next season.
Jaafar, a Petronas protégé, has been competing with ISR Racing this season and has scored two podiums, leaving the Kuala Lumpur native 9th in the standings. Jaafar is also set to race in next weekend’s Total Spa 24 Hour Race with HTP Mercedes alongside reigning victors Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Gotz.

Where this leaves Grosjean is anyone’s guess, but considering Lotus’s form this season, it would surprise no one if he was found announcing a drive with another team rather soon.

“Evans steals magic GP2 victory”

Victory in Germany for Mitch Evans. © Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.

Victory in Germany for Mitch Evans. © Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.

Mitch Evans won the 200th GP2 Series race at the Hockenheimring today thanks to a mixture of clever strategy and stellar driving by the RUSSIAN TIME racer.

The 2012 GP3 Series champion kept a stifled Stoffel Vandoorne and Jolyon Palmer at bay through the final few laps, to take the race by just 0.414s after 38 tours.

Under the intense heat, tyre degradation was originally thought to be the deciding factor; however while the drop off was less than expected, the soaring temperatures did alter the on track approach considerably.

Starting 15th on the soft Pirelli tyres, Evans escaped a first lap scare when he collided with Alexander Rossi; however the Kiwi emerged undamaged. Rossi was less fortunate.
From there, Evans maintained a steady pace, before pitting on lap 13, dropping the New Zealand pilot just behind the recently stopped Stéphane Richelmi, whom was dispatched within three laps.

Now just over thirty seconds adrift of the lead, Evans began to cut small clumps of time out of the leaders; only lose tenths here and there when traffic came into play; however the RUSSIAN TIME threat remained.
As Vandoorne controlled the front with a series of laps in the 1’28” bracket, Evans launched into the 1’27s on harder Pirelli’s, yet the once the edge peeled away Evans began lapping approximately one second slower, while Vandoorne began to dip into the 1’29s.

It was enough. As Vandoorne returned to the track after stopping on lap 25, the Belgian dropped in behind Evans, but unusually held back. With a faulty radio and under the belief that Evans had still to pit, Vandoorne held steady until the later laps, before realising that the RUSSIAN TIME man had already made his compulsory tyre change.

For Vandoorne, it was too late. With the best of his tyres gone, the ART Grand Prix could little to force an error from the leader, even though Evans was beginning to struggle with his rears. Vandoorne made one final attempt on lap 38, but Evans held his nerve and his lead to take his 2nd win of the season.
Make no mistake – this was a brilliantly gauged victory for the RUSSIAN TIME team. Having discovered a problem with the front anti-roll bar after qualifying, the team realigned and pushed into the race using information from Silverstone. It worked and Evans’ intelligent drive thereafter did the rest.

Palmer dropped two seconds behind Vandoorne in the last couple of tours, but the championship leader was well ahead of 4th place driver Stefano Coletti come the end. Coletti, however, only narrowly pipped Felipe Nasr at the flag, after the pair had an astonishing battle with Simon Trummer, Johnny Cecotto Jr and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs.
After running 4th for much of the race, Nasr stopped on lap 24 – one after Coletti – however having dropped three seconds behind the Monegasque driver in the first portion of the race, there was little Nasr could do to overhaul his rival, despite Coletti setting an astonishing slow in-lap. It’s another points finish for Nasr, but also more points lost to Palmer in the standings.

Amidst the quick Coletti / Nasr fight, the early stopping Quaife-Hobbs proved a blockage late in the race, while Trummer and Cecotto Jr stumbled over each other as each tried to break the Englishman.
Trummer followed through into 6th place – setting his fastest lap on the last one –while Cecotto Jr’s pace fell away. Nathanaël Berthon persevered to take 8th after stopping on lap 13 – a brilliant drive to the points and reverse grid pole for Race Two.
Marco Sørensen finished 9th after climbing up from the penultimate row of the grid and Stéphane Richelmi closed out the top ten, scoring the final point for DAMS.

The race was briefly interrupted after the start by the safety car. Following collisions between Sergio Canamasas and Conor Daly, Artem Markelov and Jon Lancaster and the Evans / Rossi incident, the area from the exit of turn two, through the Parabolika and the Hairpin became littered with debris. With punctures a very real possibility, the race was neutralised for three laps until the carbon fibre remnants were cleared.
Daly was also hit with a drive through penalty for pit lane speeding, when his speed sensor failed for the fifth time this season.

2014 GP2 Series Round of Germany (Rd 6, Feature Race, 38 laps)
Pos  Driver               Team                  Time/Gap
 1.  Mitch Evans          Russian Time        58m15.099s
 2.  Stoffel Vandoorne    ART                    +0.414s
 3.  Jolyon Palmer        DAMS                   +2.755s
 4.  Stefano Coletti      Racing Engineering    +20.191s
 5.  Felipe Nasr          Carlin                +20.687s
 6.  Simon Trummer        Rapax                 +23.432s
 7.  Johnny Cecotto       Trident               +30.583s
 8.  Nathanael Berthon    Lazarus               +33.160s
 9.  Marco Sorensen       MP                    +35.879s
10.  Stephane Richelmi    DAMS                  +36.857s
11.  Rene Binder          Arden                 +37.111s
12.  Tom Dillmann         Caterham              +38.081s
13.  Takuya Izawa         ART                   +43.096s
14.  Adrian Quaife-Hobbs  Rapax                 +47.572s
15.  Sergio Canamasas     Trident               +49.996s
16.  Julian Leal          Carlin                +58.217s
17.  Raffaele Marciello   Racing Engineering  +1m02.333s
18.  Andre Negrao         Arden               +1m04.818s
19.  Arthur Pic           Campos              +1m05.181s
20.  Daniel Abt           Hilmer              +1m09.082s
21.  Conor Daly           Lazarus             +1m09.244s
Classified, not finished
     Rio Haryanto         Caterham                +1 lap
Retirements:
     Jon Lancaster        Hilmer                +14 laps
     Daniel de Jong       MP                    +26 laps
     Alexander Rossi      Campos                +33 laps
     Artem Markelov       Russian Time          +38 laps
Vandoorne led Palmer for much of the race. © Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.

Vandoorne led Palmer for much of the race. © Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.

“Kirchhöfer scores first cool GP3 victory”

© Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.

© Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.

Marvin Kirchhöfer scored his first GP3 Series victory this evening, mere hours after securing his maiden pole position.

The German racer also scored the fastest lap of the eighteen-lap race, with the bonus points helping Kirchhöfer into 3rd in the championship stakes.

Series leader Alex Lynn took a reasonably comfortable 2nd position ahead of the new podium regular Emil Bernstorff.

Although Lynn maintained close proximity throughout, Kirchhöfer rarely appeared threatened under the tough Hockenheim heat.
With a clean start, the ART Grand Prix racer held the lead at just over one second for the opening two-thirds of the race, before extending the gap to almost four seconds during the final six tours.

Bernstorff held on to the leading pair admirably, with the Carlin man finishing just 4.4s down on the eventual victor.

Despite a track temperature that hovered around the 50°C, the tyres largely held intact, promoting something of static race in the higher order. With the frontrunners generally holding a set pace, few overtaking opportunities were presented.

Behind the front three, Nick Yelloly finished 4th, having been past by Bernstorff off the line, but could not keep with the tougher pace. The race was less profitable for Dino Zamparelli, whose pace collapsed in the final two laps, leading to Dean Stoneman to slip by into 5th before the flag.
Title challenger Jimmy Eriksson drove a solid race to 7th, gaining three places during the eighteen laps, including two off the line. The Swede had the next position handed to him by an errant Mathéo Tuscher, who momentarily fell off the circuit on the twelfth tour.

Tusher’s made a second error on the following lap, allowing Nissan GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough in the frame.
By this point, the charging Mardenborough had already made moves on Luis Sá Silva (lap 7), Mitch Gilbert (lap 8), Robert Visoiu (lap 13) and Richie Stanaway (lap 15), before taking Riccardo Agostini two laps from the end. Mardenborough’s late burst also gives him reverse grid pole for the Sunday morning Race Two.
Agostini hung on to claim 9th, while Visoiu passed Stanaway three laps from the end to make sure of the last points paying position.

While he would have certainly appreciated the victory, the result does give Lynn an extra advantage over Eriksson in the points standings, with the Briton leading by a solid twenty scores.

The race was not without other action. Alfonso Celis Jr and Ryan Cullen clashed on the 2nd lap at the hairpin – Celis Jr received a three-place grid penalty as a result. Also Sebastian Balthasar made silly contact with Nelson Mason, also in the hairpin, three laps from the end.

However Kirchhöfer is beginning to hit his stride and the German F3 champion, so confident of his own skills, may eventually become a championship challenger yet.

2014 GP3 Series Round of Germany (Rd 4, Race 1, 18 laps)
Pos  Driver               Team        Time/Gap
 1.  Marvin Kirchhofer    ART       27m47.577s
 2.  Alex Lynn            Carlin       +3.359s
 3.  Emil Bernstorff      Carlin       +4.459s
 4.  Nick Yelloly         Status       +9.770s
 5.  Dean Stoneman        Manor       +12.928s
 6.  Dino Zamparelli      ART         +14.922s
 7.  Jimmy Eriksson       Koiranen    +16.702s
 8.  Jann Mardenborough   Arden       +17.173s
 9.  Riccardo Agostini    Hilmer      +18.231s
10.  Robert Visoiu        Arden       +18.752s
11.  Alex Fontana         ART         +20.483s
12.  Patric Niederhauser  Arden       +29.000s
13.  Richie Stanaway      Status      +29.462s
14.  Mitch Gilbert        Trident     +29.672s
15.  Adderly Fong         Jenzer      +29.873s
16.  NelsonMason          Hilmer      +32.628s
17.  Luis Sa Silva        Carlin      +36.620s
18.  Matheo Tuscher       Jenzer      +37.224s
19.  Pal Varhaug          Jenzer      +37.444s
20.  Ryan Cullen          Manor       +37.635s
21.  Roman de Beer        Trident     +41.959s
22.  Santiago Urrutia     Koiranen    +46.976s
23.  Victor Carbone       Trident     +47.277s
24.  Sebastian Balthasar  Hilmer    +1m22.062s
Retirements:
     Patrick Kujala       Manor        +2 laps
     Carmen Jorda         Koiranen    +11 laps
     Alfonso Celis Jr     Status       +17 laps
© Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.

© Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.

“Kirchhöfer claims maiden GP3 Series pole”

© Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.

© Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.

ART Grand Prix’s Marvin Kirchhöfer claimed the first pole position of his GP3 Series career at Hockenheim today.

The German set a late lap at 1:28.647s to steal the prize from points leader Alex Lynn (Carlin).

In astonishingly hot conditions, Kirchhöfer broke into the 1’28s early, leaving the field to catch; however the former German F3 champion was jumped by Lynn as the session drew to a close.
Emerging for another quick lap, Kirchhöfer maintained a good pace, eventually pipping Lynn by just half-a-tenth, while Status GP’s Nick Yelloly was a similar distance adrift of Lynn in 3rd.

Emil Bernstorff recorded an excellent 4th in his Carlin machine, while Mitch Gilbert took 5th for Trident. ART Grand Prix driver Dino Zamparelli fills out the third row.
Richie Stanaway (Status GP) and Mathéo Tuscher (Jenzer) closed out positions 7 and 8 respectively, with Dean Stoneman (Marussia Manor) just missing out on the top eight.
Title challenger Jimmy Eriksson (Koiranen GP) originally qualified in 5th place, but a five-place grid penalty left over from Silverstone dropped the Swede down to 10th overall.

2014 GP3 Series Round of German (Rd 4, Qualifying)
Pos Driver               Team        Time       Gap     Laps
 1. Marvin Kirchhofer    ART         1m28.647s           14
 2. Alex Lynn            Carlin      1m28.706s  +0.059s  13
 3. Nick Yelloly         Status      1m28.749s  +0.102s  12
 4. Emil Bernstorff      Carlin      1m28.910s  +0.263s  15
 5. Jimmy Eriksson       Koiranen    1m28.949s  +0.302s  14
 6. Mitchell Gilbert     Trident     1m28.995s  +0.348s  13
 7. Dino Zamparelli      ART         1m29.133s  +0.486s  13
 8. Richie Stanaway      Status      1m29.205s  +0.558s  13
 9. Matheo Tuscher       Jenzer      1m29.212s  +0.565s  13
10. Dean Stoneman        Manor       1m29.247s  +0.600s  13
11. Alex Fontana         ART         1m29.329s  +0.682s  14
12. Roman de Beer        Trident     1m29.338s  +0.691s  15
13. Robert Visoiu        Arden       1m29.400s  +0.753s  14
14. Jann Mardenborough   Arden       1m29.405s  +0.758s  13
15. Riccardo Agostini    Hilmer      1m29.516s  +0.869s  13
16. Alfonso Celis        Status      1m29.531s  +0.884s  11
17. Patric Niederhauser  Arden       1m29.672s  +1.025s  13
18. Sebastian Balthasar  Hilmer      1m29.849s  +1.202s  1?
19. Pal Varhaug          Jenzer      1m29.870s  +1.223s  15
20. Luis Sa Silva        Carlin      1m29.951s  +1.304s  12
21. Nelson Mason         Hilmer      1m30.082s  +1.435s  16
22. Ryan Cullen          Manor       1m30.180s  +1.533s  15
23. Patrick Kujala       Manor       1m30.272s  +1.625s   8
24. Adderly Fong         Jenzer      1m30.646s  +1.999s  13
25. Santiago Urrutia     Koiranen    1m30.977s  +2.330s  14
26. Victor Carbone       Trident     1m31.219s  +2.572s  17
27. Carmen Jorda         Koiranen    1m32.951s  +4.304s  16

“German GP: Rosberg takes pole in Hockenheim scorcher”

Nico Rosberg secured his first German Grand Prix pole position today, after title rival and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton crashed out.

Rosberg set his best lap during his first Q3 run, having been unable to improve as the clock ticked down.
It wasn’t necessary for the championship leader, who had also registered the ninth pole position of his career.

Showing complete control of his car and the conditions, Rosberg emerged from the qualifying melee with a best of 1:18.540, heading Williams front row partner Valtteri Bottas by two-tenths of a second.

While the Finnish Bottas showed some metal, it was very unlikely that the Williams racer would ever have taken the top spot from Rosberg; such was the command of the session.
As such, it was not the most stellar of qualifying sessions. With one potential challenger removed early doors, the pole shot – realistically – came down to just Rosberg and he nailed it with consummate ease.

Felipe Massa (Williams) and Kevin Magnussen (McLaren) were the quickest of those in the 1’17s, shoring up the second row with two late efforts. They headed an all Red Bull third row, led by Daniel Ricciardo (5th).
Fernando Alonso ended a disappointing day for Ferrari with 7th. The Italian machine looked somewhat unstable for much of the day, with apparent imbalance issues robbing the Spaniard of confidence and time.

Daniil Kvyat performed excellently again to secure 8th for Toro Rosso, leading an all Force India row five, with Nico Hulkenberg taking 9th ahead of his Mexican teammate Sergio Perez.

A mix of a slide and Perez’ final Q2 lap kept Jenson Button out of the final session. The Englishman wrecked his final tour when the rear of his McLaren slid through the final corner. Moments later, Perez lodged a 1:18.161 – just three-hundredth quicker – to end Button’s day early.
Kimi Raikkonen was also a Q2 casualty. Like Button, the Finn could not improve in his final run, leaving Raikkonen to fight from the outside of the sixth row. Jean-Eric Vergne could do no better than 13th with his final lap, although the Frenchman fell just thousandths shy of Raikkonen. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber, 14th) was half-a-second off of Vergne, while Grosjean (Lotus, 15th) was another two-tenths lower even than that.

Championship challenger Lewis Hamilton crashed out of the first qualifying session when his right front brake failed entering the Sachskurve, leaving the former World Champion down in 16th place. The sudden grip in his left-front pitched Hamilton off track and into a spin, where his Mercedes collected the barrier hard, bringing out the red flag for just under ten minutes. The Briton emerged from the wreck fine, but looking generally winded.

Adrian Sutil was the fastest of the drivers knocked out of Q1. The German missed the cut-off by two tenths in his Sauber, although he remained well clear of the chasing pack, which included both Marussia’s (Jules Bianchi, 18th; Max Chilton, 21st) and both Caterham’s (Kamui Kobayashi, 20th; Marcus Ericsson, 22nd).
Lotus’ Paster Maldonado was the sixth member of the group to fall at the first hurdle. The Venezuelan could do no better than a 1:20.195, leaving him over 1.2s off the Q1 cut-off time.

Ericsson could not set a time due to a mechanical issue, but having run in practice, there should be no problems for the Swede securing permission to start.

“German GP: Rosberg fastest in final practice”

Nico Rosberg topped the final free practice session of the German Grand Prix weekend this morning.

The Mercedes man was the only driver to break the 1’18s marker, with his best (1:17.779s) coming eight minutes from the end of the sixty.

Rosberg’s closest markers was teammate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso; both of whom ended the practice six tenths adrift of the top spot.

Despite the loss of the current FRIC technology, the Mercedes appeared more confident, especially through the slow, lingering stadium section.

Alonso was initially quickest of the super-softs run, but was trumped – first by Rosberg and later Hamilton; however the Spaniard did suffer an unusual spin in the Arena section toward the halfway mark. The second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen could do better than 8th after the Finn lost a portion of the session with a fuel system issue.

Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were 4th and 5th for Williams, with both the white and blue machines showing speed, despite occasional bouts of instability.
Kevin Magnussen lined up 6th in his McLaren.
The Dane ran well on the super-soft rubber, although teammate Jenson Button was less assured as he suffered numerous lock-ups in the braking zones. The best Button could do was a distant 13th.

The Red Bull’s assumed 7th and 9th, with Daniel Ricciardo heading Sebastian Vettel. Both the Renault-powered machines appeared to struggle with rear end balance under the Hockenheim sun.

Outside the top group, Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso, 11th) suffered braking issues, while Marussia’s Max Chilton lost most of the session following an electrical failure.

“Stanaway quickest in GP3 practice”

© Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.

© Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.

Richie Stanaway ended GP3 Series practice at the Hockenheimring as the quickest man yesterday.

The Status Grand Prix man ended the session just two-tenths up on ART Grand Prix racer and local man Marvin Kirchhöfer, while Stanaway’s teammate Nick Yelloly claimed 3rd.

Despite the close of the evening, practice was still held very much in hot conditions, as track temperatures remained in the mid-40s° Celsius range, ensuring

Stanaway’s quickest reference point – a 1:29.473 – came in the five minutes of the session, although the Kiwi had spent much of the session near the top of the order.

ART Grand Prix also had a second car in the top four as Dino Zamparelli ran well, just edging ahead of Patrick Kujala (Koiranen GP) and Emil Bernstorff (Carlin) – the latter of whom enjoyed an adventured through the gravel at one point.

Patric Niederhauser (Arden) was the first of the driver’s unable to breach the 1’30s barrier. He pipped points leader Alex Lynn (Carlin) by just 0.008s come the end of the 45-minute session. Lynn’s title rival Jimmy Eriksson (Koiranen) could do no better than 22nd.

There were two quite embarrassing moments, as first Adderly Fong ran wide at turn one, but kept his foot down and eventually lost control, pitching him into the inside barriers at pit exit.
Also Riccardo Agostini ended the practice beached on the fake grass in the stadium section after he ran off at the tail end of the session.

It may matter little. This is only practice and qualifying comes later this morning and conditions may vary wildly under the morning sun.

2014 GP3 Round of Germany (Rd 4, Free Practice)
Pos Driver               Team       Time       Gap     Laps
 1. Richie Stanaway      Status     1m29.473s           16
 2. Marvin Kirchhöfer    ART        1m29.678s  +0.205s  18
 3. Nick Yelloly         Status     1m29.729s  +0.256s  14
 4. Dino Zamparelli      ART        1m29.740s  +0.267s  18
 5. Patrick Kujala       Manor      1m29.792s  +0.319s  20
 6. Emil Bernstorff      Carlin     1m29.814s  +0.341s  18
 7. Patric Niederhauser  Arden      1m30.085s  +0.612s  21
 8. Alex Lynn            Carlin     1m30.093s  +0.620s  17
 9. Roman de Beer        Trident    1m30.241s  +0.768s  20
10. Riccardo Agostini    Hilmer     1m30.295s  +0.822s  18
11. Dean Stoneman        Manor      1m30.352s  +0.879s  18
12. Alex Fontana         ART        1m30.459s  +0.986s  19
13. Mitchell Gilbert     Trident    1m30.475s  +1.002s  17
14. Luis Sa Silva        Carlin     1m30.543s  +1.070s  18
15. Sebastian Balthasar  Hilmer     1m30.609s  +1.136s  25
16. Robert Visoiu        Arden      1m30.621s  +1.148s  20
17. Pal Varhaug          Jenzer     1m30.627s  +1.154s  22
18. Matheo Tuscher       Jenzer     1m30.706s  +1.233s  22
19. Nelson Mason         Hilmer     1m30.727s  +1.254s  18
20. Jann Mardenborough   Arden      1m30.768s  +1.295s  22
21. Alfonso Celis        Status     1m30.770s  +1.29?s  18
22. Jimmy Eriksson       Koiranen   1m30.979s  +1.506s  16
23. Ryan Cullen          Manor      1m31.166s  +1.693s  22
24. Adderly Fong         Jenzer     1m31.792s  +2.319s  13
25. Victor Carbone       Trident    1m31.813s  +2.340s  14
26. Santiago Urrutia     Koiranen   1m32.401s  +2.928s  18
27. Carmen Jorda         Koiranen   1m35.289s  +5.816s  19

“Palmer grabs GP2 Hockenheim pole”

Palmer on pole. © Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.

Palmer on pole. © Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.

Jolyon Palmer secured his third GP2 Series pole of the season at Hockenheim today.

Despite running the fewest laps of the session, the DAMS man nailed the one that counted, with a best of 1:23.383s coming on his third of eight laps.

It is a result that gives championship leader Palmer an additional four points, building his lead to 38 over Carlin rival Felipe Nasr.

ART Grand Prix’s Stoffel Vandoorne will line up aside Palmer on the front row; however the Belgian driver’s best lap was still some three-tenths shy of Palmer’s effort.

Stefano Coletti (Racing Engineering) took 3rd on the grid, leading a tightly packed trio, which also consisted of GP2 Series returnee Tom Dillmann (Caterham, 4th) and Nasr (5th).
Campos Racing’s Arthur Pic continued his solid form to secure 6th on the grid, ahead of Raffaele Marciello, who lost two quick laps due to being blocked; first by Takuya Izawa and then by Rio Haryanto, both of whom attracted three-place grid drops.

Rounding out the fourth row will be Haryanto’s Caterham teammate, Alexander Rossi, followed by Rapax racer Simon Trummer. Johnny Cecotto Jr had originally set the 7th fastest time; however the Venezuelan was docked three positions for impeding Haryanto while on a quick tour.
Disappointingly Silverstone race winner Mitch Evans could do no better than 15th in his RUSSIAN TIME entry.

Although not quickest in any of the individual sectors, Palmer pole strung all his personal bests together – a feat matched by only Coletti – to pip Stoffel Vandoorne by over two-tenths.
If anything, this was a qualifying session characterised by inconsistencies throughout the field. As temperatures continued to rise, laptimes faltered from sector to sector while the Pirelli’s peeled away at a dramatic rate.

Some relative parity existed across the middle sector; however it appears Palmer’s opposition lost out through the first and final sector, where driver’s appeared to be losing tenths at a go.
Should similar weather conditions continue tomorrow, it may result in an interesting race, although maybe not a classic – from this point, it seems unlikely those who push the hardest will be the winners.
Watch out for the unflappable one who quietly controls the race under the German heat.

2014 GP2 Round of Hockenheim (Rd 6, Race 1 qualifying)
Pos Driver               Team                  Time       Gap     Laps
 1. Jolyon Palmer        DAMS                  1m23.383s            8
 2. Stoffel Vandoorne    ART                   1m23.665s  +0.282s  12
 3. Stefano Coletti      Racing Engineering    1m23.722s  +0.339s  12
 4. Tom Dillmann         Caterham              1m23.776s  +0.393s  11
 5. Felipe Nasr          Carlin                1m23.781s  +0.398s  12
 6. Arthur Pic           Campos                1m23.859s  +0.436s  12
 8. Raffaele Marciello   Racing Engineering    1m23.918s  +0.535s  12
 9. Alexander Rossi      Campos                1m23.965s  +0.582s  13
10. Simon Trummer        Rapax                 1m23.983s  +0.600s  12
 7. Johnny Cecotto       Trident               1m23.860s  +0.477s  14*
11. Stephane Richelmi    DAMS                  1m24.024s  +0.641s  12
12. Rene Binder          Arden                 1m24.094s  +0.711s  10
13. Nathanael Berthon    Lazarus               1m24.253s  +0.870s  11
14. Daniel Abt           Hilmer                1m24.311s  +0.928s  12
15. Mitch Evans          Russian Time          1m24.335s  +0.952s  11
16. Julian Leal          Carlin                1m24.421s  +1.038s  11
17. Conor Daly           Lazarus               1m24.437s  +1.054s  11
18. Jon Lancaster        Hilmer                1m24.453s  +1.070s  14
19. Andre Negrao         Arden                 1m24.476s  +1.093s  11
20. Artem Markelov       Russian Time          1m24.496s  +1.113s  11
21. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs  Rapax                 1m24.590s  +1.20?s  12
22. Sergio Canamasas     Trident               1m24.598s  +1.215s  13
23. Takuya Izawa         ART                   1m24.335s  +0.952s  11**
24. Marco Sorensen       MP                    1m24.888s  +1.505s  13
25. Rio Haryanto         Caterham              1m24.502s  +1.119s  11*
26. Daniel de Jong       MP                    1m25.189s  +1.806s  11

Notes:
Penalties
*Cecotto Jr and Haryanto: 3-place grid drops for blocking.
**Izawa: 3-place grid drop for blocking, plus additional penalty following Silverstone round.

Vandoorne was also quick. © Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.

Vandoorne was also quick. © Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.

“German GP: Hamilton takes FP2 lead”

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton strode to the top of times in today’s second free practice at the Hockenheimring.

The Briton set a quickest alp of 1:18.341; just 0.024s quicker than teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton set his quickest toward the end of his qualifying simulation. The Englishman ran fastest just after Rosberg suffered a brief off on his opening flyer on the super-soft Pirelli’s.
Rosberg did improve the next time by, but fell short of his archrival.

Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) was 3rd quickest for Red Bull, finishing a tenth down of the silver pair out front.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was next on the timesheets, with Kevin Magnussen’s following through in 5th for McLaren.

The session was cut short for Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi whose engine gave up at the halfway point, while Marcus Ericsson also suffered mechanical difficulties in the second green machine.

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