On a cold morning at the Nurburgring, Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in final practice for the German Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver reached the top of the time sheets at close of action (1:30.916), pipping teammate Mark Webber (2nd) and Ferrari pilot Fernando Alonso (3rd).
The late session action was all about qualifying simulation as the big guns ventured out on the soft Pirelli rubber.
However the opening 30 minutes of practice saw both McLaren drivers – Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button – as well Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) hog the limelight, while on the slower medium tyres.
Hamilton eventually took 4th, just under seven-tenths slower than Vettel; however the 2008 World Champion narrowly edged ahead of Button and Rosberg – the advantage being mere hundredths.
Unfortunately KERS issues made the session somewhat more difficult for the second Mercedes of Michael Schumacher. The veteran secured 9th, some nine-tenths adrift of his teammates ultimate pace.
Felipe Massa completed thirteen laps on his way to 7th. The Brazilian finished the sixty-minute session with a quarter-of-a-second gap to Adrian Sutil (8th, Force India).
Pastor Maldonado enjoyed a fruitful session – his best of 1:32.751 was good enough 10th position.
With rain on the horizon, teams were out in their numbers to register as many laps as possible, but problems still introduced themselves – especially at Lotus.
Heikki Kovalainen suffered an early hydraulic failure, leaving the Finn to complete all his running in the second half of practice. His teammate for this weekend, Karun Chandhok, continued to struggle with brakes issues after a tough Friday.
The Indian pilot endured two embarrassing spins during the session – one at the pit entrance and another at turn 9 as the chequered flag flew.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m30.916s 15 2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m31.049s + 0.133 16 3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.138s + 0.222 12 4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.578s + 0.662 13 5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.623s + 0.707 14 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m31.694s + 0.778 19 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m32.144s + 1.228 13 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m32.391s + 1.475 20 9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m32.523s + 1.607 16 10. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1m32.751s + 1.835 18 11. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m32.777s + 1.861 18 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m32.813s + 1.897 21 13. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m33.072s + 2.156 18 14. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m33.179s + 2.263 17 15. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m33.531s + 2.615 20 16. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m33.671s + 2.755 20 17. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m33.948s + 3.032 21 18. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m34.125s + 3.209 19 19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m35.385s + 4.469 13 20. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m36.724s + 5.808 21 21. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m36.804s + 5.888 23 22. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m36.894s + 5.978 23 23. Karun Chandhok Lotus-Renault 1m36.959s + 6.043 18 24. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m37.554s + 6.638 22